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PO E TRY.
BY E.. BURKE FISHER.
It has been asserted, that the love of Poetry is one of the most absorbing and general principles of the human soul, and in investigating its assimilation with character, its effects upon the history and manners of nations, and more especially its prevailing influences in the ruder ages, we see that the characteristics of a people may be more accurately deduced from their practical literature, than their constitutional laws. It is the vehicle of those emotions, which spring directly from the heart, untrameled by the cold dictates of policy and scorning the adventitious barriers of prudence, infuses into contiguous objects a portion of its own fire, and while elevating the standard of language also serves to convey a lasting spiritual impression. Whether considered as the agent of genius in giving birth to its glowing conceptions, or drilled in the imitative, artificial school of the last two centuries, we find it exercising unlimited sway over the mind, tempering the earlier ages with those beneficial influences which gradually dispelled the mists of barbarism from the ancient world, and causing civilisation to spring like a well sinewed giant into universal dominion, strong in its most essential elements, the thirst for chivalrous deeds, and the consequent desire for their portraiture in song.
“ I would rather be the author of the national songs of a people, than of their laws"--is the truism of a writer
of our own times, while commenting upon the enthusiasm with which the French people chanted the celebrated Marsellois hymn, which awoke in the bosom of France, a fire of erring patriotism, so phrenzied, and powerful, that crowns were trampled under foot and sceptres broken, told that a new spirit now animated the people who, for centuries, had borne with their slavery as though it was a household god, a familiar spirit, handed down from their sires.--The lament of the Jewish captives, the song of the Barmecides the war chant of the Cid Rodrigo-the Rule Brittania of the British people, and our own thrilling anthem of Hail Columbia are cases in point-the former affecting to tears the wandering children of Judah and the degenerate sons of the gallant Spaniard—the latter awaking to ecstasy the love of country, and rendering us the playthings of ardent, subjective feelings, which are the very essence of lyric poetry.
Nor should the Ranz des Vaches of the Switzer be forgotten in this enumeration, the feelings wrought out by hearing it, afford a striking illustration of the power of song. The mercenary bands of Swiss, who are to be met with, fighting under any, and every banner, are, it may be fairly presumed, less gifted with excitable feelings of national enthusiasm, than the inhabitants of Northern Europe, yet even their sluggish natures have been at times aroused, as the uncouth strains of the Alpine horn has told of home and its associations, and the soldier of fortune has flagged in the midst of the fight his fiery nature quelled as though a spirit had withered its daring, while his mind was wandering far away to his snow crested mountains, and the cot of his childhood. How beautifully has Mrs. Hemans expressed the idea in her song of the Exile of Scio.
“ I miss that voice of waves, the first
All nations, no matter how small their numbers, or insignificant their political positions, have musical associations, and by rude, and unlettered verse keep alive the love of country. The roving Ishmaelite, who treads the soil, consecrated as the birthplace of the Muse, is rich in poetical imagery, the barbarian of the North, the savage child of the wilderness, and even the degraded islander of the South Seas, have their legendary recollections, embodied in song, uncouth, yet true to nature, giving to each tribe or nation, a character for virtue and greatness, in a proportionable ratio with the ability of the poet.
THE BLUE BIRD.
BY ALEXANDER WILSON.
WHEN winter's cold tempests aud snows are no more, Green meadows and brown furrow'd fields re-appearing,
The fishermen hauling their shad to the shore, And cloud-cleaving geese to the Lakes are a-steering;
When first the lone butterfly ftits on the wing; When red glow the maples, so fresh and so pleasing,
0, then comes the Blue-bird, the HERALD OF SPRING ! And hails with his warblings the charms of the season.
Then loud piping frogs make the marshes to ring , Then warm glows the sunshine, and fine is the weather ;
The blue woodland flowers just beginning to spring, And spicewood and sassafras budding together :
0, then to your gardens, ye housewives, repair; Your walks border up; sow and plant at your leisure;
The Blue-bird will chant from his box such an air That all your hard toils will seem truly a pleasure.
He flits through the orchard, he visits each tree, The red flowering peach and the apple's sweet blossoms;
He snaps up destroyers wherever they be, And seizes the caitiffs that lurk in their bosoms;
He drags the vile grub from the corn he devours; The worms from their webs where they riot and welter; His song
and his services freely are ours, And all that he asks is, in summer a shelter,
The ploughman is pleased when he gleans in his train, Now searching the furrows--now mounting to cheer him;
The gardener delights in his sweet simple strain, And leans on his spade to survey and to hear him;
The slow ling'ring schoolboys forget they'll be chid, While gazing intent as he warbles before 'em
In mantle of sky-blue, and bosom so red, That each little loiterer seems to adore him.
When all the gay scenes of the summer are o'er And autumn slow enters so silent and sallow;
And millions of warblers, that charmed us before, Have fled in the train of the sun-seeking swallow;
The Blue-bird, forsaken, yet true to his home, Still lingers, and looks for a milder to-morrow,
Till forced by the horrors of winter to roam, He sings his adieu in a lone note of sorrow.
While spring's lovely season, serene, dewy, warm, The green face of earth, and the pure blue of heav'n,
Or love's native music have influence to charm, Or sympathy's glow to our feelings are giv'n,
Still dear to each bosom the Blue-bird shall be; His voice, like the thrillings of hope is a treasure;
For, through bleakest storms if a calm he but see, He comes to remind us of sunshine and pleasure !