Imágenes de páginas

true picture of the business that is to be done. There is in these letters, as I have said above, a silence still more significant of Oliver to us than any speech they have. Dimly we discover features of an intelligence, and soul of a man, greater than any speech. The intelligence that can, with full satisfaction to itself, come out in eloquent speaking, in musical singing, is, after all, a small intelligence. He that works and does some poem, not he that merely says one, is worthy of the name of poet. Cromwell, emblem of the dumb English, is interesting to me by the very inadequacy of his speech. Heroic insight, valor and belief, without words,-how noble is it in comparison to eloquent words without heroic insight!


The same.

I will venture to give the reader two little pieces of advice, which, if his experience resemble mine, may prove furthersome to him in this inquiry: they include the essence of all that I have discovered respecting it.

The first is, by no means to credit the wide-spread report that these seventeenth-century Puritans were superstitious, crackbrained persons; given up to enthusiasm, the most part of them; the minor ruling part being cunning men, who knew how to assume the dialect of the others, and thereby, as skilful Machiavels, to dupe them. This is a wide-spread report; but an untrue one. I advise my reader to try precisely the opposite hypothesis. To consider that his fathers, who had thought about this world very seriously indeed, and with very considerable thinking faculty indeed, were not quite so far behindhand in their conclusions respecting it. That actually their "enthusiasms," if well seen into, were not foolish but wise. That Machiavelism, Cant, Official Jargon, whereby a man speaks openly what he does not mean, were, surprising as it may seem, much rarer then than they have ever since been. Really and truly it may in a manner be said, Cant, Parliamentary and other Jargon, were still to invent in this world. O Heavens, one could weep at the contrast! Cant was not fashionable at all; that stupendous invention of "Speech for the purpose of concealing Thought" was not yet made. A man wagging the tongue of him, as if it were the clapper of a bell to be rung for economic purposes, and not so much as attempting to convey any inner thought, if thought he have, of the matter talked of,-would at that date have awakened all the horror in men's minds, which at all dates, and at this date, too, is due to him. The accursed thing! No man as yet dared to do it; all men believing that God would judge them. In the History of the Civil War far and wide, I have not fallen in with one such phenomenon.

The use of the human tongue was then other than it now is. I

counsel the reader to leave all that of Cant, Dupery, Machiavelism, and so forth, decisively lying at the threshold. He will be wise to believe that these Puritans do mean what they say, and to try unimpeded if he can discover what that is. Gradually a very stupendous phenomenon may rise on his astonished eye. A practical world based on belief in God;-such as many centuries had seen before, but as never any century since has been privileged to see. It was the last glimpse of it in our world, this of English Puritanism: very great, very glorious; tragical enough to all thinking hearts that look on it from these days of ours.

My second advice is, not to imagine that it was Constitution, "Liberty of the people to tax themselves," privilege of Parliament, triennial or annual Parliaments, or any modification of these sublime privileges, now waxing somewhat faint in our admirations, that mainly animated our Cromwells, Pyms, and Hampdens, to the heroic efforts we still admire in retrospect. Not these very measurable "Privileges," but a far other and deeper, which could not be measured; of which these, and all grand social improvements whatsoever, are the corollary. Our ancient Puritan Reformers were, as all Reformers that will ever much benefit this Earth are always, inspired by a Heavenly Purpose. To see God's own law, then universally acknowledged for complete as it stood in the holy Written Book, made good in this world; to see this, or the true unwearied aim and struggle towards this: it was a thing worth living for and dying for! Eternal Justice; that God's Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven: corollaries enough will flow from that, if that be there; if that be not there, no corollary good for much will flow.

The same.


THE facts in the life of ELIZABETH BARRETT, one of the most distinguished of the female poets of England, which have come to our knowledge, are very few. Up to her marriage with Robert Browning, (himself no mean poet,) in November, 1846, she went very little into society. Since that time she has resided with her husband in Florence, and is now (1853) about forty-two years of age.

Mrs. Browning's publications are as follow: "Essay on Mind, a Poem;" "Prometheus Bound, and Miscellaneous Poems;" "The Seraphim, and other Poems;" "Collected Poems," in two volumes; "A Drama of Exile, and other Poems," two volumes.

Mrs. Browning has been styled "the learned poetess of the day,—familiar with Homer, and Eschylus, and Sophocles, and to the musings of Tempe she has added

the inspirations of Christianity." This is readily granted, and yet we cannot say that her poetry, as a whole, deeply interests us. With the exception of some few pieces, it takes no permanent hold upon the heart, simply because it is addressed more to the reason than to the feelings or affections. The following, we think, are some of her best pieces-pieces of the most simplicity and feeling, if they do not, so well as some others, illustrate her general style.


I have a name, a little name,
Uncadenced for the ear;
Unhonor'd by ancestral claim,
Unsanctified by prayer and psalm
The solemn font anear.

Though I write books, it will be read
Upon the leaves of none;

And afterwards, when I am dead,
Will ne'er be graved for sight or tread
Across my funeral stone.

Whoever chanceth it to call,

May chance your smile to win;—
Nay, do not smile! mine eyelids fall
Over mine eyes, and feel withal
The sudden tears within!

My brother gave that name to me
When we were children twain;
When names acquired baptismally
Were hard to utter, as to see
That life had any pain.

No shade was on us then, save one
Of chestnuts from the hill-

And through the word our laugh did run
As part thereof! The mirth being done,
He calls me by it still!

Nay, do not smile! I hear in it
What none of you can hear!
The talk upon the willow seat,
The bird and wind that did repeat
Around our human cheer!

I hear the birthday's noisy bliss,
My sister's woodland glee-
My father's praise I did not miss,
What time he stooped down to kiss
The poet at his knee-

And voices-which to name me, aye
Most tender tones were keeping!

To some I never more can say
An answer, till God wipes away

In heaven these drops of weeping!

My name to me a sadness wears-
No murmurs cross my mind—

Now God be thank'd for these thick tears,
Which show, of those departed years,
Sweet memories left behind!

Now God be thank'd for years inwrought
With love which softens yet;

Now God be thank'd for every thought
Which is so tender, it hath caught
Earth's guerdon of regret!

Earth may imbitter, not remove

The love divinely given:

And e'en that mortal grief shall prove
The immortality of love,

And lead us nearer Heaven!


Of all the thoughts of God that are
Borne inward unto souls afar,

Along the Psalmist's music deep-
Now tell me if that any is,
For gift or grace surpassing this,
"He giveth His beloved sleep."

What would we give to our beloved?
The hero's heart, to be unmoved-

The poet's star-tuned harp, to sweep-
The senate's shout to patriot vows-

The monarch's crown to light the brows?— "He giveth His beloved sleep."

What do we give to our beloved?
A little faith, all undisproved
A little dust to overweep-
And bitter memories to make

The whole earth blasted for our sake!
"He giveth His beloved sleep."

"Sleep soft, beloved!" we sometimes say, But have no tune to charm away

Sad dreams that through the eyelids creep:

But never doleful dream again

Shall break the happy slumber, when
"He giveth His beloved sleep."

O earth, so full of dreary noises!
men, with wailing in your voices!
O delved gold, the wailers' heap!
O strife, O curse, that o'er it fall!
God makes a silence through you all,
And "giveth His beloved sleep."
His dew drops mutely on the hill;
His cloud above it saileth still,

Though on its slope men toil and reap;

More softly than the dew is shed,
Or cloud is floated overhead,

"He giveth His beloved sleep."
Ha! men may wonder while they scan
A living, thinking, feeling man,

In such a rest his heart to keep;
But angels say-and through the word
I ween their blessed smile is heard-
"He giveth His beloved sleep!"
For me, my heart, that erst did go,
Most like a tired child at a show,

That sees through tears the juggler's leap-
Would now its wearied vision close,
Would childlike on His love repose,

Who "giveth His beloved sleep!"

And friends!-dear friends!-when it shall be
That this low breath has gone from me,
And round my bier ye come to weep-

Let me, most loving of you all,
Say, not a tear must o'er her fall-
"He giveth His beloved sleep!"


It is a place where poets crown'd
May feel the heart's decaying-
It is a place where happy saints
May weep amid their praying-
Yet let the grief and humbleness,
As low as silence languish;
Earth surely now may give her calm
To whom she gave her anguish.

O poets! from a maniac's tongue
Was pour'd the deathless singing!
O Christians! at your cross of hope
A hopeless hand was clinging!
O men! this man in brotherhood,
Your weary paths beguiling,
Groan'd inly while he taught you peace,
And died while ye were smiling.

And now, what time ye all may read
Through dimming tears his story-

How discord on the music fell,

And darkness on the glory

And how, when, one by one, sweet sounds

And wandering lights departed,

He wore no less a loving face,

Because so broken-hearted.

He shall be strong to sanctify

The poet's high vocation,

And bow the meekest Christian down
In meeker adoration;

« AnteriorContinuar »