Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

A little farm was my paternal lot,

Then, like the lark, I sprightly hailed the morr. ; But ah! oppression forced me from my cot;

My cattle died, and blighted was my corn.

My daughter-once the comfort of my age!

Lured by a villain from her native home, is cast, abandoned, on the world's wide stage,

And doomed in scanty poverty to roam.

a

My tender wife-sweet soother of my care!

Siruck with sad anguish at the stern decree, Fell-lingering fell, a victim to despair,

And left the world to wretchedness and me.

Yet is the tale, brief though it be, as strange,
As full, methinks, of wild and wonarous change,
As any that the wandering tribes require,
Stretched in the desert round their evening fire;
As any sung of old, in hall or bower,
To minstrel harp, at midnight's witching hour!

The day arrives, the moment wished and feared;
The child is born, by many a pang endeared,
And now the mother's ear has caught his cry;
O grant the cherub to her asking eye!
He comes—she clasps him. To her bosom pressed,
He drinks the balm of life, and drops to resi,

Her by her smile how soon the stranger knows' How soon by his the glad discovery shows! As to her lips she liits the lovely boy, What answering looks of sympathy and joy! He walks, he speaks. In many a broken word His wants, his wishes, and his griefs are heard. And ever, ever to her lap he flies, Wnen rosy sleep comes on with sweet surprise. Locked in her arms, his arms across her flung (That name most dear forever on his tongue), As with soft accents round her neck he clings, And, cheek to cheek, her lulling song she sings, How blest to feel the beatings of liis heart, Breathe his sweet breath, and kiss for kiss impart: Watch o'er his slumbers like the brooding dove, And, if she can, exhaust a mother's love!

Pity the sorrows of a poor old man!
Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your

door,
Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span;

Oh! give rel.ef, and Heaven will bless your store.

HUMAN LIFE.

SAMUEL ROGERS.

COMPLAINT OF NATURE.

JOHN LOGAN. • Few are thy days, and full of woe,

O man, of woman born! Thy doom is written, “ Dust thou art,

And shalt to dust return."

• Determined are the days that fly

Successive o'er thy head; The numbered hour in on the wing

That lays thee with the dead.

The lark has sung his carol in the sky,
The bees have hummed their noontide lullaby ;
Still in the vale the village bells ring round,
Still in Llewellyn hall the jests resound;
For now the caudle cup is circling there,
Now, glad at heart, the gossips breathe their prayer,
And, crowding, stop the cradle to admire
The babe, the sleeping image of his sire.
A few short years, and then these sounds shall hail
The day again, and gladness fill the vale;
So soon the child a youth, the youth a man,
Eager to run the race his fathers ran.
Then the huge ox shall yield the broad sirloin;
The ale, now brewed, in floods of amber shine;
And basking in the chimney's ample blaze,
Mid many a tale told of his boyish days,
The nurse shall cry, of all her ills beguiled,
“ 'Twas on her knees he sat so oft and smiled."

And soon again shall music swell the breeze;
Soon, issuing forth, shall glitter through the trees
Vestures of nuptia! white; and hymns be sung,
And violets scattered round; and old and young
In every cottage-porch, with garlands green,
Siand still to gaze, and, gazing, bless the scene,
While, her dark eyes declining, by his side,
Moves in her virgin veil the gentle bride.

And once, alas! nor in a distant hour, Another voice shall come from yonder tower; When in dim chambers long black weeds are seen, And weeping heard where only joy has been; When, by his children borne, and from his door, Slowly departing to return no more, He resis in holy ear:h with them that went before.

And such is human life; so gliding oir, It giim vers like a metcor, and is gone!

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Beauteous as blest, О Naiad, thou must be! For, since thy birth, have all delightful things, Of form and hue, of silence and of sound, Circled thy spirit, as the crowding stars Shine round the placid Moon. Lov'st thou to sink Into thy cell of sleep? The water parts With dimpling smiles around thee, and below, The unsunn'd verdure, soft as cygnet's down, Meets thy descending feet without a sound. Lov'st thou to sport upon the watery gleam? Lucid as air around, thy head it lies Bathing thy sable locks in pearly light, While all around, the water-lilies strive To shower their blossoms o'er the virgin queen Or doth the shore allure thee?-well it may: How soft these fields of pastoral beauty melt In clear water! neither sand nor stone Bars herb or wild-flower from the dewy sound, Like Spring's own voice now rippling round the

Tarn. There oft thou liest 'mid the echoing bleat Of lambs, that race amid the sunny gleams; Or bee's wide murmur as it fills the broom That yellows round thy bed. O gentle glades, Amid the tremulous verdure of the woods, In steadfast smiles of more essential light, Lying like azure streaks of placid sky Amid the moving clouds, the Naiad loves Your glimmering alleys, and your rustling boweto; For there, in peace reclined, her half closed eye Through the long vista sees her darling lake Even like herself, diffused in fair repose.

•Where are our fathers? whither gone

The mighty men of old? The patriarchs, prophets, princes, kings,

In sacred books enrolled?

•Gone to the resting place of man,

The everlasting home, Where ages past have gone before,

Where future ages come.'

Thus nature poured the wail of woe,

And urged her earnest cry; Her voice, in agony extreme,

Ascended to the sky.

The Almighty heard: then from his throne

In majesty he rose;
And from the heaven, that opened wide,

His voice in mercy flows:

Not undelightful to the quiet breast Such solitary dreams as now have fillid My busy fancy: dreams that rise in peara

And majesty—and lead me boldly on Like giants conquering in a noble cause.

And thither lead; partaking in their flight
Of human interests and earthly joys.
Imagination fondly leans on truth,
And sober scenes of dim reality
To her seem lovely as the western sky
To the rapt Persian worshipping the sun,
Methinks this little lake, to whom my heart
Assigned a guardian spirit, renders back
To me, in tenderest gleams of gratitude,
Profounder beauty to reward my hymn.

Long hast thou been a darling haunt of mine, And still warm blessings gush'd into my heart Meeting or parting with thy smiles of peace. But now thy mild and gentle character, More deeply felt than ever, seems to blend Its essence pure with mine, like some sweet tune Oft heard before with pleasure, but at last, In one nigh moment of inspired bliss, Borne through the spirit like an angel's song.

This is a holy faith, and full of cheer To ail who worship Nature, that the hours, Pass'd tranquilly with her, fade not away For ever like the clouds, but in the soul Possess a sacred, silent, dwelling place, Where with a smiling visage memory sits, And startles oft the virtuous with a show Of unsuspected pleasures. Yea, sweet lake! Oft hast thou borne into my grateful heart Thy lovely presence, with a thousand dreams Dancing and brightening o'er thy sunny wave, Though many a dreary mile of waste and snow Between us interposed. And even now, When yon bright star hath risen to warn me homo I bid thee farewell in the certain hope That thou, this night, wilt o'er my sleeping eyes Shed cheering visions, and with freshest joy Make me salute lhe dawn. Nor may the hymn Now sung by me unto thy listening woods Be wholly vain,-but haply it may yield A gentle pleasure to some gentle heart, Who blessing, at its close, the unknown bard, May, for his sake, upon thy quiet banks Frame visions of his own, and other songs More beautiful to Nature and to Thee.

THE ORPHAN BOY'S TALE.

AMELIA OPIL.

This is the solitude that reason loves! Even he who yearns for human sympathies, And hears a music in the breath of man, Dearer than voice of mountain or of flood, Might live a hermit nere, and mark the sun Rising or setting 'mid the beauteous calm, Devoutly blending in his happy soul Thoughts both of earth and heaven!-Yon moun.

tain side, Rejoicing in its clustering cottages, Appears to me a paradise preserved From guilt by Nature's hand, and every wreath Of smoke, that from these hamlets mounts to heaven, In its straight silence holy as a spire Rear'd o'er the house of God.

Thy sanctity Time yet hath reverenced; and I deeply feel That innocence her shrine shall here preserve For ever — The wild vale that lies beyond, Circled by mountains trod up by the feet Of venturous shepherd, from all visitants, Save the free tempests and the fowls of heaven, Guards thee;—and wooded knolls fantastical Seclude ihy image from the gentler dale, That by the Brathay's often varied voice Cheer'd as it winds along in beauty fades 'Mid the green banks of joyful Windermere!

Stay, lady, stay, for mercy's sake,

And hear a helpless orphan's tale; Ah! sure my looks must pity wake;

'Tis want that makes my cheek so pale. Yet I was once a mother's pride,

And my brave father's hope and joy: But in the Nile's proud fight he died,

And now I am an orphan boy.

Poor foolish child! how pleased was I

When news of Nelson's victory came, Along the crowded streets to fly,

And see the lighted windows fame! To force me home my mother sought;

She could not bear to see my joy: For with my father's life 'twas bought,

And made me a poor orphan boy.

O gentlest lake! from all unhallow'd things By grandeur guarded in thy lovliness, Ne'er may the poet with unwelcome feet Press thy soft inoss embathed in flowery dies, And shadow'd in thy stillness like the heavens. May innocence forever lead me here, To form amid the silence high resolves For future life; resolves, that, born in peace, Shall live 'mid tumult, and though haply mild As infants in their play, when brought to bear On the world's business, shall assert their power

The people's shouts were long and louch

My mother, shuddering, closed her ears. • Rejoice! rejoice!' still cried the crowd;

My mother answered with her tears. • Why are you crying thus,' said I,

• While others laugh and shout with joy?' She kissed me—and, with such a sigł. !

She called me her poor orphan boy,

• What is an orphan boy!' I cried,

As in her face I looked and smiled; My mother, through her tears replied:

• You'll know too soon, ill-fated child!' And now they've tolled my mother's knell,

And I'm no more a parent's joy; O lady, I have learned too well

What 'tis to be an orphan boy!

Call imperfection what thou fanciest such,
Say, here he gives too little, there too much;
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or guest,
Yet cry, If Man's unhappy, God's unjust;
If Man alone engross not Heaven's high care;
Alone made perfect here, immortal there:
Snatch from His hand the balance and the rod,
Re-judge His justice, be the god of God.
In pride, in reas'ning pride, our error lies;
All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Aspiring to be gods, if angels feli,
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel:
And who but wishes to invert the laws
Of Order, sins agains the Eternal Cause.

Oh, were I by your bounty fed !

Nay, gentle lady, do not chideTrust me, I mean to earn my bread;

The sailor's orphan boy has pride. Lady; you weep!-ha!—this to me!

You'll give me clothing, food, employ: Look down, dear parents! look, and see

Your happ., happy, orphan boy!

HOPE AND PRIDE.

NIGHT IN THE DESERT.

ALEXANDER POPE-"ESSAY ON MAN.”

ROBERT SOUTHEY.-" THALABA."

How beautiful is night!

A dewy freshness fills the silent air;
No mist obscures, nor cloud, nor speck, nor stain

Breaks the serene of heaven:
In full-orbed glory, yonder moon divine
Rolls through the dark-blue depths.

Beneath her steady ray

The desert-circle spreads,
Like the round ocean, girdled with the sky

How beautiful is night!

Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of fate.
All but the page prescribed, their present state:
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know;
Or who could suffer being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pleased to the last, he crops the flow'ry food,
And licks the hand ?ust raised to shed his blood.
Oh, blindness to the future! kindly giv'n,
That each may fill the circle marked by Heav'n,
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms of system into ruin hurled,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world,

Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar,
Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore.
What future bliss, He gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and contined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutored mind Sees God in clouds, or hears Him in the wind; His soul, proud science never taught to stray Far as the solar walk, or milky way; Yet simple nature to his hope has giv'n, Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler heav'n; Some safer world in depths of woods embraced, Some happier island in the watery waste, Where slaves once more their native land behold, No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold. To be, contents his natural desire, He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire; But thinks, adınitted to that equal sky, His faithful dog shall bear him company.

Who, at this untimely hour,
Wanders o'er the desert sands?

No station is in view,
No palm-grove islanded amid the waste,

The mother and her child,
The widowed mother and the fatherless boy,

They, at this untimely hour,
Wander o'er the desert sands.

THE KING OF THULE.

GOLTHE-"FAUST." There was a king in Thule

Was faithful till the grave, To whom his misiress, dying,

A golden goblet gave.

Naught was to him more precious s

He drained it at every bout: His eyes with tears ran over,

As oft as he drank thereout.

Go, wiser thou! and, in thy scale of sense, Weigh thy opinion against Providence;

When came his time of dying,

The towns in his land he toid Naught else to his heir denying

Except the goblet of gold.

He sat at the royal banquet

With his knights of high degree, In the lofty hall of his fathers,

In the castle by the sea.

There stood the old carouser,

And drank the last life-glow; And hurled the hallowed goblet

Into the tide below.

That moss-covered vessel I hail as a treasure;

For often, at noon, when returned from the field, I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure,

The purest and sweetest that nature can yield. How ardent I seized it, with hands that were

glowing! And quick to the white-pebbled bottom it fell; Then soon, with the emblem of truth overflowing.

And dripping with coolness, it rose from the well; The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, The moss-covered bucket, arose from the well.

He saw it plunging and filling,

And sinking deep in the sea; Then fell his eyelids for ever,

And never more drank he!

How sweet from the green, mossy brim to receive it,

As, poised on the curb, it inclined to my lips! Not a full blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it,

Though filled with the nectar that Jupiter sips. And now, far removed from the loved situation,

The tear of regret will intrusively swell, As fancy reverts to my father's plantation,

And sighs for the bucket which hangs in the well; The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, The moss-covered bucket which hangs in the well.

TO DAFFODILS.

ROBERT HERRICK,

BRITAIN A THOUSAND YEARS HENCE.

Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You ha-te away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attained his noon:

Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day

Has ru!
But to the even-song:
And having prayed together, we

Will go with you along!

HENRY KIRKE WHITE.

We have short time to stay as you;
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you or anything:

We die,
As you- hours do; and dry

Away
Like to the summer's rain,
Or as the pearls of morning-dew,

Ne'er to be found again.

Where now is Britain ?-Where her laureled names,
Her palaces and halls: Dashed in the dust.
Some second Vandal bath reduced her pride,
And with one big recoil hath thrown her back
To primitive barbarity:- -Again
Through her depopulated vales the scream
Of bloody superstition hollow rings,
And the scared native to the tempest howls
The yell of deprecation. O'er her marts,
Her crowded ports, broods Silence; and the cry
Of the low curlew, and the pensive dash
Of distant billows, breaks alone the void.
Even as the savage sits upon the stone
That marks where stood her capitals, and hears
The bittern booming in the weeds, he shrinks
From the dismaying solitude.- Her bards
Sing in a language that hath perished;
And their wild harps, suspended o'er their graves,
Sigh to the desert winds a dying strain.

THE OLD OAKEN BUCKET.

SAMUEL WOODWORTH.

How dear to this heart are the scenes of my child.

hood, When fond recollection presents them to view! The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wild.

wood, And every loved spot which my infancy knew;The wide.spreading pond, and the mill which stood

by it, The bridge, and the rock where the cataract sell; The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it,

And e'en the rude bucket which hung in the well. The old oaken bucket, the iron bound bucket, The moss-covered bucket which hung in the weli.

Meanwhile the arts, in second infancy,
Rise in some distant clime, and then perchance
Some boid adventurer, filled with golden dreams.
Steering his bark through trackless solitudes,
Where, to his wandering thoughts, no daring pu...
Hath ever ploughed before-espies the cliffs
Of fallen Albion.-To the land unknown
He journeys joyful; and perhaps descries
Some vestige of her ancient stateliness;
Then he, with vain conjecture, fills his mind
Of the unheard-of race, which had arrived
At science in that so itary nook,
Far from the civil world: and sagely sig'is
Ind moralises on the state of man.

« ПредишнаНапред »