« ПредишнаНапред »
THE SWALLOW'S RETURN.
WELCOME, welcome, feathered stranger!
Now the sun bids nature smile;
Welcome to our blooming isle :
And hail me at the dawn of day,
Of time that ever fleets away!
Fond of sunshine, fond of shade,
Fond of skies serene and clear,
In fairest seasons of the year ;
What bids thee shun the wintry gale ?
Hail! wonderous bird ! hail, Swallow, hail !
Sure something more to thee is given,
Than myriads of the feathered race;
That guides thy flight from place to place!
And blessings crown thy vigorous wing ;
Delightful Messenger of Spring!
The Visit from Bridlington to Flamboro' Head, is spirited and graphic, but too long for quotation. The Stanzas on the four seasons are also, on the whole, highly meritorious. For Waterloo, The Blessings of Peace, Napoleon, and The Convict, we can say but little. The Murderer too is somewhat bombastic; but we must not forget to notice with due approbation The Poacher, (which is really a poem that even Crabbe himself might have written), and "The Sabbath Morn.' We would fain present our readers with another specimen or two of the • Miller's Muse,' but that our limits will not admit of our doing so, consistently with our plan of presenting our readers with as great a variety of subjects as possible. We cannot, however, take leave of Robert Franklin, without expressing a hope that his little book may bring 'grist to his pocket, if not to his mill; that his ' sails' may never want a favouring breeze to fill them; that those pursuits from which he expects to derive advantage, may never (as a mill-swift has been sometimes known to occasion the destruction of the miller) operate to his prejudice; but that he may go on grinding poetry and corn, until he has gained as much pelf and
fame' as are necessary to form the summum bonum' of his very humble expectations.
We scarcely know in what terms to characterise this extraordinary little volume; for, whilst it displays' considerable talent, both as to the arrangement of its story, and the manner in which that story is developed, the principal incidents are of a very repulsive description, and such as a writer of good taste and good feeling, ought on no account to have selected. There are crimes of the mere existence of which it is painful to be reminded; and those on which the narrative before us principally hinges, are precisely of this description. We agree with the learned and eloquent Sir Thomas Browne, that there are some sins on which it is sinful to dilate. We desire no records of such enormities. The pens of men may sufficiently expatiate without these singularities of villainy; for, as they increase the hatred of vice in some, so do they enlarge the theory of wickedness in all. And this is one thing that may make latter ages worse than were the former; for the vicious examples of ages past, poisons the curiosity of these present, affording a hint of sin unto seduceable spirits, and soliciting those into the imitation of them, whose heads were never so perversely principled as to invent them. In things of this nature, silence commendeth history.'. Our readers will understand the applicability of these sentiments to the Omen, as soon as we shall have made them acquainted with the leading features of its story. In the first chapter of the work the narrator presents us with the following account of his reminiscences of childhood :
Even my childhood was joyless, and a mystery overshadows all my earliest recollections. Sometimes, on the revisitations of the past, strange and obscure apparitional resemblances leave me in doubt whether they are, indeed, the memory of things which have been, or but of the stuff that dreams are made of
. The vision of a splendid mansion and many servants, makes me feel that I am, as it were, still but a child, playing with an orange on the carpet of a gorgeous
A wild cry and a dreadful sound frighten me again ; and as I am snatched up and borne away, I see a gentleman lying bleeding on the steps of a spacious staircase, and a beautiful lady distractedly wringing her hands.
• While yet struggling in the strangling grasps of that fearful night-mare, a change comes upon the spirit of my dream, and a rapid procession of houses and trees, and many a green and goodly object passes the window of a carriage in which I am seated, beside an unknown female, who sheds tears, and often caresses me.
• We arrive at the curious portal of a turretted manorial edifice ;-I feel myself lifted from beside my companion, and fondly pressed to the bosom of a venerable matron, who is weeping in the dusky twilight of an ancient chamber, adorned with the portraits of warriors. A breach in my remembrance ensues; and then the same sad lady is seen reclining on a bed, feeble, pale, and wasted, while sorrowful damsels are whispering and walking softly around.
She laid her withered hand upon my head, as I stood at her pillow : It felt like fire, and, shrinking from the toạch, I pushed it away, but with awe and reverence ; for she was blessing me in silence, with such kind and gentle eyes! My tears still flow afresh, whenever I think of those mild and mournful eyes, and of that withered and burning hand.
I never beheld that sad lady again ; but some time after, the female who brought me in the carriage led me by the hand into the room where I had seen her dying. It was then all changed ; and on the bed lay the covered form of a mysterious thing, the sight of which filled my infantine spirit with solemnity and dread. The poor girl, as she looked on it, began to weep bitterly ; I, too, wept, but I knew not wherefore ; and I clung to her, overwhelmed with the phantasma of an unknown fear.
* Things horrible and strange, Sink on the wax of a soft infant's memory.'
The Omen, Blackwood, Duodecimo, pp. 160.
These dim recollections continue to occupy the youth's mind for many years, when he at length discovers that his mother was an adultress; that his father had been murdered by her paramour; and that that paramour was a Mr. Oakdale, (a name of insufficient tragical' dignity for the occasion) who had resided in a mysterious kind of way in the neighbourhood, near the scene of the narrator's early years of boyhood. The manner in which he becomes acquainted with all these things is sufficiently unaccountable. He goes to see Hamlet performed at Drury-lane Theatre; notices the emotion of Mr. Oakdale in a neighbouring box, and on this very slender foundation makes up his mind, that his mother is an adulteress; that his father has been murdered; and that his 'sallow sublime sort of Werter-faced'friend Mr.O. was the assassin.. We should have premised that this presentiment-monger was sent to Oxford, with a very handsome provision, but without knowing from whom he derived it, and that it was on one of his visits to the metropolis, that he discovered the key to his otherwise indistinct recollections. The mechanism of this part of the tale strikes us as being egregiously absurd. To get rid of his unpleasant remembrances, our hero goes abroad, and meets at Hamburgh with a General and Mrs. Purcel, and their daughter. With the younger lady he, of course, falls deeply in love; and her personal attractions are accordingly detailed with a degree of warmth, which the denouement renders extremely disgusting. As the young lover is heir to a very handsome property, the General has no objection to his being received as a lover by his daughter. The mother, disapproves strongly of the connection. As, however, the otherwise favoured suitor supposes that her opposition arises from her being in love with him herself, he resolves, with the consent of the General, to marry his mistress privately. It so happens that his uncle dies a few days before the day fixed for his marriage. He accordingly decides upon killing two birds with one stone, namely, burying the old gentleman, and marrying the young lady at the same time. The denouement we shall quote in the author's own words.
The funeral procession moved towards the abbey as the clock was striking seven :-the service was read, and the burial completed. The friends of my uncle, who had come to pay the last tribute of their regard, had retired, and General Purcel and myself also left the church ; but instead of going back to the coach which had brought us, we walked into the cloisters.
Sydenham was not at the funeral. Maria, with a young friend and her maid, were under his charge in a house in Abingdon-street; and as soon as the hearse and the remains of the pageantry had left the abbey, they entered the church by Poet's Corner.
Except the clergyman, and the servants of the cathedral, there were no spectators.-By some inexplicable influence, however, my valet, of his own accord, remained at the door to prevent interruption, and the ceremony proceeded; but, just at the moment when I was in the act of putting on the ring, he came rushing towards us with such an expression of consternation in his countenance, that I was startled and alarmed before he had power to tell his fear. In the same moment Maria screamed, for her mother entered the church, pale, dishevelled, and frantic, crying, “I forbid the bans-brother and sister-brother and sister !' I heard nó more: the vast edifice reeled, as it were, around me, and the pillars and monuments seemed as if they were tumbling upon my head ; and then there is a hiatus in my remembrance, a chasm in my life.
When I had recovered from the shock, under which I had fallen senseless on the pavement, I found myself at home in my own chamber, and Sydenham standing mournfully at my bed-side.—I asked no questions, but pressed his hand.
The carriage,' said he, is at the door, and I will go with you.' "I made no answer, but rose, for I had not been undressed, and followed him to the carriage.
• Ten years have passed since that dreadfill morning, and I have never openea my lips to inquire the issues of the event; but one day, about two years ago, in visiting the English cemetery at Lisbon, I saw on a marble slab, which the weather or accident had already partly defaced, the epitaph of Maria. The remainder of my own story is but a tissue of aimless and objectless wanderings and moody meditations, under the anguish of the inherited curse. But all will soon be over :tedious hectic, that has long been consuming me, reluctantly and slowly, hath at last, within these few days, so'augmented its fires, that I am conscious, from a sentiment within, I cannot survive another month ; I have, indeed, had my warning. Twice hath a sound like the voice of my sister startled my
unrefreshing sleep: when it rouses me for the third time, then I shall awake to die.'
Such is what some of the gentlemen of the daily and weekly press call ' a powerful production. The language is in general highly polished and elaborate, but sometimes not a little overstrained and bombastic. Indeed, we suspect, that the book owes its principal powers of attraction to the strangeness, and horribly tragic character of the incidents, as well as to the novel and somewhat affected style in which they are related. Why it is called the Omen we are at a' loss to conceive. There is to be sure some mystification about OMENS and PRESEN TIMENTS in various parts of the volume, but nothing definite. The authorship of this ebauche has been ascribed to no less than three persons, viz. Mr. Lockhart, Mr. St. Leger, the author of Gilbert Earle, and Dr. Macginn. The last is the likeliest guess. The first of these gentlemen would not have chosen such a subject; the second might, but would have treated it with more force and skill.
One thing is certain, that the author of the Omen, be he who he may, is capable of better things.
STANZAS.–FROM THE ICELANDIC.
BY J. H. WIFFEN, ESQ.
Thenceforth from my commanding mind
BY THE LATE ISMAEL FITZADAM.
They loved for years with growing tenderness;
They had but one pure prayer to waft above,
One heart,-one hope,-one dream,—and that was love! They loved for years, through danger and distress, Till they were parted, and his spotless fame
Became the mark of hate and obloquy;
"Till the remembering tear that dimmed her eye, Was dried on blushes of repentant shame. While he-oh God !-in 'raptured vision sweet,
Would walk alone beneath the evening star,
Watching the light she loved, and dream of her,