« AnteriorContinuar »
Yet, in my dreams, a form I view
ODE TO DISAPPOINTMENT.
Come, Disappointment, come!
But I recline
Beneath thy shrine,
And, round my brow resign'd, thy peaceless cypress twine.
Though Fancy flies away
Before thy hollow tread,
Ilears, with faint ear, the lingering knell
That tells her hopes are dead;
And though the tear
By chance appear,
Yet can she smile, and say, "My all was not laid here."
Come, Disappointment, come!
Though from Hope's summit hurl'd,
To turn my eye
And point to scenes of bliss that never, never die.
What is this passing scene?
A little sun-a little rain,
And then night sweeps along the plain,
And all things fade away.
Man (soon discuss'd)
And all his hopes and fears lie with him in the dust.
Oh, what is beauty's power?
It flourishes and dies;
Will the cold earth its silence break,
To tell how soft, how smooth a cheek
Mute, mute is all
O'er Beauty's fall;
Her praise resounds no more when mantled in her pall.
The most beloved on earth
Not long survives to-day;
And yet 'twas sweet, 'twas passing sweet,
But now 'tis gone away.
Thus does the shade
When in forsaken tomb the form belov'd is laid.
Then, since this world is vain,
Why should I lay up earthly joys,
Where rust corrupts, and moth destroys,
Why fly from ill
With anxious skill,
When soon this hand will freeze, this throbbing heart be still?
Come, Disappointment, come!
From sun to sun
My race will run;
I only bow, and say, "My God, thy will be done!"
TO AN EARLY PRIMROSE.
Mild offspring of a dark and sullen sire!
Whose modest form, so delicately fine,
Was nursed in whirling storms,
Thee, when young Spring first question'd Winter's sway,
Thee on this bank he threw,
In this low vale, the promise of the year,
So virtue blooms, brought forth amid the storms
Of life she rears her head,
Hark! hark! to God the chorus breaks
Once on the raging seas I rode ;
The storm was loud-the night was dark;
The wind that toss'd my foundering bark.
Deep horror then my vitals froze-
It was the Star of Bethlehem.
It was my guide, my light, my all,
It bade my dark forebodings cease;
Now safely moor'd-my perils o'er-
The Star-the Star of Bethlehem!
[Concluding stanzas, written shortly before his death.]
With self-rewarding toil; thus far have sung
The lyre which I in early days have strung;
On the dark cypress; and the strings which rung
Or, when the breeze comes by, moan, and are heard no more.
And must the harp of Judah sleep again?
Thou who dost listen when the humble pray,
I am a youthful traveller in the way,
"The torch of his inspiration was certainly kindled at the inner shrine; but it was darkly destined that his fair dawn was to have no meridian, and with a heart full of youthful promise and of lofty aspirations-devoted to the noblest and purest objects of humanity-he died while his feet were yet on the threshold of manhood. Three, at least, of the great magnates of literature lamented his fate, and were loud in his praises. On examining his post
Blest as you are with the good testimony of an approving conscience, and happy in an intimate communion with the all-pure and all-merciful God, these trifling concerns ought not to molest you; nay, were the tide of adversity to turn strong against you, even were your friends to forsake you, and abject poverty to stare you in the face, you ought to be abundantly thankful to God for his mercies to you; you ought to consider yourself still as rich, yea, to look around you, and say, I am far happier than the sons of men. This is a system of philosophy which, for myself, I shall not only preach, but practise. We are here for nobler purposes than to waste the fleeting moments of our lives in lamentations and wailings over troubles which, in their widest extent, do but affect the present state, and which, perhaps, only regard our personal ease and prosperity. Make me an outcast-a beggar; place me a barefooted pilgrim on the top of the Alps or the Pyrenees; and I should have wherewithal to sustain the spirit within me, in the reflection that all this was but as for a moment, and that a period would come when wrong, and injury, and trouble should be no more. Are we to be so utterly enslaved by habit and association that we shall spend our lives in anxiety and bitter care, only that we may find a covering for our bodies, or the means of assuaging hunger? For what else is an anxiety after the world?
Letter to Mr. B. Maddock.
ADVICE TO THE YOUNG.
I would therefore exhort you earnestly-you who are yet unskilled in the ways of the world-to beware on what object you concentrate your hopes. Pleasures may allure-pride or ambition may stimulate; but their fruits are hollow and deceitful, and they afford no sure, no solid satisfaction. You are placed on the earth in a state of probation-your continuance here will be, at the longest, a very short period; and when you are called from hence you plunge into an eternity, the completion of which will be in correspondence to your past life, unutterably happy or inconceivably miserable. Your fate will probably depend on your early pursuits-it will be these which will give the turn to your character
bliss, such unruffled peace, as is nowhere else to be found. All other schemes of earthly pleasure are fleeting and unsatisfactory. They all entail upon them repentance and bitterness of thought. This alone endureth for ever; this alone embraces equally the present and the future; this alone can arm a man against every calamity can alone shed the balm of peace over that scene of life when pleasures have lost their zest, and the mind can no longer look forward to the dark and mysterious future. Above all, beware of the ignis fatuus of false philosophy: that must be a very defeetive system of ethics which will not bear a man through the most trying stage of his existence; and I know of none that will do it but the Christian.
ANNA SEWARD, 1747-1809.
ANNA SEWARD, daughter of the Rev. Thomas Seward, of Litchfield, was born in the year 1747. In her very early childhood, she showed a great passion for poetry; but her mother, who had no taste for it, and who had a dread lest her daughter should be a "literary lady," persuaded her husband to forbid Anna from pursuing the natural bent of her genius. Poetry, therefore, was prohibited; and, to her praise, she sacrificed her own strong and decided tastes to the inclination of her parents. At the age of seventeen, she lost her only sister, a bereavement which she felt most keenly, and which she subsequently made the subject of an elegy. The blank in her domestic society was, however, in a degree supplied by the attachment of Miss Honora Sneyd, then residing in her father's family, whom she often mentions in her poetry.
When of age to select her own studies, she became a professed votary of the Muse, and she was known by the name of the "Swan of Litchfield." Among her first publications were "An Elegy to the Memory of Captain Cook,” and “A Monody on the Death of Major Andre." From the nature of the subjects, they enjoyed great popularity for the time, but are now very little read, though Sir Walter Scott says that "they convey a high impression of the original powers of their author." In 1799, she published a "Collection of Original Sonnets," which contain some beautiful examples of that species of composition. After