Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of the soul, rests its claim to approbation on an attempt to mitate the untamable wildness and inaccessible solemnity from which those feelings sprang."

This was an eventful year, and less time was given to study than usual. In the list of his reading I find, in Greek, Theocritus, the Prometheus of Æschylus, several of Plutarch's Lives, and the works of Lucian ; in Latin, Lucretius. Pliny's Letters, the Annals and Germany of Tacitus; in French : the History of the French Revolution, by Lacretelle. He read for the first time, this year, Montaigne's Essays, and regarded them ever after as one of the most delightful and instructive books in the world. The list is scanty in English worksLocke's Essay, Political Justice, and Coleridge's Lay Sermon, form nearly the whole. It was his frequent habit to read aloud to me in the evening ; in this way we read, this year, the New Testament, Paradise Lost, Spenser's Fairy Queen, and Don Quixote.

POEMS WRITTEN IN 1817.

PRINCE ATHANASE.

A FRAGMENT.

PART 1. THERE was a youth, who, as with toil and travel Had grown quite weak and gray before his time Nor any could the restless griefs unravel

Which burned within him, withering up his prime And goading him, like fiends, from land to land Not his the load of any secret crime,

For nought of ill his heart could understand,
But pity and wild sorrow for the same ;
Not his the thirst of glory or command,

Baffled with blast of hope-consuming shame ;
Nor evil joys which fire the vulgar breast,
And quench in speedy smoke its feeble flame,

Had left within his soul the dark unrest:
Nor what religion fables of the grave
Frared he,-Philosophy's accepted guest,

For none than he a purer heart could have,
Or that loved good more for itself alone;
Of nought in heaven or earth was he the slave.

What sorrow, strange, and shadowy, and unknown, Sent him, a hopeless wanderer, through man

kind ?If with a human sadness he did groan,

He had a gentle yet aspiring mind;
Just, innocent, with varied learning fed ;
And such a glorious consolation find

In others' joy, when all their own is dead :
He loved and laboured for his kind in grief,
And yet, unlike all others, it is said

That from such toil he never found relief.
Although a child of fortune and of power,
Of an ancestral name the orphan chief,

His soul had wedded wisdom, and her dower
Is love and justice, clothed in which he sate
Apart from men, as in a lonely tower,

Pitying the tumult of their dark estate.
Yet even in youth did he not e'er abuse
The strength of wealth or thought, to consecrate

Those false opinions which the harsh rich use To blind the world they famish for their pride; Nor did he hold from any man his dues,

But, like a steward in honest dealings tried,
With those who toiled and wept, the poor and wiony
His riches and his cares he did divide.

Fearless he was, and scorning all disguise,
What he dared do or think, though men might

start,
He spoke with mild yet unaverted eyes ;

Liberal he was of soul, and frank of heart,
And to his many friends—all loved him well-
Whate'er he knew or felt he would impart,

If words he found those inmost thoughts to tell ;
If not, he smiled or wept ; and his weak foes
He neither spurned nor hated—though with fell

And mortal hate their thousand voices rose,
They past like aimless arrows from his ear.
Nor did his heart or mind its portal close

To those, or them, or any, whom life's sphere
May comprehend within its wide array.
What sadness made that vernal spirit sear?

He knew not. Though his life day after day,
Was failing, like an unreplenished stream,
Though in his eyes a cloud and burthen lay,

Through which his soul, like Vesper's serene

beam

Piercing the chasms of ever rising clouds, Shone, softly burning ; though his lips did seem

Like reeds which quiver in ini petuous floods ; And through his sleep, and o'er each waking hour, Thoughts after thoughts, unresting multitudes,

Were driven within him by some secret power, Which bade them blaze, and live, and roll afar, Like lights and sounds, from haunted tower to

tower,

Oer castled mountains borne, when tempest's war
Is levied by the night-contending winds,
And the pale dalesmen watch with eager ear;

'Though such were in his spirit, as the fiends Which wake and feed on everliving woe,What was this grief, which ne'er in other minds

A mirror found,—he knew not-none could know ;
But on whoe'er might question him he turned
The light of his frank eyes, as if to show

He knew not of the grief within that burned,
But asked forbearance with a mournful look ;
Or spoke in words from which none ever learned

The cause of his disquietude; or shook
With spasms of silent passion; or turned pale:
So that his friends soon rarely undertook

« AnteriorContinuar »