« PreviousContinue »
That mocks the tear it forced to flow;
Cold is Cadwallo's tongue, And keen Remorse with blood defiled,
That hushed the stormy main : And moody Madness laughing wild
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed : Amid severest wo.
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song Lo! in the vale of years beneath
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topped head. A grisly troop are seen,
On dreary Arvon's shorel they lie, The painful family of Death,
Smeared with gore, and ghastly pale: More hideous than their queen :
Far, far aloof the affrighted ravens sail ; This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
The famished eagle? screams, and passes by. That every labouring sinew strains,
Dear lost companions of my tuneful art, Those in the deeper vitals rage :
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes, Lo! Poverty, to fill the band,
Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart, That numbs the soul with icy hand,
Ye died amidst your dying country's criesAnd slow-consuming Age.
No more I weep. They do not sleep. To each his sufferings : all are men,
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band, Condemned alike to groan ;
I see them sit; they linger yet, The tender for another's pain,
Avengers of their native land: The unfeeling for his own.
With me in dreadful harmony they join, Yet, ah! why should they know their fate, And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.' Since sorrow never comes too late,
"Weave the warp, and weave the woof, And happiness too swiftly flies?
The winding-sheet of Edward's race. Thought would destroy their paradise.
Give ample room, and verge enough No more; where ignorance is bliss,
The characters of hell to trace. "Tis folly to be wise.
Mark the year, and mark the night,
When Severn shall re-echo with affright, [The Bard.—A Pindaric Ode.]
The shrieks of death through Berkeley's3 roof that ring,
Shrieks of an agonising king! [This ode is founded on a tradition current in Wales, that She-wolf4 of France, with unrelenting fangs, Edward I., when he completed the conquest of that country, That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled mate, ordered all the bards that fell into his hands to be put to From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs death.]
The scourge of Heaven! What terrors round him * Ruin seize thee, ruthless king,
wait! Confusion on thy banners wait;
Amazement in his van, with Flight combined, Though fanned by conquest's crimson wing,
And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind. They mock the air with idle state.
Mighty victor, mighty lord, Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail,
Lowo on his funeral couch he lies ! Nor e'en thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail
No pitying heart, no eye afford To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
A tear to grace his obsequies.
Is the sable warrior7 fled !
The swarm, that in thy noontide beam were born? As down the steep of Snowdon's 1 shaggy side
Gone to salute the rising morn. He wound with toilsome march his long array, Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows, Stout Glo’ster2 stood aghast in speechless trance; While proudly riding o'er the azure realm, * To arms !' cried Mortimer,3 and couched his quiver- In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes ; ing lance,
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm;
Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway, On a rock, whose haughty brow
That, hushed in grim repose, expects his evening prey. Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Fill high the sparkling bowl,9 Robed in the sable garb of wo,
The rich repast prepare ; With haggard eyes the poet stood
Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast : (Loose his beard, and hoary hair
Close by the regal chair Streamed, like a meteor, to the troubled air);
Fell Thirst and Famine scowl And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire,
A baleful smile upon their baffled guest. Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre. ‘Hark, how each giant oak, and desert cave,
1 The shores of Caernarvonshire, opposite to the Isle of Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
Anglesey, O'er thee, oh king! their hundred arms they wave,
2 Camden and others observe, that eagles used annually to
build their eyry among the rocks of Snowdon, which from Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;
thence (as some think) were named by the Welsh CraigianVocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day,
eryri, or the crags of the eagles. At this day, I am told, the To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyu's lay,
highest point of Snowdon is called the eagle's nest. That bird
is certainly no stranger to this island, as the Scots and the 1 Snowdon was a name given by the Saxons to that moun people of Cumberland, Westmoreland, &c., can testify; it tainous tract which the Welsh themselves call Craigian-eryri. has even built its nest in the Peak of Derbyshire. (See WilIt included all the highlands of Caernarvonshire and Merio- loughby's Ornithology, published by Ray). nethshire, as far east as the river Conway. R. Hygden, speak 3 Edward II., cruelly butchered in Berkeley Castle. ing of the castle of Conway, built by King Edward I., says, 4 Isabel of France, Edward II.'s adulterous queen. 'Ad ortum amnis Conway ad clivum montis Erery;' and 5 Alluding to the triumphs of Edward III. in France, Matthew of Westminster (ad ann. 1283), “ Apud Aberconway 6 Alluding to the death of that king, abandoned by his chilad pedes montis Snowdoniæ fecit erigi castrum forte.'
dren, and even robbed in his last moments by his courtiers and 2 Gilbert de Clare, surnamed the Red, Earl of Gloucester his mistress. and Hertford, son-in-law to King Edward.
7 Edward, the Black Prince, dead some time before his father. 3 Edmond de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore. They both were 8 Magnificence of Richard II.'s reign. See Froissart, and Lords-Marchers, whose lands lay on the borders of Wales, and other contemporary writers. probably accompanied the king in this expedition.
9 Richard II. (as we are told by Archbishop Scroop, and tho
Heard ye the din of battle bray,
Bright Rapture calls, and soaring as she sings, Lance to lance, and horse to horse!
Waves in the eye of Heaven her many-coloured wings.
Fierce War, and faithful Love,
In buskined1 measures move
With Horror, tyrant of the throbbing breast. Twined with her blushing foe, we spread :
A voice as of the cherub-choir, The bristled boar7 in infant gore
Gales from blooming Eden bear; Wallows beneath the thorny shade.
And distant warblings: lessen on my ear, Now, brothers, bending o'er the accursed loom, That, lost in long futurity, expire. Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom. Fond, impious man, think’st thou yon sanguine cloud,
Raised by thy breath, has quenched the orb of day! “Edward, lo! to sudden fate
To-morrow he repairs the golden flood, (Weave we the woof. The thread is spun).
And warms the nations with redoubled ray. Half of thy heartó we consecrate.
Enough for me: with joy I see (The web is wove. The work is done).”
The different doom our Fates assign. Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn
Be thine Despair, and sceptred Care; Leave me unblessed, unpitied, here to mourn :
To triumph, and to die, are mine.' In yon bright tract, that fires the western skies, He spoke, and headlong from the mountain's height, They melt, they vanish from my eyes.
Deep in the roaring tide he plunged to endless night. But oh! what solemn scenes, on Snowdon's height Descending slow, their glittering skirts unroli !
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.
Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul!
13 Girt with many a baron bold,
Sublime their starry fronts they rear;
In bearded majesty appear.
They breathe & soul to animate thy clay.
Ruinous civil wars of York and Lancaster.
Henry VI., George, Duke of Clarence, Edward V., Richard, Duke of York, &c., believed to be murdered secretly in the Tower of London. The oldest part of that structure is vulgarly attributed to Julius Cæsar.
3 Margaret of Anjou, a woman of heroic spirit, who struggled hard to save her husband and her crown. 4 Henry V.
6 Henry VI., very near been canonised. The line of Lancaster had no right of inheritance to the
€ The white and red roses, devices of York and Lancaster.
Stoke Pogeis Church, and Tomb of Gray.
The lowing herds wind slowly o'er the lea, Wales. The heric proof she gave of her affection for her lord The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, is well-known: The monuments of his regret and sorrow for
And leaves the world to darkness and to me. the loss of her, are still to be seen at Northampton, Gedding- Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight, ton, Waltham, and other places.
And all the air a solemn stillness holds, 2 It was the common belief of the Welsh nation, that King Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, Arthur was still alive in Fairy Land, and should return again And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds : to reign over Britain.
1e Both Merlin and Taliessin had prophesied, that the Welsh Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower, should regain their sovereignty over this island, which seemed The moping owl does to the moon complain to be accomplished in the house of Tudor.
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, 11 Speed, relating an audience given by Queen Elizabeth to Molest her ancient solitary reign. Paul Dzialinski, ambassador of Poland, says, . And thus she, lion-like, rising, daunted the malípert orator no less with her tury. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in stately port and majestical deporture, than with the tartnesse high veneration among his countrymen. of her princelie checkes."
2 Milton. 13 Taliessin, chief of the bards, flourished in the sixth cen- 3 The succession of poets after Milton's time.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yow-tree's shade, Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered muse,
Where heaves the turf in mariy a mouldering heap, The place of fame and elegy supply: Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
And many a holy text around she strews, The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind !
Some pious drops the closing eye requires ; No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Even from the tomb the voice of nature cries, Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Even in our ashes live their wonted fires. Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
For thee, who, mindful of the unhonoured dead, Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; How jocund did they drive their team a-field! If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke! Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate; Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say, Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away, The short and simple annals of the poor.
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
There at the foot of yonder nodding beech And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, avait alike the inevitable hour:
His listless length at noontide would he stretch, The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
And pore upon the brook that babbles by, Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault, Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scom, If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove; Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love. II Can storied urn or animated bust
One morn I missed him on the 'customed hill,
i Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Along the heath and near his favourite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
The next, with dirges due in sad array
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.' But knowledge to their eyes her ample page Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll;
THE EPITAPH. (bill Pemury repressed their noble rage, And froze the genial current of the soul.
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,
A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown; Full many a gem, of purest ray serene,
Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth, The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
And Melancholy marked him for her own. l'ull inany a flower is born to blush unseen, Aud waste its sweetness on the desert air..
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send : Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
He gave to Misery all he had, a tear, 'I loo little tyrant of his fields withstood ;
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished) a friend. Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest, Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, Tho applause of listening senates to command, (There they alike in trembling hope repose), The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
The bosom of his Father and his God. 1'o scatter plenty o'er å smiling land, And read their history in a nation's eyes,
The Alliance between Government and Education; Their lut forbade : nor circumscribed alone
a Fragment. Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
As sickly plants betray a niggard earth, And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;
Whose barren bosom starves her generous birth,
Nor genial warmth, nor genial juice retains The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide, Their roots to feed, and fill their verdant veins :
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, And, as in climes where Winter holds his reign, Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
The soil, though fertile, will not teem in vain, With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
Forbids her germs to swell, her shades to rise, Far frora the madding crowd's ignoble strife
Nor trusts her blossoms to the churlish skies : Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
To draw mankind in vain the vital airs, Along the cool sequestered vale of life
Unformed, unfriended by those kindly cares, Thuy kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
That health and vigour to the soul impart, Yet eron these bones from insult to protect,
Spread the young thought, and warm the opening heart.
So fond instruction on the growing powers Sone frail memorial still erected nigh,
Of nature idly lavishes her stores, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked, If equal justice, with unclouded face, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Smile not indulgent on the rising race,
And scatter with a free, though frugal hand, To turn the torrent's swift-descending flood,
What wonder, if to patient valour trained,
And while their rocky ramparts round they see, The spacious animated scene survey,
The rough abode of want and liberty,
Insult the plenty of the vales below?
What wonder, in the sultry climes that spread, How rude sce'er the exterior form we find,
Where Nile, redundant o'er his summer bed, Howe'er opinion tinge the varied mind,
From his broad bosom life and verdure flings,
And broods o'er Egypt with his watery wings,
The dusky people drive before the gale;
explores the cause ;
WILLIAM Mason, the friend and literary executor The social smile and sympathetic tear.
of Gray, long survived the connection which did him Say, then, through ages by what fate confined,
80 much honour, but he appeared early as a poet. To different climes seem different souls assigned ?
He was the son of the Rev. Mr Mason, vicar of St. Here measured laws and philosophic ease
Trinity, Yorkshire, where he was born in 1725. Fix and improve the polished arts of peace.
At Pembroke college, Cambridge, he became acThere industry and gain their vigils keep, Command the winds, and tame the unwilling deep.
quainted with Gray, who assisted him in obtaining Here force and hardy deeds of blood prevail;
his degree of M.A. His first literary production
was an attack on the Jacobitism of Oxford, to which There languid pleasure sighs in every gale.
Thomas Warton replied in his Triumph of Isis. In Oft o'er the trembling nations from afar Has Scythia breathed the living cloud of war;
1753 appeared his tragedy of Elfrida, written,' says And, where the deluge burst, with sweepy sway,
Southey, on an artificial model, and in a gorgeous
diction, because he thought Shakspeare had preTheir arms, their Kings, their gods were rolled
cluded all hope of excellence in any other form of away. As oft have issued, host impelling host,
drama.' The model of Mason was the Greek drama, The blue-eyed myriads from the Baltic coast,
and he introduced into his play the classic accomThe prostrate south to the destroyer yields
paniment of the chorus. A second drama, CaractaHer boasted titles, and her golden fields;
cus, is of a higher cast than Elfrida :' more noble With grim delight the brood of winter view
and spirited in language, and of more sustained A brighter day, and heavens of azure hue,
dignity in scenes, situations, and character. Mason Scent the new fragrance of the breathing rose,
also wrote a series of odes on Independence, Memory, And quaff the pendent vintage as it grows.
Melancholy, and The Fall of Tyranny, in which his Proud of the yoke, and pliant to the rod,
gorgeousness of diction swells into extravagance Why yet does Asia dread a monarch's nod,
and bombast. His other poetical works are his While European freedom still withstands
English Garden, a long descriptive poem in blank The encroaching tide that drowns her lessening lands, verse, extended over four books, and an ode on the And sees far off, with an indignant groan,
Commemoration of the British Revolution, in which he Her native plains and empires once her own?
asserts those Whig principles which he steadfastly Can opener skies and suns of fiercer flame
maintained during the trying period of the AmeriO'erpower the fire that animates our frame;
can war. As in his dramas Mason had made an inAs lamps, that shed at ere a cheerful ray,
novation on the established taste of the times, he Pade and expire beneath the eye of day?
ventured, with equal success, to depart from the Need we the influence of the northern star
practice of English authors, in writing the life of To string our nerves and steel our hearts to war?
his friend Gray. Instead of presenting a continuous And where the face of nature laughs around,
narrative, in which the biographer alone is visible, Must sickening virtue fly the tainted ground?
he incorporated the journals and letters of the poet Unmanly thought! what seasons can control, in chronological order, thus making the subject of What fancied zone can circumscribe the soul,
the memoir in some degree his own biographer, Who, conscious of the source from whence she springs, and enabling the reader to judge more fully and By reason's light, on resolution's wings,
correctly his situation, thoughts, and feelings. Spite of her frail companion, dauntless goes
The plan was afterwards adopted by Boswell in his O'er Lybia's deserts and through Zembla's snows? Life of Johnson, and has been sanctioned by subseShe bids each slumbering energy awake,
quent usage, in all cases where the subject is of imAnother touch, another temper take,
portance enough to demand copious information and Suspends the inferior laws that rule our clay ; minute personal details. The circumstances of The stubborn elements confess her sway;
Mason's life are soon related. After his career at Their little wants, their low desires, refine,
college, he entered into orders, and was appointed And raise the mortal to a height divine.
one of the royal chaplains. He held the living of Not but the human fabric from the birth
Ashton, and was precentor of York cathedral. Imbibes a flavour of its parent earth.
When politics ran high, he took an active part on As various tracts enforce a various toil,
the side of the Whigs, but was respected by all The manners speak the idiom of their soil.
parties. He died in 1797. An iron race the mountain-cliffs maintain,
Mason's poetry cannot be said to be popular, even Foes to the gentle genius of the plain ;
with poetical readers. His greatest want is simpliFor where unwearied sinews must be found,
city, yet at times his rich diction has a fine effect. With side-long plough to quell the flinty ground, In his ‘English Garden,' though verbose and lan
guid as a whole, there are some exquisite images.
OLIVER GOLDSMITH, whose writings range over Has mouldered into beauty many a tower
every department of miscellaneous literature, chalWhich, when it frowned with all its battlements,
lenges attention as a poet chiefly for the unaffected Was only terrible.
ease, grace, and tenderness of his descriptions of rural
and domestic life, and for a certain vein of pensive Of woodland scenery
philosophic reflection. His countryman Burke said Many a glade is found
of himself, that he had taken his ideas of liberty not The haunt of wood-gods only; where, if art
too high, that they might last him through life. E’er dared to tread, 'twas with unsandaled foot, Goldsmith seems to have pitched his poetry in a Printless, as if 'twere holy ground.
subdued under tone, that he might luxuriate at will Gray quotes the following lines in one of Mason's among those images of quiet beauty, comfort, beneodes as “superlative:'
volence, and simple pathos, that were most congenial
to his own character, his hopes, or his experience. While through the west, where sinks the crimson day, This popular poet was born at Pallas, a small village Meek twilight slowly sails, and waves her banners gray. in the parish of Forney, county of Longford, Ireland,
on the 10th of November 1728. He was the sixth [From Caractacus.]
of a family of nine children, and his father, the Rev. Mona on Snowdon calls :
Charles Goldsmith, was a poor curate, who eked Hear, thou king of mountains, hear ;
out the scanty funds which he derived from his proHark, she speaks from all her strings :
fession, by renting and cultivating some land. The Hark, her loudest echo rings ;
poet's father afterwards succeeded to the rectory of King of mountains, bend thine ear:
Kilkenny West, and removed to the house and farm Send thy spirits, send them soon,
Now, when midnight and the moon Meet upon thy front of snow;
aliquid See, their gold and ebon rod, Where the sober sisters nod,
bo). And greet in whispers sage and slow, Snowdon, mark! 'tis magic's hour, Now the muttered spell hath power ; Power to rend thy ribs of rock,
1 And burst thy base with thunder's shock : But to thee no ruder spell Shall Mona use, than those that dwell In music's secret cells, and lie Steeped in the stream of harmony.
Snowdon has heard the strain : Hark, amid the wondering grove
Other harpings answer clear,
Other voices meet our ear, Pinions futter, shadows move,
Busy murmurs hum around,
Rustling vestments brush the ground; Round and round, and round they go,
Through the twilight, through the shade,
Mount the oak's majestic head,
Ruins of the house at Lissoy, where Goldsmith spent Listen all
of Lissoy, in his former parish. Here Goldsmith's Epitaph on Mrs Mason, in the Cathedral of Bristol.
youth was spent, and here he found the materials Take, holy earth! all that my soul holds dear: for his Deserted Village. After a good country edu
Take that best gift which heaven so lately gave : cation, Oliver was admitted a sizer of Trinity college, To Bristol's fount I bore with trembling care Dublin, June 11, 1745. The expense of his education
Her faded form; she bowed to taste the wave, was chiefly defrayed by his uncle, the Rev. Thomas And died ! Does youth, does beauty, read the line ? Contarini, an excellent man, son to an Italian of the
Does sympathetic fear their breasts alarm? Contarini family at Venice, and a clergyman of the Speak, dead Maria ! breathe a strain divine; established church. At college, the poet was
Even from the grave thou shalt have power to charm. thoughtless and irregular, and always in want. His Bid them be chaste, be innocent, like thee ;
tutor was a man of fierce and brutal passions, and Bid them in duty's sphere as meekly move ; having struck him on one occasion before a party And if so fair, from vanity as free;
of friends, the poet left college, and wandered about As firm in friendship, and as fond in love. the country for some time in the utmost poverty, Tell them, though 'tis an awful thing to die,
His brother Henry clothed and carried him back to ('Twas even to thee) yet the dread path once trod, college, and on the 27th of February 1749, he was Heaven lifts its everlasting portals high,
admitted to the degree of B.A. Goldsmith now And bids 'the pure in heart behold their God.' gladly left the university, and returned to Lissoy.