« AnteriorContinuar »
How could you say my face was fair,
And yet that face forsake?
Yet leave that heart to break ?
And made the scarlet pale ?
Believe the flattering tale!
Those lips no longer red :
And every charm is fled.
This winding-sheet I wear:
Till that last morn appear.
A long and last adieu !
Who died for love of you.
With beams of rosy red :
And raving left his bed.
Where Margaret's body lay;
Tbat wrapt her breathless clay.
And thrice he wept full sore;
And word spake never more!
His sister, who, like
envy formed, Like her in mischief joyed, To work them harm, with wicked skill,
Each darker art employed. The father too, a sordid man,
Who love nor pity knew, Was all unfeeling as the clod
From whence his riches grew. Long had he seen their secret flame,
And seen it long unmoved ;
Had sternly disapproved.
Of differing passions strove:
Yet could not cease to love.
The spreading hawthorn crept,
Where Emma walked and wept.
Beneath the moonlight shade, In sighs to pour his softened soul,
The midnight mourner strayed.
A deadly pale o'ercast;
Before the northern blast.
The parents now, with late remorse,
Hung o'er his dying bed ; And wearied Heaven with fruitless vows,
And fruitless sorrows shed.
Edroin and Emma.
Far in the windings of a vale,
Fast by a sheltering wood,
A humble cottage stood.
Beneath a mother's eye;
To see her blest, and die.
Gave colour to her cheek;
When vernal mornings break.
This charmer of the plains :
To paint our lily deigns,
Each maiden with despair;
Yet knew not she was fair:
A soul devoid of art;
Shone forth the feeling heart.
Was quickly too revealed ;
That virtue keeps concealed.
Did love on both bestow !
Where fortune proves a foe.
'Tis past! he cried, but, if your souls
Sweet mercy yet can move,
What they must ever love!
And bathed with many a tear:
So morning dews appear.
A cruel sister she !
• My Edwin, live for me!'
The churchyard path along,
Her lover's funeral song.
Her startling fancy found
His groan in every sound.
The visionary vale
Sad sounding in the gale!
Her aged mother's door :
That angel-face no more.
Beat high against my side!
And his banks open and his lawns extend, learned poet, perhaps superior. His knowledge was Stops short the pleased traveller to view,
better digested. But Gray had not the romantic Presiding o'er the scene, some rustic tower
enthusiasm of character, tinged with pedantry, which Founded by Norman or by Saxon hands :
naturally belonged to Akenside. He had also the Oye Northumbrian shades, which overlook experience of mature years. The genius of AkenThe rocky pavement and the mossy falls
side was early developed, and his diffuse and florid Of solitary Wensbeck's limpid stream!
descriptions seem the natural product-marvellous How gladly I recall your well-known seats
of its kind-of youthful exuberance. He was afterBeloved of old, and that delightful time
wards conscious of the defects of his poem. He saw When all alone, for many a summer's day, that there was too much leaf for the fruit; but in I wandered through your calm recesses, led cutting off these luxuriances, he sacrificed some of In silence by some powerful hand unseen.
the finest blossoms. Posterity has been more just Nor will I e'er forget you ; nor shall e'er
to his fame, by almost wholly disregarding this The graver tasks of manhood, or the advice
second copy of his philosophical poem. In his youthOf vulgar wisdom, move me to disclaim
ful aspirations after moral and intellectual great. Those studies which possessed me in the dawn ness and beauty, he seems, like Jeremy Taylor în Of life, and fixed the colour of my mind
the pulpit, an angel newly descended from the For every future year: whence even now
visions of glory.' In advanced years, he is the proFrom sleep I rescue the clear hours of morn, fessor in his robes; still free from stain, but stately, And, while the world around lies overwhelmed
formal, and severe. The blank verse of 'The PleaIn idle darkness, am alive to thoughts
sures of Imagination' is free and well-modulated, and Of honourable fame, of truth divine
seems to be distinctively his own. Though apt to Or moral, and of minds to virtue won
run into too long periods, it has more compactness By the sweet magic of harmonious verse.
of structure than Thomson's ordinary composition. The spirit of Milton seems to speak in this strain of Its occasional want of perspicuity probably arises lofty egotism!
from the fineness of his distinctions, and the diffi"The Pleasures of Imagination' is a poem seldom culty attending mental analysis in verse. He might read continuously, though its finer passages, by fre- also wish to avoid all vulgar and common expresquent quotation, particularly in works of criticism sions, and thus err from excessive refinement. A and moral philosophy, are well known. Gray cen- redundancy of ornament undoubtedly, in some passured the mixture of spurious philosophy—the spe- sages, takes off from the clearness and prominence culations of Hutcheson and Shaftesbury-which the of his conceptions. His highest flights, howeverwork contains. Plato, Lucretius, and even the papers as in the allusion to the death of Cæsar, and his by Addison in the Spectator, were also laid under exquisitely-wrought parallel between art and nacontribution by the studious author. He gathered ture—have a flow and energy of expression, with sparks of enthusiasm from kindred minds, but the appropriate imagery, which mark the great poet. train was in his own. The pleasures which his poem His style is chaste, yet elevated and musical. He professes to treat of, ' proceed,' he says, 'either from never compromised his dignity, though he blended natural objects, as from a flourishing grove, a clear sweetness with its expression. and murmuring fountain, a calm sea by moonlight, or from works of art, such as a noble edifice, a mu
[Aspirations after the Infinite.] sical tune, a statue, a picture, a poem.' These, with Say, why was man so eininently raised the moral and intellectual objects arising from them, Amid the vast creation ; why ordained furnish abundant topics for illustration ; but Aken- Through life and death to dart his piercing eye, side dealt chiefly with abstract subjects, pertaining With thoughts beyond the limit of his frame; more to philosophy than to poetry. He did not But that the Omnipotent might send him forth seek to graft upon them human interests and pas. In sight of mortal and immortal powers, sions. In tracing the final causes of our emotions, As on a boundless theatre, to run he could have described their exercise and effects in The great career of justice; to exalt scenes of ordinary pain or pleasure in the walks His generous aim to all diviner deeds; of real life. This does not seem, however, to have To chase each partial purpose from his breast; been the purpose of the poet, and hence his work is And through the mists of passion and of sense, deficient in interest. He seldom stoops from the And through the tossing tide of chance and pain, heights of philosophy and classic taste. He con. To hold his course unfaltering, while the voice sidered that physical science improved the charms of Of Truth and Virtue, up the steep ascent nature. Contrary to the feeling of an accomplished Of Nature, calls him to his high reward, living poet, who repudiates these cold material The applauding smile of Heaven ! Else wherefore burns laws, he viewed the rainbow with additional plea- In mortal bosoms this unquenched hope, sure after he had studied the Newtonian theory of That breathes from day to day sublimer things, lights and colours.
And mocks possession ? wherefore darts the mind
With such resistless ardour to embrace
Majestic forms ; impatient to be free, To me have shone so pleasing, as when first
Spurning the gross control of wilful might; The hand of Science pointed out the path
Proud of the strong contention of her toils; In which the sunbeams gleaming from the west
Proud to be daring? who but rather turns Fall on the watery cloud, whose darksome veil
To Heaven's broad fire his unconstrained view, Involves the orient.
Than to the glimmering of a waxen flame?
Who that, from Alpine heights, his labouring eye Akenside's Hymn to the Naiads has the true classical Shoots round the wide horizon, to survey spirit. He had caught the manner and feeling, the Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave varied pause and harmony, of the Greek poets, with Through mountains, plains, through empires black such felicity, that Lloyd considered his Hymn as with shade, fitted to give a better idea of that form of compo- And continents of sand, will turn his gaze sition, than could be conveyed by any translation To mark the windings of a scanty rill of Homer or Callimachus. Gray was an equally | That murmurs at his feet? The high-born soul
Disdains to rest her heaven-aspiring wing Beneath its native quarry. Tired of earth And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft Through fields of air; pursues the flying storm; Rides on the collied lightning through the heavens ; Or, yoked with whirlwinds and the northern blast, Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars The blue profound, and, hovering round the sun, Beholds him pouring the redundant stream Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway Bend the reluctant planets to absolve The fated rounds of Time. Thence far effused, She darts her swiftness up the long career Of devious comets; through its burning signs Exulting measures the perennial wheel Of Nature, and looks back on all the stars, Whose blended light, as with a milky zone, Invest the orient. Now, amazed she views The empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold, Beyond this concave heaven, their calm abode; And fields of radiance, whose unfading light Has travelled the profound six thousand years, Nor yet arrives in sight of mortal things. Eren on the barriers of the world, untired She meditates the eternal depth below; Till half recoiling, down the headlong steep She plunges; soon o'erwhelmed and swallowed up In that immense of being. There her hopes Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth Of mortal man, the sovereign Maker said, That not in huumble nor in brief delight, Not in the fading echoes of Renown, Power's purple robes, nor Pleasure's flowery lap, "The soul should find enjoyment: but from these Tuming disdainful to an equal good, Through all the ascent of things enlarge her view, Till every bound at length should disappear, And infinite perfection close the scene.
Of atoms moving with incessant change
[Intellectual Beauty-Patriotism.] Mind, mind alone (bear witness earth and heaven!) The living fountains in itself contains Of beauteous and sublime: here hand in hand Sit paramount the Graces; here enthroned, Celestial Venus, with divinest airs, Invites the soul to never-fading joy. Look, then, abroad through Nature, to the range Of planets, suns, and adamantine spheres, Wheeling unshaken through the void immense ; And speak, oh man! does this capacious scene With half that kindling majesty dilate Thy strong conception, as when Brutus rose Refulgent from the stroke of Cæsar's fate, Amid the crowd of patriots; and his arm Aloft extending, like eternal Jove When guilt brings down the thunder, called aloud On Tully's name, and shook his crimson steel, And bade the father of his country, hail ! For lo! the tyrant prostrate on the dust, And Rome again is free! Is aught so fair In all the dewy landscapes of the spring, In the bright eye of Hesper, or the morn, In Nature's fairest forms, is aught so fair As virtuous friendship? as the candid blush Of him who strives with fortune to be just ? The graceful tear that streams for others' woes, Or the mild majesty of private life, Where Peace, with ever-blooming olive, crowns The gate ; where Honour's liberal hands effuse Unenvied treasures, and the snowy wings Of Innocence and Love protect the scene? Once more search, undismayed, the dark profound Where nature works in secret ; view the beds Of mineral treasure, and the eternal vault That bounds the hoary ocean ; trace the forms
[Operations of the Mind in the Production of Works
of Imagination.] By these mysterious ties, the busy power Of memory her ideal train preserves Entire; or when they would elude her watch, Reclaims their fleeting footsteps from the waste Of dark oblivion ; thus collecting all The various forms of being, to present Before the curious eye of mimic art Their largest choice: like spring's unfolded blooms Exhaling sweetness, that the skilful bee May taste at will from their selected spoils To work her dulcet food. For not the expanse Of living lakes in summer's noontide calm, Reflects the bordering shade and sun-bright heavens With fairer semblance; not the sculptured gold More faithful keeps the graver's lively trace, Than he whose birth the sister powers of art Propitious viewed, and from his genial star Shed influence to the seeds of fancy kind Than his attempered bosom must preserve The seal of nature. There alone, unchanged Her form remains. The balmy walks of May
was made one of the lords of the treasury. He was Hence, by fond dreams of fancied power amused, afterwards a privy councillor and chancellor of the When most you tyrannise, you're most abused. exchequer, and was elevated to the peerage. He What is your sex's earliest, latest care, died August 22, 1773, aged sixty-four. Lyttelton Your heart's supreme ambition To be fair. was author of a short but excellent treatise on The For this, the toilet every thought employs, Conversion of St Paul, which is still regarded as one Hence all the toils of dress, and all the joys: of the subsidiary bulwarks of Christianity. He also For this, hands, lips, and eyes, are put to school, wrote an elaborate History of the Reign of Henry II., And each instructed feature has its rule: to which he brought ample information and a spirit And yet how few have learnt, when this is given, of impartiality and justice. These valuable works, Not to disgrace the partial boon of Heaven! and his patronage of literary men (Fielding, it will How few with all their pride of form can move ! be recollected, dedicated to him his Tom Jones, and How few are lovely, that are made for love ! to Thomson he was a firm friend), constitute the Do you, my fair, endeavour to possess chief claim of Lyttelton upon the regard of pos- An elegance of mind, as well as dress ;. terity. Gray has praised his Monody on his wife's Be that your ornament, and know to please death as tender and elegiac; but undoubtedly the By graceful Nature's unaffected ease. finest poetical effusion of Lyttelton is his Prologue Nor make to dangerous wit a vain pretence, to Thomson's Tragedy of Coriolanus. Before this But wisely rest content with modest sense; play could be brought out, Thomson had paid the For wit, like wine, intoxicates the brain, debt of nature, and his premature death was deeply Too strong for feeble woman to sustain: lamented. The tragedy was acted for the benefit of those who claim it more than half have none; of the poet's relations, and when Quin 'spoke the And half of those who have it are undone. prologue by Lyttelton, many of the audience wept Nor think dishonesty a proof of parts :
Be still superior to your sex's arts, at the lines
For you, the plainest is the wisest rule: He loved his friends—forgive this gushing tear:
A cunning woman is a knavish fool. Alas! I feel I am no actor here.
Be good yourself, nor think another's shame
Can raise your merit, or adorn your fame. [From the Monody.]
Virtue is amiable, mild, serene ;
Without all beauty, and all peace within; In vain I look around
The honour of a prude is rage and storm, O'er all the well-known ground,
'Tis ugliness in its most frightful form; My Lucy's wonted footsteps to descry ;
Fiercely it stands, defying gods and men, Where oft we used to walk,
As fiery monsters guard a giant's den. Where oft in tender talk
Seek to be good, but aim not to be great; We saw the summer sun go down the sky;
A woman's noblest station is retreat ; Nor by yon fountain's side,
Her fairest virtues fly from public sight, Nor where its waters glide
Domestic worth, that shuns too strong a light, Along the valley, can she now be found : In alĩ the wide-stretched prospect's ample bound,
To rougher man Ambition's task resign,
'Tis ours in senates or in courts to shine, No more my mournful eye
To labour for a sunk corrupted state, Can aught of her espy,
Or dare the rage of Envy, and be great ; But the sad sacred earth where her dear relics lie.
One only care your gentle breasts should move, Sweet babes, who, like the little playful fawns, The important business of your life is love; Were wont to trip along these verdant lawns, To this great point direct your constant aim, By your delighted mother's side :
This makes your happiness, and this your fame. Who now your infant steps shall guide ?
Be never cool reserve with passion joined; Ah! where is now the hand whose tender care
With caution choose! but then be fondly kind. To every virtue would have formed your youth,
The selfish heart, that but by halves is given, And strewed with flowers the thorny ways of truth?
Shall find no place in Love's delightful heaven; O loss beyond repair !
Here sweet extremes alone can truly bless :
The virtue of a lover is excess. O wretched father, left alone
A maid unasked may own a well-placed flame; To weep their dire misfortune and thy own!
Not loving first, but loving wrong, is shame. How shall thy weakened mind, oppressed with wo, Contemn the little pride of giving pain, And drooping o'er thy Lucy's grave,
Nor think that conquest justifies disdain. Perform the duties that you doubly owe,
Short is the period of insulting power; Now she, alas ! is gone,
Offended Cupid finds his vengeful hour;
And soon the tyrant shall become the slave.
Blest is the maid, and worthy to be blest,
Whose soul, entire by him she loves possessed, The counsels of a friend, Belinda, hear,
Feels every vanity in fondness lost, Too roughly kind to please a lady's ear,
And asks no power but that of pleasing most : Unlike the flatteries of a lover's pen,
Hers is the bliss, in just return, to prove Such truths as women seldom learn from men.
The honest warmth of undissembled love; Nor think I praise you ill, when thus I show
For her, inconstant man might cease to range, What female vanity might fear to know:
And gratitude forbid desire to change. Some merit's mine to dare to be sincere;
But, lest harsh care the lover's peace destroy, But greater yours sincerity to bear.
And roughly blight the tender buds of joy, Hard is the fortune that your sex attends;
Let Reason teach what Passion fain would hide, Women, like princes, find few real friends:
That Hymen's bands by Prudence should be tied ; All who approach them their own ends pursue ;
Venus in vain the wedded pair would crown, Lovers and ministers are seldom true.
If angry Fortune on their union frown: Hence oft from Reason heedless Beauty strays, Soon will the flattering dream of bliss be o'er, And the most trusted guide the most betrays; And cloyed Imagination cheat no more.