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“ See !” with united wonder cried
The experienced and the sage,
With all the skill of age !
Proclaim him born to sway
And bear the palm away!”
He sprang impetuous forth,
Attends superior worth.
Ere yet he starts, is known,
What all had deemd his own. Cowley, Pope, and many other poets have been remarkable for the early development of their genius. Chatterton, leaving a deathless name behind, more for its wondrous promise than performance, sank into a suicide's grave ere he had seen his eighteenth birthday. Who would not now like to search the pages of that “new pocket-book," presented to him one New Year's Day, by his sister, to whom he returned it full of poetry? And we may here recall that other glorious son of poverty who has left an immortal renown; whose birthdays were mostly spent in the cottage or the field. We all know Wordsworth's imperishable lines :I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous boy,
The sleepless soul that perish'd in his pride; Of him who walk'd in glory and in joy,
Following his plough upon the mountain-side. By our own spirits we are deified:
We poets in our youth begin in gladness,
madness. And why so sad an ending in too many cases ? The problem is not easy of solution, but certain it is thatThe poet in a golden clime was born,
With golden stars above, Dower'd with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn,
The love of love! This temperament, and the habit of listening to the deep things of the universe, in their symbolic utterances, so delicate and profound, are trying to youth or age; though our conviction is that, could we see through the whole range of the poetic existence, we should find, as Wordsworth says, in the following exquisite passage, “ central peace subsisting at the heart of endless agitation.”
.... I have seen
To his belief, the monitor express'd
The following contains an admirable moral for gifted youth:
A POET'S FATE.
Famous, and move a giant in my time;
Yet it foreshadow'd, all around should climb
Its boughs would tempt, if soild by earthly slime :
So might I gaze, and muse, or idly rhyme, While others grasp'd the prize or golden fee. Half has been partly true: for all around
My young compeers succeed ; and I, meanwhile,
Train my lone heart, by wandering fancies fed. Alas! what chance! the other will be found
As truly boding: yet content I smile,
GORONVA CAMLAN. Another ambitious boy poet, who died young, shared this noble freedom from envious and selfish passions, which make the misery they feed on. The “Martyr Student,” Kirke White, whose birthdays found him, year after year, toiling unremittingly, with stinted means of support, to reach the object of his worthy ambition, the University of Cambridge ; and that attained, surprised him
“Pale o'er his lamp, and in his cell retired," without relaxation striving for honours that he won by the sacrifice of his life.
“Were I,” he said, “ to paint Fame crowning an undergraduate after the Senate-house examination, I would represent him as concealing a death's head under the mask of beauty.” And so his last birthday presented before him no better symbol
than this of the death's head under the mask of
Too early lost ’midst studies too severe.”
All his poetry was written before his twentieth birthday. Shortly before his death he wrote, pathetically and regretfully :
And must the harp of Judah sleep again?
And this slight boon would consecrate to Thee
Premature sorrows and early death are mysterious dispensations of an all-wise Providence, but it is profoundly true that,
Crush'd from our sorrow, all that's great in man
Of palm be put into their hands ; on earth We know them not; no votarist of our faith, Till he has dropp'd his tears into the stream, Tastes of its sweetness.
William Smith. The Christian does not sorrow without hope-does not believe in misfortune without purpose.
Was not still with roses strew'd;
Pass'd not without tempests rude.
Drank e'en at his mother's breast;
And so poor all joy and rest !
Or of bliss that could not last;
On the happy time that's past.
Had we not of pain our part?
Or our riches, or our heart?
Learnt to pray with our last breath ?
Love until the hour of death?
Early childhood's quiet grave;
Soon the tears of sorrow gave.