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same age.' The remains of the unhappy youth were interred in a shell in the burying-ground of ShoeLane workhouse. His unfinished papers he had destroyed before his death, and his room, when broken open, was found covered with scraps of paper. The citizens of Bristol have erected a monument to the memory of their native poet.
The poems of Chatterton, published under the name of Rowley, consist of the tragedy of Ella, the Execution of Sir Charles Bawdin, Ode to Ella, the Battle of Hastings, the Tournament, one or two Dialogues, and a description of Canynge's Feast. Some of them, as the Ode to Ella (which we subjoin), have exactly the air of modern poetry, only disguised with antique spelling and phraseology. The avowed compositions of Chatterton are equally inferior to the forgeries in poetical powers and diction; which is satisfactorily accounted for by Sir Walter Scott by the fact, that his whole powers and energies must, at his early age, have been converted to the acquisition of the obsolete language and peculiar style necessary to support the deep-laid deception. He could have had no time for the study of our modern poets, their rules of verse, or modes of expression; while his whole faculties were intensely employed in the Herculean task of creating the person, history, and language of an ancient poet, which, vast as these faculties were, were sufficient wholly to engross, though not to overburden them.' A power of picturesque painting seems to be Chatterton's most distinguishing feature as a poet. The heroism of Sir Charles Bawdin, who
Summed the actions of the day
and who bearded the tyrant king on his way to the scaffold, is perhaps his most striking portrait. The following description of Morning in the tragedy of Ella, is in the style of the old poets :
Bright sun had in his ruddy robes been dight,
From the red east he flitted with his train; The Houris draw away the gate of Night,
Her sable tapestry was rent in twain: The dancing streaks bedecked heaven's plain, And on the dew did smile with skimmering eye, Like gouts of blood which do black armour stain, Shining upon the bourn which standeth by; The soldiers stood upon the hillis side, Like young enleaved trees which in a forest bide. A description of Spring in the same poemThe budding floweret blushes at the light,
The meads be sprinkled with the yellow hue, In daisied mantles is the mountain dight,
The fresh young cowslip bendeth with the dew; The trees enleafed, into heaven straight, When gentle winds do blow, to whistling din is
The evening comes, and brings the dews along,
Young ivy round the door-post doth entwine; I lay me on the grass, yet to my will Albeit all is fair, there lacketh something still. In the epistle to Canynge, Chatterton has a striking censure of the religious interludes which formed the early drama; but the idea, as Warton remarks, is the result of that taste and discrimination which could only belong to a more advanced period of society
Plays made from holy tales I hold unmeet; Let some great story of a man be sung; When as a man we God and Jesus treat,
In my poor mind we do the Godhead wrong.
1 The sign-post of an alehouse.
The satirical and town effusions of Chatterton are often in bad taste, yet display a wonderful command of easy language and lively sportive allusion. They have no traces of juvenility, unless it be in adopting the vulgar scandals of the day, unworthy his original genius. In his satire of Kew Gardens are the following lines, alluding to the poet laureate and the proverbial poverty of poets :
Though sing-song Whitehead ushers in the year,
In a poem entitled The Prophecy are some vigorous stanzas, in a different measure, and remarkable for maturity and freedom of style :
This truth of old was sorrow's friend-
How long Oppression's clock can go;
'We all must die,' said brave Sir Charles;
'What boots it how or when?
Death is the sure, the certain fate, Of all we mortal men.
Say why, my friend, thy honest soul Runs over at thine eye;
Is it for my most welcome doom That thou dost child-like cry?
Saith godly Canynge, I do weep,
Then dry the tears that out thine eye From godly fountains spring; Death I despise, and all the power Of Edward, traitor king.
Teach them to run the noble race
Then Florence raved as any mad,
'Oh stay, my husband, lord, and life!'Sir Charles then dropped a tear.
"Till tired out with raving loud,
With looks full brave and sweet; Looks that enshone no more concern Than any in the street.
Before him went the council-men,
The friars of Saint Augustine next
In different parts a godly psalm
Then five-and-twenty archers came;
Bold as a lion came Sir Charles,
Behind him five-and-twenty more
Saint James's friars marched next,
Then came the mayor and aldermen,
And after them a multitude
Of citizens did throng;
The windows were all full of heads, As he did pass along.
And when he came to the high cross,
Soon as the sledde drew nigh enough,
"Thou seest me, Edward! traitor vile!
By foul proceedings, murder, blood,
Thou thinkest I shall die to-day;
The mystic mazes of thy will,
The shadows of celestial light, Are past the power of human skillBut what the Eternal acts is right.
O teach me in the trying hour,
Thy goodness love, thy justice fear.
Encroaching sought a boundless sway, Omniscience could the danger see,
And Mercy look the cause away. Then why, my soul, dost thou complain? Why drooping seek the dark recess? Shake off the melancholy chain,
For God created all to bless.
But ah! my breast is human still-
The sickness of my soul declare.
I'll thank the inflicter of the blow; Forbid the sigh, compose my mind,
Nor let the gush of misery flow. The gloomy mantle of the night,
Which on my sinking spirits steals, Will vanish at the morning light, Which God, my East, my Sun, reveals.
The terrors and circumstances of a Shipwreck had been often described by poets, ancient and modern, but never with any attempt at professional accuracy or minuteness of detail, before the poem of that name by Falconer. It was reserved for a genuine sailor to disclose, in correct and harmonious verse, the secrets of the deep,' and to enlist the sympathies of the general reader in favour of the daily life and occupations of his brother seamen, and in all the movements, the equipage, and tracery of those magnificent vessels which have carried the British name and enterprise to the remotest corners of the world. Poetical associations-a feeling of boundlessness and sublimity-obviously belonged to the scene of the poem-the ocean; but its interest soon wanders from this source, and centres in the stately ship and its crew the gallant resistance which the men made to the fury of the storm-their calm and deliberate courage the various resources of their skill and ingenuity-their consultations and resolutions as the ship labours in distress-and the brave unselfish piety and generosity with which they meet their fate, when at last
The crashing ribs divide— She loosens, parts, and spreads in ruin o'er the tide. Such a subject Falconer justly considered as 'new to epic lore,' but it possessed strong recommendations to the British public, whose national pride and honour are so closely identified with the sea, and so many of whom have some friend, some brother there.'
WILLIAM FALCONER was born in Edinburgh in 1730, and was the son of a poor barber, who had two other children, both of whom were deaf and dumb. He went early to sea, on board a Leith merchant ship, and was afterwards in the royal navy. Before he was eighteen years of age, he was second mate in the Britannia, a vessel in the Levant trade, which was shipwrecked off Cape Colonna, as described in his poem. In 1751 he was living in Edinburgh, where he published his first poetical attempt,