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Of servid colloquy. Sickness, "t is true,
Whole years of weary days, besieged him close,
Even to the gates and inlets of his life'
But it is true, no less, that strenuous, firm,
And with a natural gladness, he maintain'd
The citadel unconquer'd, and in joy
Was strong to follow the delightful Muse.
For not a hidden Path, that to the Shades
Of the beloved Parnassian forest leads,
Lurk'd undiscover'd by him; not a rill
There issues from the fount of Hippocrene,
But he had traced it upward to its source,
Through open glade, dark glen, and secret dell.
Knew the gay wild-flowers on its banks, and cull'd
Its med'cinable herbs. Yea, oft alone,
Piercing the long-neglected holy cave,
The haunt obscure of old Philosophy,
He bade with listed torch its starry walls
Sparkle as erst they sparkled to the flame
Of odorous lamps tended by Saint and Sage.
O framed for calmer times and nobler hearts!
O studious Poet, eloquent for truth !
Philosopher! contemning wealth and death,
Yet docile, childlike, full of life and love :
Here, rather than on monumental stone, .
This record of thy worth thy Friend inscribes,
Thoughtful, with quiet tears upon his cheek.
- -THIS LiMETREE BowFR MY PRISON.
In the June of 1797, some long-expected Friends paid a visit to the Author's Cottage; and on the morning of their arrival, he met with an accident, which disabled him from walking during the whole time of their stay. One Evening, when they had left him for a few hours, he composed the following lines in the Garden Bower.
WELL, they are gone, and here must I remain,
This Lime-tree bower my prison ' I have lost.
Beauties and feelings, such as would have been
Most sweet to my remembrance, even when age
Had dimm'd mine eyes to blindness! They, mean-
Friends, whom I never more may meet again,
On springy heath, along the hill-top edge,
Wander in gladness, and wind down, perchance,
To that still roaring dell, of which I told :
The roaring dell, o'erwooded, narrow, deep,
And only speckled by the mid-day sun;
Where its slim trunk the Ash from rock to rock
Flings arching like a bridge;—that branchless Ash,
Unsunn'd and damp, whose few poor yellow leaves
Ne'er tremble in the gale, yet tremble still,
Fann'd by the waterfall! and there my friends
Behold the dark-green file of long lank weeds,”
That all at once (a most fantastic sight!) -
Still nod and drip beneath the dripping edge
Of the blue clay-stone. -
Now, my Friends emerge Beneath the wide wide Heaven—and view again The many-steepled tract magnificent Of hilly fields and meadows, and the sea, With some fair bark, perhaps, whose sails light up
"The Asplenium Scolopendrium, called in some countries the Adder's Tongue, in others the Hart's Tongue; but Withoring rives the Adder's Tongue as the trivial name of the Ophioglossum only.
The slip of smooth clear blue betwixt two isles
Of purple shadow ! Yes, they wander on
In gladness all; but thou, methinks, most glad,
My gentle-hearted Charles! for thou hast pined
And hunger'd after Nature, many a year,
In the great city pent, winning thy way
With sad yet patient soul, through evil and pain
And strange calamity! Ah! slowly sink
Behind the western ridge, thou glorious Sun ?
Shine in the slant beams of the sinking orb,
Ye purple heath-flowers! richlier burn, ye clouds!
Live in the yellow light, ye distant groves'
And kindle, thou blue Ocean' So my Friend,
Struck with deep joy, may stand, as I have stood,
Silent with swimming sense; yea, gazing round
On the wide landscape, gaze till all doth seem
Less gross than bodily; and of such hues
As veil the Almighty Spirit, when yet he makes
Some broad and sunny leaf, and loved to see
The shadow of the leaf and stem above
Dappling its sunshine ! And that Walnut-tree
Was richly tinged, and a deep radiance lay
Full on the ancient Ivy, which usurps
Those fronting elms, and now, with blackest mass,
Makes their dark branches gleam a lighter hue
Through the late twilight: and though now the Bat
Wheels silent by, and not a Swallow twitters,
Yet still the solitary Humble-Bee
Sings in the bean-flower! Hencesorth I shall know
That Nature ne'er deserts the wise and pure :
No plot so narrow, be but Nature there,
No waste so vacant, but may well employ
Each faculty of sense, and keep the heart
Awake to Love and Beauty! and sometimes
"I' is well to be berest of promised good,
That we may lift the soul, and contemplate
With lively joy the joys we cannot share.
My gentle-hearted Charles' when the last Rook
Beat its straight path along the dusky air
Homewards, I blest it! deeming its black wing
(Now a dim speck, now vanishing in light)
Had cross'd the mighty Orb's dilated glory,
While thou stood'st gazing; or when all was still,
Flew creakingt o'er thy head, and had a charm
For thee, my gentle-hearted Charles, to whom
No sound is dissonant which tells of Life.
WHO HAD DECLARED HIS INTENTion of writing No MoRe poetry.
DEAR Charles! whilst yet thou wert a babe, I ween That Genius plunged thee in that wizard fount
f Some months after I had written this line, it gave me pleasure to observe that Bartram had observed the same circumstance of the Savanna Crane. “When these Birds move their wings in flight, their strokes are slow, moderate and
Hight Castalie; and (sureties of thy faith)
That Pity and Simplicity stood by,
And promised for thee, that thou shouldst renounce
The world's low cares and lying vanities,
Sedfast and rooted in the heavenly Muse,
And wash'd and sanctified to Poesy.
Yes—thou wert plunged, but with forgetful hand
Held, as by Thetis erst her warrior Son :
And with those recreant unbaptized heels
Thou'rt flying from thy bounden ministeries—
So sore it seems and burthensome a task
To weave unwithering skowers! But take thou heed:
For thou art vulnerable, wild-eyed Boy,
And I have arrows" mystically dipp'd,
Such as may stop thy speed. Is thy Burns dead..!
And shall he die unwept, and sink to Earth
“Without the meed of one melodious tear?"
Thy Burns, and Nature's own beloved Bard,
Who to the “Illustrioust of his native land
* So properly did look for patronage.” -
Ghost of Maecenas' hide thy blushing face!
They snatch'd him from the Sickle and the Plow—
To gauge Ale-Firkins.
Oh! for shame return On a bleak rock, midway the Aonian Mount, There stands a lone and melancholy tree, Whose aged branches in the midnight blast Make solemn music: pluck its darkest bough, Ere yet the unwholesome night-dew be exhaled, And weeping wreath it round thy Poet's tomb. Then in the outskirts, where pollutions grow, Pick the rank henbane and the dusky flowers Of night-shade, or its red and tempting fruit. These with stopp'd nostril and glove-guarded hand Knut in nice intertexture, so to twine The illustrious brow of Scotch Nobility.
composed ox the Night AFTER his recitation of a poem ox the GROwth OF AN INDIVIDUAL *tixia.
FRIEND of the Wise' and Teacher of the Good |
Into my heart have I received that lay
More than historic, that prophetic lay,
Wherein (high theme by thee first sung aright)
Of the foundations and the building up
Of a Human Spirit thou hast dared to tell
What may be told, to the understanding mind
Revealable; and what within the mind,
By vital breathings secret as the soul
Of vernal growth, oft quickens in the heart
Thoughts all too deep for words —
Theme hard as high Of smiles spontaneous, and mysterious fears (The first-born they of Reason and twin-birth),
terular: and even when at a considerable distance or high *bove us, we plainly hear the quill-leathers; their shafts and *** upon one another creak as the joints or working of a ***i in a tempestuous sea.” "Wide Pind. Olymp. iii. l. 156. ! Verbaum from Burns's dedication of his Poems to the No
Of tides obedient to external force,
And currents self-determined, as might seem,
Or by some inner Power; of moments awful,
Now in thy inner life, and now abroad,
When Power stream'd from thee, and thy soul
The light reflected, as a light bestow'd–
Of Fancies fair, and milder hours of youth,
Hyblean murmurs of poetic thought
Industrious in its joy, in Wales and Glens
Native or outland, Lakes and famous Hills?
Or on the lonely High-road, when the Stars
Were rising; or by secret Mountain-streams,
The Guides and the Companions of thy way!
Of more than Fancy, of the Social Sense Distending wide, and Man beloved as Man, Where France in all her towns lay vibrating Like some becalmed bark beneath the burst Of Heaven's immediate thunder, when no cloud Is visible, or shadow on the Main. For thou wert there, thine own brows garlanded, Amid the tremor of a realm aglow, Amid a mighty nation jubilant, When from the general heart of human-kind Hope sprang forth like a full-born Deity! —Of that dear Hope afflicted and struck down, So summon'd homeward, thenceforth calm and sure, From the dread watch-tower of man's absolute Self, With light unwaning on her eyes, to look Far on—herself a glory to behold, The Angel of the vision Then (last strain) Of Duty, chosen laws controlling choice, Action and Joy!—An orphic song indeed, A song divine of high and passionate thoughts, To their own music chanted |
O great Bard! Ere yet that last strain dying awed the air, With stedfast eye I. view'd thee in the choir Of ever-enduring men. The truly Great Have all one age, and from one visible space Shed influence! They, both in power and act, Are permanent, and Time is not with them, Save as it worketh for them, they in it. Nor less a sacred roll, than those of old, And to be placed, as they, with gradual fame Among the archives of mankind, thy work Makes audible a linked lay of Truth, Of Truth profound a sweet continuous lay, Not learnt, but native, her own natural notes : Ah! as I listen'd with a heart forlorn, The pulses of my being beat anew : And even as life returns upon the drown'd, Life's joy rekindling roused a throng of painsKeen Pangs of Love, awakening as a babe Turbulent, with an outcry in the heart; And Fears self-will'd, that shunn'd the eye of Hope; And Hope that scarce would know itself from Fear, Sense of past Youth, and Manhood come in vain, And Genius given, and knowledge won in vain; And all which I had cull'd in wood-walks wild, And all which patient toil had rear'd, and all, Commune with thee had open'd out—but flowers Strew'd on my corse, and borne upon my bier, In the same coffin, for the self-same grave!
That way no more' and ill beseems it me,
** and Gentry of the Caledonian Hunt.
Who came a welcomer in herald's guise,
Singing of Glory, and Futurity,
To wander back on such unhealthful road,
Plucking the poisons of self-harm' And ill
Such intertwine beseems triumphāl wreaths
Strew'd before thy advancing!
Nor do thou, Sage Bard' impair the memory of that hour Of my communion with thy nobler mind By Pity or Gries, already felt too long! Nor let my words import more blame than needs. The tumult rose and ceased : for Peace is nigh Where Wisdom's voice has sound a listening heart. Amid the howl of more than wintry storms, The Halcyon hears the voice of vernal hours Already on the wing.
Eve following eve, Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense of Home Is sweetest' moments for their own sake hail'd And more desired, more precious for thy song, In silence listening, like a devout child, My soul lay passive, by the various strain Driven as in surges how beneath the stars, With momentary Stars of my own birth, Fair constellated Foam,” still darting off Into the darkness; now a tranquil sea, Outspread and bright, yet swelling to the Moon.
“Most musical, most melancholy"f bird!
A melancholy bird Oh! idle thought !
In nature there is nothing melancholy.
But some night-wandering man, whose heart was
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love
(And so, poor Wretch! filled all things with himself,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrow), he and such as he,
First named these notes a melancholy strain.
And many a poet echoes the conceit;
Poet who hath been building up the rhyme
When he had better far have stretch'd his limbs
Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell,
By Sun or Moon-light, to the influxes
Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements -
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
And of his frame forgetful so his same
Should share in Nature's immortality,
A venerable thing! and so his song
Should make all Nature lovelier, and itself
Beloved like Nature But 't will not be so;
And youths and maidens most poetical,
Who lose the deepening twilights of the spring
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still,
Full of meek sympathy, must heave their sighs
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.
My friend, and thou, our Sister! we have learnt A different lore: we may not thus profane Nature's sweet voices, always full of love And joyance! "Tis the merry Nightingale That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates With fast thick warble his delicious notes, As he were fearful that an April night Would be too short for him to utter forth His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul Of all its music!
- And I know a grove
Of large extent, hard by a castle huge,
Which the great lord inhabits not ; and so
This grove is wild with tangling underwood,
And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths.
But never elsewhere in one place I knew
So many Nightingales; and far and near,
In wood and thicket, over the wide grove,
They answer and provoke each other's song,
With skirmish and capricious passagings,
And murmurs musical and swift jug jug,
And one low piping sound more sweet than all–
Stirring the air with such a harmony,
That should you close your eyes, you might almost
Forget it was not day! On moonlight bushes,
Whose dewy leaflets are but half disclosed,
You may perchance behold them on the twigs,
Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright
and full, Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the shade Lights up her love-torch.
f This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far superior to that of mere description. It is spoken in the character of the melancholy man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The author makes this remark, to rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with levity to a line in Milton: a charge than which none could be more painful to him, coccot pothaps that of having ridiculed his bible.
A most gentle Maid, Who dwelleth in her hospitable home Hard by the castle, and at latest eve (Even like a lady vow'd and dedicate To something more than Nature in the grove) Glides through the pathways; she knows all their
That gentle Maid! and of a moment's space,
What time the Moon was lost behind a cloud,
Hath heard a pa silence; till the Moon
Emerging, hath awaken'd earth and sky
With one sensation, and these wakeful Birds
Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
As if some sudden gale had swept at once
A hundred airy harps! And she hath watch'd
Many a Nightingale perch'd giddily
On blossomy twig still swinging from the breeze,
And to that motion tune his wanton song
Like tipsy joy that reels with tossing head.
Farewell, O Warbler till to-morrow eve, And you, my friends' farewell, a short farewell! We have been loitering long and pleasantly, And now for our dear homes.—That strain again Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe, Who, capable of no articulate sound, Mars all things with his imitative lisp, How he would place his hand beside his car, His little hand, the small forefinger up, And bid us listen ' And I deem it wise To make him Nature's Play-mate. He knows well The evening-star; and once, when he awoke In most distressful mood (some inward pain Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream), I hurried with him to our orchard-plot, And he beheld the Moon, and, hush'd at once, Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently, While his fair eyes, that swam with undropp'd tears Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam Well!— It is a father's tale : But if that IIeaven Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up Familiar with these songs, that with the night He may associate joy! Once more, farewell, Sweet Nightingale! Once more, my friends! farewell.
The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelp'd by any wind. The owlet's cry
Came loud—and hark, again! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
"T is calm indeed so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings on of life,
Inaudible as dreams' the thin blue flame
Lies on my low burnt fire, and quivers not;
Only that film, which flutter'd on the grate,
Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.
Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature
Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
Making it a companionable form,
Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit
By its own moods interprets, everywhere
Echo or mirror seeking of itself,
And makes a toy of Thought.
But O ! how ost, How oft, at school, with most believing mind Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars, To watch that fluttering stranger ? and as ost With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower, Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day, So sweetly, that they stirr'd and haunted me With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear Most like articulate sounds of things to come! So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt, Lull'd me to sleep, and sleep prolong'd my dreams' And so I brooded all the following morn, Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye Fix'd with mock study on my swimming book: Save if the door half-open'd, and I snatch'd A hasty glance, and still my heart leap'd up, For still I hoped to see the stranger's face, Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved, My play-mate when we both were clothed alike!
Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side, Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, Fill up the interspersed vacancies And momentary pauses of the thought ! My babo so beautiful! it thrills my heart With tender gladness, thus to look at thee, And think that thou shalt learn far other lore, And in far other scenes For I was rear'd In the grent city, pent 'mid cloisters dim, And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars. But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds, Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse,
Tedious to thee, and from my anxious thought
Os dissonant mood. In fancy (well I know)
From business wand'ring far and local cares,
Thou creepest round a dear-loved Sister's bed
With noiseless step, and watchest the faint look,
Soothing each pang with fond solicitude,
And tenderest tones medicinal of love.
I too a Sister had, an only Sister
She loved me dearly, and I doted on her!
To her I pour'd forth all my puny sorrows
(As a sick patient in his nurse's arms),
And of the heart those hidden maladies
That shrink ashamed from even Friendship's eye.
Oh! I have woke at midnight, and have wept
Because she was Not —Cheerily, dear Charles!
Thou thy best friend shalt cherish many a year:
Such warm presages feel I of high Hope.
For not uninterested the dear maid
I've view’d—her soul affectionate yet wise,
Her polish'd wit as mild as lambent glories,
That play around a sainted infant's head.
He knows (the Spirit that in secret sees,
Of whose omniscient and all-spreading Love
Aught to implore" were impotence of mind)
That my mute thoughts are sad before his throne,
Prepared, when he his healing ray vouchsafes,
To pour forth thanksgiving with lified heart,
And praise Him Gracious with a Brother's joy!
THE HOUR WHEN WE SHALL MEET AGAIN. COMPOSED DURING ILLNESS AND IN ABSENCE.
DIM hour ! that sleep'st on pillowing clouds afar,
O rise and yoke the turtles to thy car !
Bend o'er the traces, blame each lingering dove,
And give me to the bosom of my love!
My gentle love, caressing and carest,
With heaving heart shall cradle me to rest;
Shed the warm tear-drop from her smiling eyes,
Lull with fond woe, and med'cine me with sighs:
While finely-flushing float her kisses meek,
Like melted rubies, o'er my pallid cheek.
Chill'd by the night, the drooping rose of May
Mourns the long absence of the lovely day;
Young Day, returning at her promised hour,
Weeps o'er the sorrows of her favorite flower;
Weeps the soft dew, the balmy gale she sighs,
And darts a trembling lustre from her eyes.
New life and joy th' expanding slow'ret feels:
His pitying Mistress mourns, and mourning heals'
LINEs To JOSEPII .COTTLE.
My honor'd friend' whose verse concise, yet clear,
Tunes to smooth melody unconquer'd sense,
May your fame fadeless live, as “never-sere.”
The ivy wreathes yon oak, whose broad defence
* I utterly recant the sentiment contained in the lines Of whose omniscient and all-spreading love Aught to implore were impotence of mind, it being written in Scripture, “..Ask, and it shall be given you.” and my human reason being moreover convinced of the proPriety of offering petitions as well as thanksgivings to the Deity.
Embow'rs me from noon's sultry influence!
For, like that nameless riv'let stealing by,
Your modest verse, to musing Quiet dear,
Is rich with tints heaven-borrow'd : the charm'd eye
Shall gaze undazzled there, and love the soften'd sky.
Circling the base of the Poetic mount
A stream there is, which rolls in lazy flow
Its coal-black waters from Oblivion's fount :
The vapor-poison'd birds, that fly too low,
Fall with dead swoop, and to the bottom go.
Escaped that heavy stream on pinion fleet,
Beneath the Mountain's lofty-frowning brow,
Ere aught of perilous ascent you meet,
A mead of mildest charm delays th' unlab'ring feet.
Not there the cloud-climb'd rock, sublime and vast,
That like some giant-king, o'erglooms the hill;
Northeré the pine-grove to the midnight blast
Makes solemn music But th' unceasing rill
To the soft wren or lark's descending trill
Murmurs sweet under-song 'mid jasmin bowers.
In this same pleasant meadow, at your will,
I ween, you wander’d—there collecting slow'rs
Of sober tint, and herbs of med'cinable powers!
There for the monarch-murder'd Soldier's tomb
You wove th' unfinish'd wreath of saddest hues;”
And to that holier chapleti added bloom,
Besprinkling it with Jordan's cleansing dews.
But lo! your Hendersons awakes the Muse—
His spirit beckon'd from the mountain's height!
You left the plain and soar'd 'mid richer views'
So Nature mourn'd, when sank the first day's light,
With stars, unseen before, spangling her robe of
|Still soar, my friend, those richer views among,
Strong, rapid, servent flashing Fancy's beam
Virtue and Truth shall love your gentler song ;
But Poesy demands th’ impassion'd theme:
Waked by Heaven's silent dews at eve's mild gleam,
What balmy sweets Pomona breathes around !
But if the vext air rush a stormy stream,
Or Autumn's shrill gust moan in plaintive sound,
With fruits and flowers she loads the tempest-
IV. ODES AND MISCELLANEOUs POEMS.
The THREE GRAVES. A FRAGMENT of A sexton's TALE.
[The Author has published the following humble fragment, encouraged by the decisive recommendation of more than one of our most celebrated living Poets. The language was intended to be dramatic ; that is, suitca to the narrator; and the metre corresponds to the homeliness of the diction. It is therefore presented as the fragment, not of a Poem, but of a common Ballad-tale. Whether this is sufficient to justify the adoption of such a style, in any metrical composition not professedly ludicrous, the Author is himself in some doubt. At all events, it is not presented as Poetry, and it is in no way connected with the Author's judgment concerning Poetic diction. Its merits, if any, are exclusively Psychological. The story
* War, a Fragment. f John the Baptist, a Poem. t Monody on John Henderson.