Imágenes de páginas
PDF

THE DYING BOY TO THE SLOE BLOSSOM.

BEFORE thy leaves thou com'st once more,

White blossom of the sloe !
Thy leaves will come as heretofore ;
But this poor heart, its troubles o'er,

Will then lie low.

A month at least before thy time

Thou com’st, pale flower, to me; For well thou know'st the frosty rime Will blast me ere my vernal prime,

No more to be.

Why here in winter? No storm lours

O’er nature's silent shroud!
But blithe larks meet the sunny showers,
High o'er the doomed untimely flowers

In beauty bowed.

Sweet violets in the budding grove

Peep where the glad waves run ; The wren below, the thrush above, Of bright to-morrow's joy and love

Sing to the sun.

And where the rose-leaf, ever bold,

Hears bees chaunt hymns to God, The breeze-bowed palm, mossed o'er with gold, Smiles o'er the well in summer cold,

And daisied sod.

But thou, pale blossom, thou art come,

And flowers in winter blow,
To tell me that the worm makes room
For me, her brother, in the tomb,

And thinks me slow.

For as the rainbow of the dawn

Foretels an eve of tears,
A sunbeam on the saddened lawn
I smile, and weep to be withdrawn

Thy leaves will come! but songful spring

Will see no leaf of mine; Her bells will ring, her bride's-maids sing, When my young leaves are withering

Where no suns shine.

Oh, might I breathe morn's dewy breath,

When June's sweet Sabbaths chime !
But, thine before my time, oh, death!
I go where no flow'r blossometh,

Before my time.

Even as the blushes of the morn

Vanish, and long ere noon
The dew-drop dieth on the thorn,
So fair I bloomed; and was I born

To die as soon?

To love my mother, and to die

To perish in my bloom !
Is this my sad, brief history !-
A tear dropped from a mother's eye

Into the tomb.

He lived and loved—will sorrow say

By early sorrow tried ;
He smiled, he sighed, he past away :
His life was but an April day, -

He loved, and died !

My mother smiles, then turns away,

But turns away to weep :
They whisper round me—what they say
I need not hear, for in the clay

I soon must sleep.

O, love is sorrow! sad it is

To be both tried and true ;
I ever trembled in my bliss :
Now there are farewells in a kiss,

But woodbines flaunt when blue bells fade,
Where Don reflects the skies;
And many a youth in Shire-cliffs' shade
Will ramble where my boyhood played,
Though Alfred dies.

Then panting woods the breeze will feel,
And bowers, as heretofore,
Beneath their load of roses reel :
But I through woodbined lanes shall steal
No more, no more.

Well, lay me by my brother's side,
Where late we stood and wept;
For I was stricken when he died,—
I felt the arrow as he sighed
His last, and slept.

A POET's EPITAPH.

Stop, Mortal! Here thy brother lies,
The Poet of the poor,
His books were rivers, woods, and skies,
The meadow, and the moor;
His teachers were the torn heart's wail,
The tyrant, and the slave,
The street, the factory, the jail,
The palace—and the gravel
Sin met thy brother every where !
And is thy brother blamed
From passion, danger, doubt, and care,
He no exemption claim'd.
The meanest thing, earth's feeblest worm,
He fear'd to scorn or hate ;
But, honouring in a peasant's form
The equal of the great.
He bless'd the Steward, whose wealth makes
The poor man's little more ;
Yet loath'd the haughty wretch that takes

A hand to do, a head to plan,
A heart to feel and dare–

Tell man's worst foes, here lies the man
Who drew them as they are.

TO THE BRAMBLE FLOWER.

Thy fruit full well the school-boy knows,
Wild bramble of the brake |
So, put thou forth thy small white rose;
I love it for his sake.
Though woodbines flaunt, and roses glow
O'er all the fragrant bowers,
Thou need'st not be ashamed to show
Thy satin-threaded flowers;
For dull the eye, the heart is dull
That cannot feel how fair,
Amid all beauty beautiful,
Thy tender blossoms are
How delicate thy gauzy frill!
How rich thy branchy stem
How soft thy voice, when woods are still,
And thou sing'st hymns to them;
While silent showers are falling slow,
And 'mid the general hush,
A sweet air lifts the little bough,
Lone whispering through the bush |
The primrose to the grave is gone;
The hawthorn flower is dead;
The violet by the moss'd grey stone
Hath laid her weary head;
But thou, wild bramble! back dost bring,
In all their beauteous power,
The fresh green days of life's fair spring,
And boyhood's blossomy hour.
Scorn’d bramble of the brake | once more
Thou bid'st me be a boy,
To gad with thee the woodlands o'er,
In freedom and in joy.

CHARLES LAMB was born in the Temple, London, on the 10th of February, 1775. He received his education at Christ's Hospital, and was, for the greater portion of his life, a clerk in the office of the Accountant-General at the India House. His earliest and his latest associate was his school-mate, Coleridge :--the last, or nearly the last, lines he ever penned contained a brief but deeply earnest and pathetic tribute to the memory of his "fifty years old friend without a dissension;" and the grass had not time to grow over the grave of the one before it was opened to receive all that was mortal of the other. The life of Charles Lamb contains no startling incident;-it was calm, comparatively untroubled, even and unobtrusive; a story is told, indeed, of some mystery that hung as a dark cloud over his merry heart, bringing and keeping care and despondency under his roof-but it is one with which the world had no concern; his pecuniary circumstances were easy; and literature was to him the staff but not the crutch. To the fact that he was never compelled to write, we are indebted for th high degree of finish which distinguishes all he produced: but to this cause also must be attributed that he wrote so little. Partly from choice, and partly from the necessity of attending daily to his official duties, he was a constant resident in London ; and, consequently, neither in his poetry nor his prose do we find many proofs of that inspiration which is drawn from familiar intercourse with Nature. He loved the country far less than he loved the town; and found in the streets and alleys of the Metropolis themes as fertile as some of his contemporaries had sought and obtained among the hills and valleys of Westmoreland. He knew every spot the great men of former days had made “hallowed ground." Many a dingy building of brick was to him more sacred than “the temple not made with hands," as being the birth-place or intellectual laboratory of some mighty master of the past. His delicious" Essays," therefore, open to us sources of peculiar delight, and show that as much exquisite enjoyment may be derived from a contemplative stroll down Fleet Street, as from a pensive rainble “ mid flower-enamelled lands and blooming thickets." They are full of wisdom, pregnant with genuine wit, abound in true pathos, and have a rich vein of humour running through them all. The kindliness of his heart, and the playfulness of his

spread over every page. As a critic, he was sound yet gentle. If his maturer taste and extensive reading compelled him to try all modern writers by a standard terribly severe, he reproved with a mildly persuasive bearing;

“ of right and wrong he taught

Truths as refined as ever Athens heard." If his style reminds us forcibly of the "old inventive Poets," he never strikes us as an imitator of them. His mind was akin to theirs; and he lived his days and nights in their company: naturally and unconsciously, therefore, he thought as they thought, and adopted their manner.-His" Tragedy,” as he calls it, "John Woodvil," will almost bear comparison with the happiest efforts of our dramatists, in the high and palmy days of the drama. Few of them have done more within the same space ; or produced finer effects by simple touches.

The personal character of Lamb must have been amiable to a degree ;--the evidence of his writings, and the testimony of many friends, prove it to have been so. He died at his residence in Islington, on the 27th of December, 1834. His personal appearance was remarkable: his figure was diminutive and ungraceful; but his head was of the finest and most intellectual cast;" his face," writes one of his most esteemed friends, " was deeply marked and full of noble lines,-traces of sensibility, imagination, suffering, and much thought. His wit was in his eye, luminous, quick, and rest

hat played about his mouth was ever cordial and good-humoured." Leigh Hunt has happily characterized both his person and his mind;" as his frame so is his genius. It is as fit for thought as can be, and equally as unfit for action."

The Poetical productions of Charles Lamb are very limited; but they are sufficient both in quantity and quality to secure for him a prominent station among the Poets of Great Britain. He did not consider it beneath him to scribble " Album verses ;"

judgment in publishing them has been arraigned. If among them we find a few puerilities, and numerous affectations, it will not require a very close search to perceive many graceful and beautiful flowers lurking under leaves which are certainly uninviting. He loved to trifle, both in verse and prose; yet his tritling was that of a

« AnteriorContinuar »