Imágenes de páginas

Palmyra's dead, where desolation sat
From age to age, well pleased in solitude,
And silence,—save when traveller's foot, or owl
Of night, or fragment mouldering down to dust,
Broke faintly on his desert ear, -awoke.
And Salem, holy city, where the Prince
Of Life, by death, a second life secured
To man, and with him from the grave, redeemed,
A chosen number brought, to retinue
His great ascent on high, and give sure pledge
That death was foiled,—her generations, now,
Gave up, of kings, and priests, and Pharisees:
Nor even the Sadducee, who fondly said,
No morn of resurrection e'er should come,
Could sit the summons; to his ear did reach
The trumpet's voice, and ill prepared for what
He oft had proved should never be, he rose
Reluctantly, and on his face began
To burn eternal shame. The cities, too,
Of old, ensepulchred beneath the flood,
Or deeply slumbering under mountains huge,
That earthquake—servant of the wrath of God—
Had on their wicked population thrown;
And marts of busy trade, long ploughed and sown
By history unrecorded, or the song
Of bard—yet not forgotten their wickedness,
In heaven—poured forth their ancient multitudes,
That vainly wished their sleep had never broke.
From battle fields, where men by millions met
To murder each his fellow, and make sport
To kings and heroes—things long since forgot—
Innumerous armies rose, unbanner'd all,
Unpanoplied, unpraised; nor found a prince,
Or general, then, to answer for their crimes.
The hero's slaves, and all the scarlet troops
Of antichrist, and all that fought for rule,
Many high-sounding names, familiar once
On earth, and praised exceedingly, but now
Familiar most in hell, their dungeon fit,
Where they may war eternally with God's
Almighty thunderbolts, and win them pangs
Of keener woe, -saw, as they sprung to life,
The widow and the orphan, ready stand,
And helpless virgin, ravished in their sport,

To plead against them at the coming doom.
The Roman legions, boasting once, how loud,
Of liberty, and fighting bravely o'er
The torrid and the frigid zone, the sands
Of burning Egypt, and the frozen hills
Of snowy Albion, to make mankind
Their thralls—untaught, that he who made or kept
A slave, could ne'er himself be truly free—
That morning gathered up their dust, which lay
Wide scattered over half the globe; nor saw
Their eagled banners then. Sennacherib's hosts,
Embattled once against the sons of God,
With insult bold, quick as the noise of mirth
And revelry, sunk in their drunken camp,
When death's dark angel, at the dead of night,
Their vitals touched, and made each pulse stand still,
Awoke in sorrow ; and the multitudes
Of Gog, and all the fated crew that warred
Against the chosen saints, in the last days,
At Armageddon, when the Lord came down,
Mustering his host on Israel's holy hills,
And, from the treasures of his snow and hail,
Rained terror, and confusion rained, and death,
And gave to all the beasts and fowls of heaven,
Of captains' flesh and blood of men of war,
A feast of many days, revived, and, doomed
To second death, stood in Hamonah's vale.

Nor yet did all that fell in battle rise, That day, to wailing. Here and there were seen The patriot bands, that from his guilty throne The despot tore, unshackled nations, made The prince respect the people's laws, drove back The wave of proud invasion, and rebuked The frantic fury of the multitude, Rebelled, and fought and fell for liberty Right understood, true heroes in the speech Of heaven, where words express the thoughts of him Who speaks; not undistinguished these, though few, That morn arose, with joy and melody.

+ × * × × -k

Thom As Hood was born in the Poultry, London, in 1798. His father was a native of Scotland, and, for many years, acting partner in the firm of Vernor, Hood, and Sharp, extensive Booksellers and Publishers. Thomas Hood was in his childhood remarkable for great vivacity of spirits; and at a very early age gave tokens of the genius for which he has been since distinguished. When a boy, our informant states, “he was continually making shrewd and pointed remarks upon topics of which he was presumed to know nothing." He finished his education at Mr. Wanostrocht's academy, Camberwell; and on leaving school, his health being precarious, he was recommended to try the effect of a sea voyage on his constitution. The sea, however, appears to have had no attractions for the future Poet: in one of the pleasantest of his poems he sums up all the annoyances to which those who are “far from the land" are invariably subjected:– “All the sea dangers, Buccaneers, rangers, Pirates and Sallee-men, Algerine galleynien, Tornadoes and Typhons, And horrible Syphons,” Sc. &c. &c. Mr. Hood subsequently resided for a considerable period with his relatives in Dundee; and on his return to London, having manifested a taste for drawing, and expressed a desire to pursue the art of engraving, he was articled to his uncle, Mr. Robert Sands, with a view to acquire a knowledge of the profession. He passed two years sketching with the pencil, now and then taking up the graver, but chiefly composing poetry: his compositions found their way into the “London Magazine,” and at once attracted attention. A path to fame was speedily marked out for him ; and he has taken his station as one of the most original and agreeable writers of the day. The countenance of Mr. Hood is more solemn than merry: there is nothing in his appearance to indicate that wit and humour for which he is so eminent. He is by no means brilliant in conversation; but seems as if continually taking in the matter which he gives out sparingly in general society. We believe, indeed, that his mind is serious rather than comic; that the poems which have made so many readers laugh, are the produce of deep thought and study, and by no means the outbreaks of natural humour. We think we perceive this even in his merriest strains: few of them are without a touch of melancholy; and the topics he selects as fittest for him, are usually of a grave and sombre cast. We have never known him laugh heartily, either in company or in rhyme. It is highly to his credit, that with so much power in dealing with the burlesque, he has never indulged in personal satire : we look in vain through his books for a single passage that can give pain to any living person; neither does he ever verge upon indelicacy, or treat with lightness or indifference sacred subjects. Perhaps it is impossible to find a greater contrast than that which is presented by the writings of Thomas Hood, and Peter Pindar. The one cannot be facetious without exhibiting venom;—the other, in his most playful moments, is never either ill-tempered or envious. Indeed, kindliness, benevolence, and generosity are the characteristics even of Mr. Hood's “satirical” productions. It is, however, less to the humorous than to the serious compositions of Thomas Hood that we desire to direct the reader's attention. His name is so completely linked with “joking,” that few are at all aware of his exquisite talent for pure and genuine poetry. While his “Whims and Oddities" have passed through many editions, his “ Plea of the Midsummer Fairies” has never reached a second ; and while his “Comic Annuals” have brought him a large income, his delicious Lyrics have scarcely yielded sufficient to pay the printer. We refer to the few extracts we have selected, for proof that Mr. Hood has claims to a far higher and more enviable reputation than that which his “puns" have conferred upon him. More tender, more graceful, or more beautifully wrought lyrics are scarcely to be found in the language. They “smack of the old Poets;” they have all the truth and nature for which the great Bards are pre-eminent; and while Mr. Hood has caught their spirit, he has not fallen into the error that has proved fatal to many of his contemporaries, a mistaken notion that by copying the slips and blots which occasionally inar the delicate beauty of their writings, he was initating their style and character.


LADY, would'st thou heiress be
To winter's cold and cruel part 2
When he sets the rivers free,
Thou dost still lock up thy heart:
Thou that should'st outlast the snow,
But in the whiteness of thy brow !

Scorn and cold neglect are made
For winter gloom and winter wind;
But thou wilt wrong the summer air,
Breathing it to words unkind:
Breath which only should belong
To love, to sunlight, and to song!

When the little buds unclose,
Red, and white, and pied, and blue;
And that virgin flower, the rose,
Opes her heart to hold the dew,
Wilt thou lock thy bosom up
With no jewel in its cup 2

Let not cold December sit
Thus in love's peculiar throne;
Brooklets are not prison'd now,
But crystal frosts are all agone;
And that which hangs upon the spray,
It is no snow, but flower of May 1


She stood breast high amid the corn,
Clasp'd by the golden light of morn,
Like the sweetheart of the sun
Who many a glowing kiss had won.

On her cheek an autumn flush,
Deeply ripened:—such a blush
In the midst of brown was born,
Like red poppies grown with corn.

Round her eyes her tresses fell,
Which were blackest none could tell;
But long lashes veil'd a light,
That had else been all too bright.

And her hat, with shady brim,
Made her tressy forehead dim;-
Thus she stood amid the stooks
Praising God with sweetest looks:–

Sure, I said, heav'n did not mean,
Where I reap thou should'st but glean;
Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
Share my harvest and my home.

« AnteriorContinuar »