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His vein of sentiment is by turns tender and lofty, always tinged with a degree of melancholy, but not possessing any claim to originality. His originality consists in his manner, in the highly figurative garb in which he clothes abstract ideas, in the felicity of his expressions, and his skill in embodying ideal creations. He had much of the mysticism of poetry, and sometimes became obscure by aiming at impressions stronger than he had clear and well-defined ideas to support. Had his life been prolonged, and with life had he enjoyed that ease which is necessary for the undisturbed exercise of the faculties, he would probably have risen far above most of his contemporaries."


THOU, the friend of man assign'd,
With balmy hands his wounds to bind,
And charm his frantic woe:

When first Distress, with dagger keen,
Broke forth to waste his destin'd scene,
His wild unsated foe!

By Pella's bard, a magic name,

By all the griefs his thought could frame,

Receive my humble rite :

Long, Pity, let the nations view

Thy sky-worn robes of tenderest blue,

And eyes of dewy light!

But wherefore need I wander wide
To old Ilissus' distant side,

Deserted stream, and mute?

Wild Arun* too has heard thy strains, And Echo, 'midst my native plains, Been sooth'd by Pity's lute.

There first the wren thy myrtles shed
On gentlest Otway's infant head,
To him thy cell was shown;
And while he sung the female heart,
With youth's soft notes unspoil'd by art,
Thy turtles mix'd their own.

Come, Pity, come, by Fancy's aid,
E'en now my thoughts, relenting maid,
Thy temple's pride design:
Its southern site, its truth complete,
Shall raise a wild enthusiast heat
In all who view the shrine.

There Picture's toil shall well relate,
How Chance, or hard involving Fate,
O'er mortal bliss prevail :

The buskin'd Muse shall near her stand,
And, sighing, prompt her tender hand
With each disastrous tale.

* A river in Sussex.

There let me oft, retir'd by day,

In dreams of passion melt away,

Allow'd with thee to dwell:

There waste the mournful lamp of night,
Till, Virgin, thou again delight

To hear a British shell!


THOU, to whom the world unknown
With all its shadowy shapes is shown;
Who seest appall'd th' unreal scene,
While Fancy lifts the veil between :
Ah, Fear! ah, frantic Fear!

I see, I see thee near.

I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye!
Like thee I start, like thee disorder'd fly.
For, lo, what monsters in thy train appear!
Danger, whose limbs of giant mould
What mortal eye can fixt behold?
Who stalks his round, a hideous form,
Howling amidst the midnight storm,
Or throws him on the ridgy steep
Of some loose hanging rock to sleep :
And with him thousand phantoms join'd,
Who prompt to deeds accurs'd the mind:
And those, the fiends, who, near allied,
O'er Nature's wounds and wrecks preside;
While Vengeance, in the lurid air,
Lifts her red arm, expos'd and bare :

On whom that ravening brood of Fate,
Who lap the blood of Sorrow, wait;
Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see,
And look not madly wild, like thee?


In earliest Greece, to thee, with partial choice,
The grief-full Muse address'd her infant tongue;
The maids and matrons, on her aweful voice,
Silent and pale, in wild amazement hung.

Yet he, the bard * who first invok'd thy name,
Disdain'd in Marathon its power to feel :
For not alone he nurs'd the poet's flame,
But reach'd from Virtue's hand the patriot's steel.

But who is he, whom later garlands grace,
Who left awhile o'er Hybla's dews to rove,
With trembling eyes thy dreary steps to trace,
Where thou and furies shar'd the baleful grove?

Wrapt in thy cloudy veil th' incestuous queen †, Sigh'd the sad call her son and husband heard, When once alone it broke the silent scene,

And he the wretch of Thebes no more appear'd.

O Fear! I know thee by my throbbing heart,
Thy withering power inspir'd each mournful line;
Though gentle Pity claim her mingled part,
Yet all the thunders of the scene are thine.

* Eschylus.


+ Jocasta.



Thou who such weary lengths hast past, Where wilt thou rest, mad nymph, at last? Say, wilt thou shroud in haunted cell, Where gloomy Rape and Murder dwell? Or in some hollow'd seat,

'Gainst which the big waves beat,

Hear drowning seamen's cries in tempests brought! Dark power, with shuddering meek submitted thought,

Be mine, to read the visions old,

Which thy awakening bards have told.

And, lest thou meet my blasted view,
Hold each strange tale devoutly true;
Ne'er be I found, by thee o'er-aw'd,
In that thrice-hallow'd eve abroad,
When ghosts, as cottage-maids believe,
Their pebbled beds permitted leave,
And goblins haunt from fire, or fen,
Or mine, or flood, the walks of men !
O thou, whose spirit most possest
The sacred seat of Shakspeare's breast!
By all that from thy prophet broke,
In thy divine emotions spoke!
Hither again thy fury deal,

Teach me but once like him to feel:
His cypress wreath my meed decree,
And I, O Fear, will dwell with thee!

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