Imágenes de páginas

Thom. As K. HER v EY was born on the banks of the river Cart, near the town of Paisley, in Scotland. He is the oldest of his family by his father's second marriage, and was taken to Manchester by his parents while yet an infant. In this town he resided many years, and passed a portion of them in the office of a solicitor there, as a preparatory step in his education for the bar: he was entered at one of the inns of court; but has not yet been “called;" having been compelled, probably, like most literary men, to the sacrifice of future prospects to present necessities. Mr. Hervey obtained a considerable portion of his reputation by contributing to various periodical works. A few years ago, he collected his poems into a volume, under the title of “the Poetical Sketch Book:” it consists chiefly of short pieces; their merit has been largely acknowledged,—and, although his appearance among the Poets was at an unfavourable period, his work has obtained considerable popularity. Mr. Hervey has also published the “Book of Christmas," a work which displays great industry and research; a poem, the “Devil's Progress,” written after the model of the celebrated lines attributed to Southey and Coleridge; and the “Illustrations of Modern Sculpture,” which are introduced by an essay, giving a sketch of the history of that art from the earliest times. They were issued in numbers, but have recently been formed into a volume; they contain the choicest specimens of the British school, and each is accompanied by a poem from the pen of the Editor. We apprehend this publication was not successful; and regret it. While every other class of art has prospered in this country, but little encouragement has been given to sculpture. With two or three exceptions, its professors have been compelled to limit their chisels to “the making of busts;” and where loftier attempts have been tried, they have been rarely profitable. Mr. Hervey's volume was calculated to direct towards it the attention of wealthy patrons. It was produced in a manner creditable to all parties; and could not fail to impress upon the public a more just estimate of the genius of our artists. Hitherto, their pecuniary advantages have been for the most part derived from the dead. The churches, and not the palaces, of England have been made the depositories of their works. A few noblemen have indeed given “commissions,” and the good Earl of Egremont has filled every nook of his galleries with them; but efforts, either private or public, to render the art prosperous in this country, have been unhappily rare. The poetry of Mr. Hervey may not be of the highest order; but among the minor Poets of England he must hold a foremost rank. His imagination is rich and vigourous; and his versification exceedingly easy and graceful. He has avoided the error into which so many of his contemporaries have fallen, the effort to be effective by the sacrifice of nature, under the idea that the artificialities and affectations of the old Poets were the secrets of their success, forgetting that imitation is always perilous; and that it is far less easy to copy perfections than defects. Within the last twenty years, thousands of “Books of Poems” have issued from the press. It would be difficult to find a dozen that have made their way beyond the friendly and indulgent circles of their respective authors. Yet half a century ago, a large proportion of them would have been received with favour, and have conferred repute. The public is usually correct in its judgment: few recent poetical productions are addressed to the heart; and the mere act of dealing with a subject in verse, although it may have the aid of knowledge and fancy, is insufficient to render a poem popular. It would, however, be easy to select from the numerous poetical productions to which we refer, and which have been consigned to unmerited oblivion, specimens of merit sufficient to form a valuable and interesting volume ; and the Editor who undertakes such a task, will render good service to literature. That which Mr. Sergeant Talfourd describes as the “freezing effect of the scientific spirit of the age,” has had its depressing influence upon the best and greatest of our Poets: it has completely destroyed the ambitious hopes of those who were seeking after distinction. We trust, nevertheless, that a time will come when in poetry, as in art, some portion of celebrity may be attained by all who deserve it. If we must place Mr. Hervey somewhat below the great “makers,” whose names precede his in this volume, we must class him considerably above the host of minor Poets, of whom our age has been so amazingly fertile. Some of his productions, indeed, verge upon the higher standard; and none of them are much beneath it.

Oh! come at this hour, love! the daylight is gone,
And the heavens weep dew on the flowers;
And the spirit of loneliness steals, with a moan,
Through the shade of the eglantine bowers:
For, the moon is asleep on her pillow of clouds,
And her curtain is drawn in the sky;
And the gale, as it wantons along the young buds,
Falls faint on the ear—like a sigh'
The summer-day sun is too gaudy and bright
For a heart that has suffered like mine;
And, methinks, there were pain, in the noon of its light,
To a spirit so broken as thine !

The birds, as they mingled their music of joy,
And the roses that smiled in the beam,
Would but tell us of feelings for ever gone by,
And of hopes that have passed like a dream!

And the moonlight, pale spirit ! would speak of the time
When we wandered beneath its soft gleam,
Along the green meadows, when life was in prime,
And worshipped its face in the stream :
When our hopes were as sweet, and our life-path as bright,
And as cloudless, to fancy's young eye,
As the star-spangled course of that phantom of light,
Along the blue depths of the sky!
Then come in this hour, love! when twilight has hung
Its shadowy mantle around;
And no sound, save the murmurs that breathe from thy tongue,
Orthy footfall—scarce heard on the ground !
Shall steal on the silence, to waken a fear,
When the sun that is gone, with its heat,
Has left on the cheek of all nature a tear,
Then, hearts that are broken should meet !


MoRN on the waters!—and, purple and bright,
Bursts on the billows the flushing of light!
O'er the glad waves, like a child of the sun,
See the tall vessel goes gallantly on :
Full to the breeze she unbosoms her sail,
And her pennant streams onward, like hope, in the gale !
The winds come around her, in murmur and song,
And the surges rejoice, as they bear her along |
Upward she points to the golden-edged clouds,
And the sailor sings gaily, aloft in the shrouds !
Onwards she glides, amid ripple and spray,
Over the waters—away, and away.
Bright as the visions of youth, ere they part,
Passing away, like a dream of the heart'
Who-as the beautiful pageant sweeps by,
Music around her, and sunshine on high—
Pauses to think, amid glitter and glow,
Oh! there be hearts that are breaking, below !

Night on the waves!—and the moon is on high,
Hung, like a gem, on the brow of the sky;
Treading its depths, in the power of her might,
And turning the clouds, as they pass her, to light!
Look to the waters, asleep on their breast,
Seems not the ship like an island of rest?
Bright and alone on the shadowy main,
Like a heart-cherished home on some desolate plain
Who—as she smiles in the silvery light,
Spreading her wings on the bosom of night,
Alone on the deep—as the moon in the sky,
A phantom of beauty' could deem, with a sigh,
That so lovely a thing is the mansion of sin,
And souls that are smitten lie bursting, within |
Who, as he watches her silently gliding,
Remembers that wave after wave is dividing
Bosoms that sorrow and guilt could not sever,
Hearts that are parted and broken for ever !
Or deems that he watches, afloat on the wave,
The death-bed of hope, or the young spirit's grave

"Tis thus with our life, while it passes along,
Like a vessel at sea, amid sunshine and song!
Gaily we glide, in the gaze of the world,
With streamers afloat, and with canvass unfurled;
All gladness and glory to wandering eyes,
Yet chartered by sorrow, and freighted with sighs
Fading and false is the aspect it wears,
As the smiles we put on—just to cover our tears;
And the withering thoughts which the world cannot know,
Like heart-broken exiles, lie burning below;
While the vessel drives on to that desolate shore
Where the dreams of our childhood are vanished and o'er.


I AM all alone!—and the visions that play
Round life's young days, have passed away;
And the songs are hushed that gladness sings,
And the hopes that I cherished have made them wings;
And the light of my heart is dimmed and gone,
And I sit in my sorrow, and all alone !

And the forms which I fondly loved are flown,
And friends have departed—one by one;
And memory sits whole lonely hours,
And weaves her wreath of hope's faded flowers,
And weeps o'er the chaplet, when no one is near
To gaze on her grief, or to chide her tear !

And the home of my childhood is distant far,
And I walk in a land where strangers are;
And the looks that I meet, and the sounds that I hear,
Are not light to my spirit, nor song to my ear;
And sunshine is round me, which I cannot see,
And eyes that beam kindness, but not for me !

And the song goes round, and the glowing smile,_
But I am desolate all the while !
And faces are bright, and bosoms glad,
And nothing, I think, but my heart is sad
And I seem like a blight in a region of bloom,
While I dwell in my own little circle of gloom '

I wander about, like a shadow of pain,
With a worm in my breast, and a spell on my brain ;
And I list, with a start, to the gushing of gladness,
Oh! how it grates on a bosom all sadness!
So I turn from a world where I never was known,
To sit in my sorrow, and all alone!


SHE sleeps—that still and placid sleep—
For which the weary pant in vain;

And, where the dews of evening weep,
I may not weep again;

Oh! never more upon her grave,
Shall I behold the wild-flower wavel

They laid her where the sun and moon
Look on her tomb, with loving eye,

And I have heard the breeze of June
Sweep o'er it—like a sigh

And the wild river's wailing song
Grow dirge-like, as it stole along'

« AnteriorContinuar »