Page images
PDF
EPUB

XV.

XVIII.

COMPOSED DURING A STORM.

TO LADY BEAUMONT.

care

One who was suffering tumult in his soul
Yet failed to seek the sure relief of prayer,

LADY! the songs of Spring were in the grove Went forth—his course surrendering to

While I was shaping beds for winter flowers; Of the fierce wind, while mid-day lightnings prowl : While I was planting green unfading bowers, Insidiously, untimely thunders growl;

And shrubs—to hang upon the warm alcove, While trees, dim-seen, in frenzied numbers, tear

And sheltering wall; and still, as Fancy wove The lingering remnant of their yellow hair,

The dream, to time and nature's blended powers And shivering wolves, surprised with darkness, howl I gave this paradise for winter hours, As if the sun were not. He raised his eye

A labyrinth, Lady! which your feet shall rove. Soul-smitten; for, that instant, did appear

Yes! when the sun of life more feebly shines, Large space (mid dreadful clouds) of purest sky, Becoming thoughts, I trust, of solemn gloom An azure disc-shield of Tranquillity;

Or of high gladness you shall hither bring; Invisible, unlooked-for, minister

And these perennial bowers and murmuring pines Of providential goodness ever nigh!

Be gracious as the music and the bloom
And all the mighty ravishment of spring.

XVI.

TO A SNOW-DROP.

XIX.

Lone Flower,hemmed in with snows and white as
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend [they There is a pleasure in poetic pains
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,

Which only Poets know ;'t was rightly said ;
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day, Whom could the Muses else allure to tread
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, way-lay Their smoothest paths, to wear their lightest chains !
The rising sun, and on the plains descend; When happiest Fancy has inspired the strains,
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend

How oft the malice of one luckless word Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May Pursues the Enthusiast to the social board, Shall soon behold this border thickly set

Haunts him belated on the silent plains ! With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing Yet he repines not, if his thought stand clear, On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers; At last, of hindrance and obscurity, Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,

Fresh as the star that crowns the brow of morn;
Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring, Bright, speckless, as a softly-moulded tear
And pensive monitor of fleeting years !

The moment it has left the virgin's eye,
Or rain-drop lingering on the pointed thorn.

XVII.

TO THE LADY MARY LOWTHER.

XX.

With a selection from the Poems of Anne, Conntees of Winchilsea;

and extracts of similar character from other Writers; transcribed

by a female friend. LADY! I rifled a Parnassian Cave

The Shepherd, looking eastward, softly said, (But seldom trod) of mildly-gleaming ore; “ Bright is thy veil, O Moon, as thou art bright!" And culled, from sundry beds, a lucid store Forthwith, that little cloud, in ether spread Of genuine crystals, pure as those that pave And penetrated all with tender light, The azure brooks, where Dian joys to lave She cast away, and showed her fulgent head Her spotless limbs; and ventured to explore Uncovered; dazzling the Beholder's sight Dim shades—for reliques, upon Lethe's shore, As if to vindicate her beauty's right, Cast up at random by the sullen wave.

Her beauty thoughtlessly disparagèd. To female hands the treasures were resigned; Meanwhile that veil, removed or thrown aside, And lo this work !-a grotto bright and clear Went floating from her, darkening as it went; From stain or taint; in which thy blameless mind And a huge mass, to bury or to hide, May feed on thoughts though pensive not austere; Approached this glory of the firmament; Or, if thy deeper spirit be inclined

Who meekly yields, and is obscured-content To holy musing, it may enter here.

With one calm triumph of a modest pride.

[blocks in formation]

When haughty expectations prostrate lie,
And grandeur crouches like a guilty thing,
Oft shall the lowly weak, till nature bring
Mature release, in fair society
Survive, and Fortune's utmost anger try;
Like these frail snow-drops that together cling,
And nod their helmets, smitten by the wing
Of many a furious whirl-blast sweeping by.
Observe the faithful flowers ! if small to great
May lead the thoughts, thus struggling used to stand
The Emathian phalanx, nobly obstinate;
And so the bright immortal Theban band,
Whom onset, fiercely urged at Jove's command,
Might overwhelm, but could not separate !

Even as a dragon's eye that feels the stress
Of a bedimming sleep, or as a lamp
Suddenly glaring through sepulchral damp,
So burns yon Taper 'mid a black recess
Of mountains, silent, dreary, motionless :
The lake below reflects it not; the sky
Muffled in clouds, affords no company
To mitigate and cheer its loneliness.
Yet, round the body of that joyless Thing
Which sends so far its melancholy light,
Perhaps are seated in domestic ring
A gay society with faces bright,
Conversing, reading, laughing ;--or they sing,
While hearts and voices in the song unite.

XXII.

XXV.

Hail, Twilight, sovereign of one peaceful hour!
Not dull art Thou as undiscerning Night;

The stars are mansions built by Nature's hand, But studious only to remove from sight

And, haply, there the spirits of the blest Day's mutable distinctions.—Ancient Power! Dwell, clothed in radiance, their immortal vest; Thus did the waters gleam, the mountains lower, Huge Ocean shows, within his yellow strand, To the rude Briton, when, in wolf-skin vest A habitation marvellously planned, Here roving wild, he laid him down to rest For life to occupy in love and rest ; On the bare rock, or through a leafy bower All that we seemis dome, or vault, or nest, Looked ere his eyes were closed. By him was seen Or fortress, reared at Nature's sage command. The self-same Vision which we now behold, Glad thought for every season! but the Spring At thy meek bidding, shadowy Power! brought Gave it while cares were weighing on my heart, forth;

'Mid song of birds, and insects murmuring; These mighty barriers, and the gulf between ; And while the youthful year's prolific artThe flood, the stars,-a spectacle as old

Of bud, leaf, blade, and lower—was fashioning As the beginning of the heavens and earth! Abodes where self-disturbance hath no part.

XXIII.

XXVI.

With how sad steps, 0 Moon, thou climb'st the sky,
“How silently, and with how wan a face !' DESPONDING Father! mark this altered bough,
Where art thou? Thou so often seen on high So beautiful of late, with sunshine warmed,
Running among the clouds a Wood-nymph’s race ! Or moist with dews; what more unsightly now,
Unhappy Nuns, whose common breath 's a sigh Its blossoms shrivelled, and its fruit, if formed,
Which they would stifle, move at such a pace ! Invisible ? yet Spring her genial brow
The northern Wind, to call thee the chase, Knits not o'er that discolouring and decay
Must blow to-night his bugle horn. Had I As false to expectation. Nor fret thou
The power of Merlin, Goddess ! this should be: At like unlovely process in the May
And all the stars, fast as the clouds were riven, Of human life: a Stripling's graces blow,
Should sally forth, to keep thee company,

Fade and are shed, that from their timely fall Hurrying and sparkling through the clear blue (Misdeem it not a cankerous change) may grow heaven;

Rich mellow bearings, that for thanks shall call : But, Cynthia ! should to thee the palm be given, In all men, sinful is it to be slow Queen both for beauty and for majesty.

To hope_in Parents, sinful above all.

[blocks in formation]

CAPTIVITY-MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS.

Four fiery steeds impatient of the rein “ As the cold aspect of a sunless way

Whirled us o'er sunless ground beneath a sky Strikes through the Traveller's frame with deadlier As void of sunshine, when, from that wide plain, chill,

Clear tops of far-off mountains we descry, Oft as appears a grove, or obvious hill,

Like a Sierra of cerulean Spain, Glistening with unparticipated ray,

All light and lustre. Did no heart reply? Or shining slope where he must never stray; Yes, there was One ;—for One, asunder fly So joys, remembered without wish or will,

The thousand links of that ethereal chain; Sharpen the keenest edge of present ill,

And green vales open out, with grove and field, On the crushed heart a heavier burthen lay.

And the fair front of many a happy Home; Just Heaven, contract the compass of my mind

Such tempting spots as into vision come To fit proportion with my altered state !

While Soldiers, weary of the arms they wield Quench those felicities whose light I find

And sick at heart of strifeful Christendom, Reflected in my bosom all too late!

Gaze on the moon by parting clouds revealed. O be my spirit, like my thraldom, strait; And, like mine eyes that stream with sorrow, blind!"

XXXI.

XXVIII.

ST. CATHERINE OF LEDBURY.

BROOK! whose society the Poet seeks, When human touch (as monkish books attest)

Intent his wasted spirits to renew; Nor was applied nor could be, Ledbury bells

And whom the curious Painter doth pursue Broke forth in concert flung adown the dells,

Through rocky passes, among flowery creeks, And upward, high as Malvern's cloudy crest;

And tracks thee dancing down thy water-breaks; Sweet tones, and caught by a noble Lady blest

If wish were mine some type of thee to view, To rapture ! Mabel listened at the side

Thee, and not thee thyself, I would not do Of her loved mistress : soon the music died,

Like Grecian Artists, give thee human cheeks, And Catherine said, Were & set up my rest.

Channels for tears; no Naiad should'st thou be, Warned in a dream, the Wanderer long had sought Have neither limbs, feet, feathers, joints nor hairs : A home that by such miracle of sound

It seems the Eternal Soul is clothed in thee Must be revealed :-she heard it now, or felt

With purer robes than those of flesh and blood, The deep, deep joy of a confiding thought;

And hath bestowed on thee a safer good; And there, a saintly Anchoress, she dwelt

Unwearied joy, and life without its cares. Till she exchanged for heaven that happy ground.

XXIX.

XXXII.

gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.'

COMPOSED ON THE BANKS OF A ROCKY STREAM.

Though narrow be that old Man's cares, and near, Dogmatic Teachers, of the snow-white fur!
The poor old Man is greater than he seems: Ye wrangling Schoolmen, of the scarlet hood !
For he hath waking empire, wide as dreams; Who, with a keenness not to be withstood,
An ample sovereignty of eye and ear.

Press the point home, or falter and demur,
Rich are his walks with supernatural cheer; Checked in your course by many a teasing burr;
The region of his inner spirit teems

These natural council-seats your acrid blood With vital sounds and monitory gleams

Might cool;-and, as the Genius of the flood Of high astonishment and pleasing fear.

Stoops willingly to animate and spur He the seven birds hath seen, that never part, Each lighter function slumbering in the brain, Seen the Seven Whistlers in their nightly rounds, Yon eddying balls of foam, these arrowy gleams And counted them: and oftentimes will start- That o'er the pavement of the surging streams For overhead are sweeping GABRIEL'S HOUNDS Welter and flash, a synod might detain Doomed, with their impious Lord, the Aying Hart With subtle speculations, haply vain, To chase for ever, on aërial grounds !

But surely less so than your far-fetched themes !

XXXIII.

IN YORKSHIRE.

XXXVI.

XXXIV.

MALHAM COVE.

Of the propitious hour, thou may'st perceive

The local Deity, with oozy hair THIS, AND THE TWO FOLLOWING, WERE SUGGESTED And mineral crown, beside his jagged urn, BY MR. W. WESTALL'S VIEWS OF THE CAVES, ETC. Recumbent: Him thou may'st behold, who hides

His lineaments by day, yet there presides, PURE element of waters! wheresoe'er

Teaching the docile waters how to turn,
Thou dost forsake thy subterranean haunts, Or (if need be) impediment to spurn,
Green herbs, bright flowers, and berry-bearing And force their passage to the salt-sea tides !

plants,
Rise into life and in thy train appear:
And, through the sunny portion of the year,
Swift insects shine, thy hovering pursuivants :
And, if thy bounty fail, the forest pants ;

COMPOSED UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, SEPT. 3, 1802.
And hart and hind and hunter with his spear,
Languish and droop together. Nor unfelt

Earth has not any thing to show more fair : In man's perturbed soul thy sway benign ;

Dull would he be of soul who could pass by And, haply, far within the marble belt

A sight so touching in its majesty: Of central earth, where tortured Spirits pine

This City now doth, like a garment, wear For grace and goodness lost, thy murmurs melt

The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Their anguish,—and they blend sweet songs with

Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie thine.*

Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill ;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Was the aim frustrated by force or guile,

Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
When giants scooped from out the rocky ground, And all that mighty heart is lying still !
Tier under tier, this semicirque profound?
(Giants—the same who built in Erin's isle
That Causeway with incomparable toil !)—

XXXVII.
O, had this vast theatric structure wound
With finished sweep into a perfect round,

CONCLUSION.
No mightier work had gained the plausive smile
Of all-beholding Phæbus! But, alas,
Vain earth ! false world! Foundations must be laid If these brief Records, by the Muses' art
In Heaven; for, 'mid the wreck of is and was, Produced as lonely Nature or the strife
Things incomplete and purposes betrayed

That animates the scenes of public life *
Make sadder transits o'er thought's optic glass Inspired, may in thy leisure claim a part;
Than noblest objects utterly decayed.

And if these Transcripts of the private heart
Have gained a sanction from thy falling tears ;
Then I repent not. But my soul hath fears
Breathed from eternity; for as a dart
Cleaves the blank air, Life fies: now every day

Is but a glimmering spoke in the swift wheel At early dawn, or rather when the air

Of the revolving week. Away, away,
Glimmers with fading light, and shadowy Eve All fitful cares, all transitory zeal !
Is busiest to confer and to bereave;

So timely Grace the immortal wing may heal, Then, pensive Votary! let thy feet repair

And honour rest upon the senseless clay,
To Gordale-chasm, terrific as the lair
Where the

young lions couch ; for so, by leave * This line alludes to Sonnets which will be found in

TO

XXXV.

GORDALE.

another Class.

* Waters (as Mr. Westall informs us in the letter-press prefixed to his admirable views) are invariably found to flow through these caverns.

r

IV.

I.

PART III.

RECOLLECTION OF THE PORTRAIT OF KING HENRY

EIGHTH, TRINITY LODGE, CAMBRIDGE. Though the bold wings of Poesy affect

The imperial Stature, the colossal stride, The clouds, and wheel around the mountain tops Are yet before me; yet do I behold Rejoicing, from her loftiest height she drops The broad full visage, chest of amplest mould, Well pleased to skim the plain with wild flowers The vestments 'broidered with barbaric pride : deckt,

And lo! a poniard, at the Monarch's side, Or muse in solemn grove whose shades protect Hangs ready to be grasped in sympathy The lingering dew—there steals along, or stops With the keen threatenings of that fulgent eye, Watching the least small bird that round her hops, Below the white-rimmed bonnet, far-descried. Or creeping worm, with sensitive respect.

Who trembles now at thy capricious mood ? Her functions are they therefore less divine, 'Mid those surrounding Worthies, haughty King, Her thoughts less deep, or void of grave intent We rather think, with grateful mind sedate, Her simplest fancies ? Should that fear be thine, How Providence educeth, from the spring Aspiring Votary, ere thy hand present

Of lawless will, unlooked-for streams of good, One offering, kneel before her modest shrine, Which neither force shall check nor time abate ! With brow in penitential sorrow bent !

v.

II.

OXFORD, MAY 30, 1820.
YE sacred Nurseries of blooming Youth !
In whose collegiate shelter England's Flowers
Expand, enjoying through their vernal hours
The air of liberty, the light of truth;
Much have ye suffered from Time's gnawing tooth:
Yet, 0 ye spires of Oxford ! domes and towers !
Gardens and groves ! your presence overpowers
The soberness of reason; till, in sooth,
Transformed, and rushing on a bold exchange,
I slight my own beloved Cam, to range
Where silver Isis leads my stripling feet ;
Pace the long avenue, or glide adown
The stream-like windings of that glorious street-
An
eager

Novice robed in fluttering gown!

ON THE DEATH OF HIS MAJESTY (GEORGE THE THIRD).
Ward of the Law !-dread Shadow of a King !
Whose realm had dwindled to one stately room;
Whose universe was gloom immersed in gloom,
Darkness as thick as life o'er life could fling,
Save haply for some feeble glimmering
Of Faith and Hope—if thou, by nature's doom,
Gently hast sunk into the quiet tomb,
Why should we bend in grief, to sorrow cling,
When thankfulness were best?-Fresh-flowing tears,
Or, where tears flow not, sigh succeeding sigh,
Yield to such after-thought the sole reply
Which justly it can claim. The Nation hears
In this deep knell, silent for threescore years,
An unexampled voice of awful memory!

[blocks in formation]

OXFORD, MAY 30, 1820.
Shame on this faithless heart! that could allow
Such transport, though but for a moment's space;
Not while-to aid the spirit of the place
The crescent moon clove with its glittering prow
The clouds, or night-bird sang from shady bough;
But in plain daylight :-She, too, at my side,
Who, with her heart's experience satisfied,
Maintains inviolate its slightest vow!
Sweet Fancy ! other gifts must I receive ;
Proofs of a higher sovereignty I claim ;
Take from her brow the withering flowers of eve,
And to that brow life's morning wreath restore ;
Let her be comprehended in the frame
Of these illusions, or they please no more.

Fame tells of groves—from England far away-
* Groves that inspire the Nightingale to trill
And modulate, with subtle reach of skill
Elsewhere unmatched, her ever-varying lay ;
Such bold report I venture to gainsay:
For I have heard the quire of Richmond hill
Chanting, with indefatigable bill,
Strains that recalled to mind a distant day ;
When, haply under shade of that same wood,
And scarcely conscious of the dashing oars
Plied steadily between those willowy shores,
The sweet-souled Poet of the Seasons stood-
Listening, and listening long, in rapturous mood,
Ye heavenly Birds ! to your Progenitors.

* Wallachia is the country alluded to.

« PreviousContinue »