Графични страници
PDF файл

OLD AGE.

The scath'd and leafless tree may seem

Old Age's mournful sign;
Yet on its hark may sunshine gleam,

And moonlight softly shine.

Thus on the cheek of Age should rest

The light of years gone by, Calm as the glories of the west

When night is drawing nigh.

As round that scath'd trunk fondly clings

The ivy green and strong, Repaying, by the grace it brings,

The succour granted long;—

So round benevolent Old Age

May objects yet survive,
Whose greenness can the eye engage,

And keep the heart alive.

Grant that no ivy-wreaths it know,

But fell'd at last to earth, Its relics from the hearth may glow,—

Who shall deny its worth?

Not cheerless is the symbol found,

If, while it can supply Delight to living hearts around,

Its smoke ascends on high!

WITHER'D LEAVES.

It was show'ry April, or gladsome May
Bade your buds to light surrender;

And blithely ye dane'din the sun's warm ray,
Or the pale moon's gentler splendor.

Mild as the south-wind o'er sunny seas Were the gales of Summer round you;

Or the whisp'ring sigh of the cool nightbreeze Which in dewy darkness found you.

Like the birds which sang in your bow'ry shade

You seem'd born to beauty and gladness; With greenness to twine its thornless braid

Round a brow that knew not sadness.

But the Autumn came, and your verd'rous hue,

With a deeper tinge was shaded, Which, while it enchanted the pensive view,

Show'd beauty that slowly faded.

It has faded, and flown;—and your graceful pride

On the cold earth is rudely trodden. By the bleak winds wafted far and wide,

And with dews and rain-drops sodden.

There was beauty, and music, and life, and joy Combin'd with your spring-tidc-glory;

Nor can adverse Winter with you destroy Thoughts told by your simple story.

There be hopes, like you, that are born to die, Which the young, and the thoughtless cherish;

Yet awhile, and their lustre enchants the eye,
Yet awhile, and they darkly perish.

And hopes there are of a heavenly birth
For the lowly of heart to nourish;

Which the winter of death cannot wither
on earth.
In immortal spring to flourish.

A Tree there is—whose eternal roots
Are nourish'd by living waters,

With leaves ever green and twelve-fold fruits
For the healing of sons and daughters.

And as ye are the types of those hopes untrue O'er which time and death are victorious,

The leaves of that Tree to the Christian's view Are the emblems of hopes more glorious.

SIR PHILIP SIDNEY:

A TU.l; OF TRUE CHIVALRY.

The hoarser din of war had died away, The cannon's thunder, and the clarion's swell,

And on the sanguine field of battle-fray Silence more sad, and more appalling fell;

Stillness unbroken but by murmurs low,

Which told of faintness, weariness, and woe.

Here lay a Chief,whose war-cry thro' the field

Had rivall'd late the trumpet's clamour

loud,

His cold brow pillow'd on his dinted shield,

His bloody corselet, now, alas, his shroud;

And there beside him, soil'd with dust and

foam, The faithful steed that bore him from his home.

Here lay a stripling, ne'er to rise again From his first field of battle, and his last;

And there a veteran of the warrior-train, Who scatheless many a fearful fray had

i Pagt;

But now was stretched upon his gory bed, The mute companion of the silent dead.

And now a living group arrests the eye;— Two Squires at Arms, supporting on tho plain

A Knight of manly form and lineage high, Living,but faint with weariness and pain;—

And round them, eager to afford relief.

Gather the faithful followers of their Chief.

[ocr errors][merged small]

He through the thickest of the fight had led
The fearless on to victory and to fame;
Like one whose heart no danger e'er could
dread.
Whose ardent spirits no fatigue could
tame;—
But now exhausted on the field of death,
Each languid sigh appears his parting breath.

His cheek, his brow are pale; his eye is dim,
So lately like a falcon's in its gaze,

And shapeless forms before his vision swim, Such as the sleeper in adream surveys:—

Oh! for a cup of water! 'twould be worth

The richest vintage of the teeming earth.

'Tisbrought; a gift more welcome than a gem;

For never yet, in beauty's braided hair, Or haughty monarch's costly diadem,

Shone pearl or ruby with it to compare;— Cool, bright, and sparkling, in that faint

distress Worth kingly smile, or woman's dear caress.

He lifts it to his lips:—he stops! ah why Not cjuufT tlie draught, when life may come with drinking '{

He sees beside him one, whose wistful eye Is on that cup, whose very soul is sinking;

Poor, helpless, nameless! none to him attend,

For when had humble wretchedness a friend?

Oh! theu.iiml there;—for.melting at the view,

The noble Sidney, in his hour of need, From his parch'd lips the welcome cup withdrew, And gave it him whose sufferings thus could plead; Exclaiming, with benevolence benign: Here, drink, my friend, thy want surpasses mine!

And never knightly deed of arms was done By him, the frank, the chivalrous, the bold,

Which more enduring fame hath nobly won, Than with this simple legend is enroll'd;

Fame which the heart shall suffer not to die,

Glory befitting genuine chivalry!

THE DEAD.

Number the grains of sand out-spread
Wherever Ocean's billows flow;

Or count the bright stars over-head,
As these in their proud courses glow;

Count all the tribe* on earth that evj Or that expand the wing in air;

Number the hosta that in the drrp Existence and its pleasures share;

Count the green leaves that in the
Of Spring's blithe pale are danrici*

Or those, all faded, sere in death,
Which flit before the wintry bkut:-

Aye! number these, and myriads mart
All countless as they seem to be;

There still remains an ampler store
Untold by, and unknown of Thee.

Askest thou—Who, or what be they?

Oh! think upon thy mortal doom; And with anointed eye survey

The silent empire of the tomb.'

Think of all those who erst have bera Living as thou art—even now;

Looking upon life's busy scene

With glance as careless, light, at tt#

All these, like thee, have liv'd and B»"< Have seen—what now thou looktt if

Havefear'd, hoped, hated, mourn'd, erM
And now from mortal sight are gone

Yet, though unseen of human eye
Their rcliques slumber in the eartk.

The boon of immortality
To them was given with vital birth

They Were; and, having been, tbej if-
Earth but contains their mould'ring o«*

Their deathless spirits, near or far,
With thine must rise to meet the jut

Thou knnwst not but they hover tear.

Witness of every secret deed, Which, shunning human eye or ear.

The spirits of the dead may heed.

An awful thought it is to think

The viewless dead out-numlicr all Who, bound by life's connecting lis1

Now share with us this earthly Wilt is a thought as dread anil hi^J1

And one to wake a fearful thrill, _ To think, while all who live, mnrt *<<

The Dead! The Dkad arc living ''*

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

And forth in rude spontaneous rhymes
The Song of wonder flow'd;
Pleased but alarm'd, I saw Thee stand,
And check'd the fury of my hand.

That hand with awe resumed the lyre,
I trembled, doubted, fear'd,
Then did thy voice my hope inspire,
My Soul thy presence checr'd;
But suddenly the light was flown,
I look'd, and found myself alone.

Alone, in sickness, care, and woe,

Since that bereaving day,

With heartless patience, faint and low,

I trill'd the secret lay,

Afraid to trust the bold design

To less indulgent ears than thine.

Tis done;—nor would I dread to meet

The World's repulsive brow,

Had I presented at thy feet

The Muse's trophy now,

And gain'd the smile I long'd to gain,

The pledge of labour not in vain.

Full well I know, 1/ Thou wcrt here,

A pilgrim still with me,—

Dear as my theme was once, and dear

As I was once to Thee,—

Too mean to yield Thee pure delight,

The strains that now the world invite.

Yet could they reach Thee u'Arre thou art,

And sounds might Spirits move,

Their better, their diviner part

Thou surely wouldst approve,

Though heavenly thoughts are all thy joy,

And Angel-Songs thy tongue employ.

My task is o'er; and I have wrought,
With self-rewarding toil,
To raise the scatter'd seed of thought
Upon a desart soil:

0 for soft winds and clement showers!

1 seek not fruit, I planted flowers.

Those flowers I train'd, of many a hue,
Along thy path to bloom,

And little thought, that I must strew
Their leaves upon thy tomh:
—Beyond that tomb I lift mine eye,
Thou art not dead, Thou couldst not die.

Farewell, but not a long farewell;

In heaven may I appear,

The trials of my faith to tell

In thy transported ear,

And sing with Thee the eternal strain,

Worthy the Lamb that once was slain.

January 13th 1813.

INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

No place having been found, in Asia, to correspond exactly with the Mosaic description of the site of Paradise, the Author of the following Poem has disregarded both the learned and the absurd hypotheses on the subject, and at once imagining an inaccessible tract of land, at the confluence of four rivers, which after their junction take the name of the largest, and become the Euphrates of the ancient world, he has placed the happy garden there. Milton's noble fiction of the Mount of Paradise being removed by the deluge, and push'd

Down the great river to the opening gnlph, and there converted into a barren isle, implies such a change in the water-courses as will, poetically at least, account for the difference between the scene of this story and the present face of the country, at the point where the Tigris and Euphrates meet. On the eastern side of these waters, the Author supposes the descendants of the younger Children of Adam to dwell, possessing the land of Eden: the rest of the world having been gradually colonized by emigrants from these, or peopled by the posterity of Cain. In process of time, after the Sons of God had formed connexions with the daughters of men, and there were Giants on the earth, the latter assumed to be Lords and Rulers over mankind, till among themselves arose One, excelling all his brethren in knowledge and power, who became their King, and by their aid. in the course of a long life, subdued all the inhabited earth, except the land of Eden. This land, at the head of a mighty army, principally composed of the descendants of Cain, he has invaded and conquered, even to the banks of Euphrates, at the opening of the action of the poem. It is only necessary to add, that for the sake of distinction, the invaders are frequently denominated from Cain, as the host of Cain,—the force of Cain,—the camp of Cain ;—and the remnant of the defenders of Eden are, in like manner, denominated from Eden.—The Jews have an nncient tradition, that some of the Giants, at the deluge,

fled to the top of a high mountain, is escaped the ruin that involved the rest el their kindred. In the tenth Canto of tit poem a hint is borrowed from this t radiii but it is made to yield to the superior nthority of Scripture-testimony.

CANTO I.

Eastward of Eden's early-peopled plait When Abel perish'd by the hand of Cain. The murderer from his Judge's preteaa

fled: Thence to the rising sun his offspring spread. But he, the fugitive of care and guilt, Forsook the haunts he chose, the. homes br

built; While filial nations hail'd him Sire and Chief Empire nor honour brought his soul relief: He found, where'er he roam'd, unchrcr'4

noblest, No pause from suffering, and from toil i

rest.

Ages meanwhile, as ages now arc told. O'er the young world in long sure.-mi H

roll'd; For such the vigour of primeval man. Through number'd centuries his period in. And the first Parents saw their hardy rscr. O'er the green wilds of habitable space. By tribes and kindred, scatter'd wide and br Beneath the track of every varying star. But as they multiplied from clime to clam. Emboldcn'd by their elder brother's rrinw. They spurn'd obedience to the Patriarch ■

yoke. The bands of Nature's fellowship thrj

broke; The weak became the victims of the stroni And Earth was fill'd with violence and wronr

Yet long on Eden's fair and fertile p&ii A righteous nation dwelt, that knew >>i

Cain; There fruits and flowers, in genial light sad

dew, Luxuriant vines, and golden harvests grr«: By freshening waters flocks and rattle stray iWhile Youth and Childhood wateh'd tbr*

from the shade; Age, at his fig-tree, rested from his toil. And manly vigour till'd the unfailing sail; Green sprang the turf, by holy footstep

trod. Round the pure altars of the living God; Till foul Idolatry those altars stain'd. And lust and revelry through Eden rein' Then fled the people's glory and defrnrr. The joys of home, the peace of innoccat>< Sin brought forth sorrows in perpetual birth. And the last light from heaven forsook the

earth, Snre in one forest-glen, remote and wild, Where yet a ray of lingering mercy smiled, Their quiet course where Seth and Enoch

ran, And God and Angels deign'd to walk with man.

Now from the east, supreme in arts and

arms, The tribes of Cain, awakening war-alarms, Full in the spirit of their father came To waste their brethren's lands with sword

and flame. In Tain the younger race of Adam rose, With force unequal, to repel their foes; Their fields in blood, their homes in ruins

lay, Their whole inheritance became a prey; The stars, to whom as Gods they raised their

cry, Rolfd, heedless of their offerings, through

the sky; Till urged on Eden's utmost bounds at length, In fierce despair they rallied all their strength. They fought, but they were vnnquish'd in

the fight, Captured, or slain, orscattcr'd in the flight: The morning-battlc-scene at eve was spread Withghastly heaps, thedying and the dead; The dead nnmourn'd, unburicd left to lie, By friends and foes, the dying left to die. The victim, while he groan'd his soul away, Heard the gaunt vulture hurrying to his

prey, Then strcngthlcss felt the ravening beak,

that tore His widen'd wounds, and drank the living

gore.

One sole-surviving remnant void of fear, Woods in their front, Euphrates in their rear, Were sworn to perish at a glorious cost, For all they once had known, and loved,

and lost; A small, a brave, a melancholy band. The orphans, and the childless of the land. The hordes of Cain, by giant-chieftains led, Wide o'er the north their vast encampment

spread: A broad and sunny champaign stretch'd

between; Westward a maze of waters girt the scene; There on Euphrates, in its ancient course. Three beauteous rivers roll'd their confluent

force, Whose streams, while man the blissful garden

trod, Adnrn'd the earthly paradise of God; But since he fell, within their triple bound Fenced a lone region of forbidden ground; Meeting at once,where high athwart tbei r bed Repulsive rocks a curving barrier spread,

The embattled'floods, by mutual whirlpool*

crost, In hoary foam and surging mist were lost; Thence, like an Alpine cataract of snow. White down the precipice they dash'd below; There in tumultuous billows broken wide, They spent their rage, and yoked their fourfold tide; Through one majestic channel, calm and free, The sister-rivers sought the parent-sea.

The midnight-watch was ended; — down the west The glowing moon declined towards her rest; Through either host the voice of war was

dumb; In dreams the hero won the fight to come; No Bound was stirring, save the breeze that

bore The distant cataract's ever-lasting roar, When from the tents of Cain a Youth withdrew; Secret and swift, from post to post he flew, And pass'd the camp of Eden, while the dawn Glcam'd faintly o'er the interjacent lawn; Skirting the forest, cautiously and slow, He fear'd at every step to start a foe; Oftlcap'dthc bare across his path, upsprung The lark beneath his feet, and soaring

sung; What time, o'er eastern mountains seen afar, With golden splendour, rose the morningstar, As if an Angel-ccntinel of night From earth to heaven had winged his homeward flight,— Glorious at first, bnt lessening by the way, And lost insensibly in higher day.

From track of man and herd his path he chose

Where high the grass, and thick the copsewood rose;

Thence by Euphrates' banks his course inclined.

Where the grey willow* trembled to the wind;

With toil and pain their humid shade he clear'd,

When at the porch of heaven the sun appear'd,

Through gorgeous clouds that streak'd the orient sky.

And kindled into glory at his eye;

While dark amidst the dews that glitter'd round.

From rock and tree, long shadows traced the ground

Then clirab'd the fugitive an airy height.

And, resting, back o'er Eden cast his sight.

Far on the left, to man for ever closed. The Mount of Paradise in clouds reposed:

« ПредишнаНапред »