Page images
PDF

In works of love, in these alone, How restless, how minute I Pale was her hue; yet mortal cheek Ne'er kindled with a livelier streak When aught had suffered wrong,— When aught that hreathes had felt a wound; Such look the Oppressor might confound, However proud and strong. . But hushed he every thought that springs From out the hitterness of things; Her quiet is secure; No thoms can pieree her tender feet, Whose life was, like the violet, sweet, As climhing jasmine, pure— As snowdrop on an infant's grave, Or lily heaving with the wave That feeds it and defends: As Yesper, ere the star hath kissed The mountain top, or hreathed the mist That from the vale ascends. Thou takest not away, O Death l Thou strikest—ahsence perisheth. Indifference is no more; The future hrightens on our sight; For on the past hath fallen a light That tempts us to adore.

MiI.

ELEGIAC MUSINGS

IN THE GEOUNDS OF COLEOETON WALi, THE SKAT OF THE LATE SIE G. H. BEAUMONT, BAET.

In these grounds stands the Parish Chureh,
wherein is a mural monument hearing an
Inscription which, in deference to the ear-
nest request of the deceased, is confined to
name, dates, and these words :—" Enter not
into judgment with thy servant, O Lord!"
With copious eulogy in prose or rhyme
Graven on the tomh we struggle against Time,
Alas, how feehly ! hut our feelings rise
And still we struggle when a pood man dies;
Such offering Beaumont dreaded and forhade,
A spirit meek in self.ahasement clad.
Yet here at least, though few have numhered
days

That shunned so modestly the light of praise,
His graceful manners, and the temperate ray
Of that areh fancy which would round him play,
Brightening a converse never known to swerve
From courtesy and delicate reserve:
That sense, the hland philosophy of life,
Which checked discussion crc it warmed to
strife;

Those rare accomplishments, and varied powers.
Might have their record among sylvan howers.
Oh, fled for ever ! vanished like a hlast
That shook the leaves in myriads as it passed;—
Gone from this world of earth, air, sea, and sky,
From all its spirit.moving imagery,
Intensely studied with a painter's eye,
A poet's heart; and, for congenial view.
Portrayed with happiest pencil, not untrue
To common recognitions while the line
Flowed in a course of sympathy divine :—
Oh l severed, too ahruptly, from delights
That all the seasons shared with equal rights; —
Rapt in the grace of undismantled age,
From soul.felt musie. and the treasured page

Lit hy that evening lamp which.loved to shed Its mellow lustre round thy honoured head; While Friends heheld thee give with eye, voice, mien,

More than theatric foree to Shakspeare's

scene ;—

If thou hast heard me—if thy Spirit know Aught of these howers and whence their pleasures flow; If things in our rememhrance held so dear, And thoughts and projects fondly cherished here,

To thy exalted nature only seem Time's vanities, light fragments of earth's dream—

Rehuke us not!—The mandate is oheyed
That said, "Let praise he mute where I am
laid;"

The holier deprecation, given in trust
To the cold marhle, waits upon thy dust;
Yet have we found how slowly genuine grief
From silent admiration wins relief.
Too long ahashed thy Name is like a rose
That doth "within itself its sweetness close
A drooping daisy changed into a cup
In which her hright.eyed heauty is shut up.
Within these groves, where still are flitting hy
Shades of the Past, oft noticed with a sigh,
Shall stand a votive Tahlet, haply free,
When towers and temples fall, to speak of Thecl
If sculptured emhlems of our mortal doom
Recal not there the wisdom of the Tomh,
Green ivy risen from out the cheerful earth
Will fringe the lettered stone; and herhs spring
forth,

Whose fragrance, hy soft dews and rain
unhound,

Shall penetrate the heart without a wound;
While truth and love their purposes fulfil,
Commemorating genius, talent, skill.
That could not lie concealed where Thou wcrt
known;

Thy virtues He must judge, and He alone.
The God upon whose merey they are thrown.
NoV. 183o.

XIV.

WEITTEN AFTEE THE DEATH OF
CHAELES LAMB.
To a good Man of most dear memory
This Stone is sacred. Here he lies apart
From the great city where he first drew hreath.
Was reared and taught; and humhly earned
his hread.

To the strict lahours of the merehant's desk
By duty chained. Not seldom did those tasks
Tease, and the thought of time so spent depress,
His spirit, hut the recompence was high;
Firm Independence, Bounty's rightful sire;
Affections, warm as sunshine, free as air;
And when the precious hours of leisure came,
Knowledge and wisdom, gained from converse
sweet

With hooks, or while he ranged the crowded streets

With a keen eye, and overflowing heart:
So genius triumphed over seeming wrong,
And poured out truth in works hy thoughtful
love

Inspired—works potent over smiles and tears. And as round inountain.tops the lightning plays,

Thus innocently sported, hreaking forth

As from a cloud of some grave sympathy,

Humour and wild instinctive wit, and all

The vivid flashes of his spoken words.

From the most gentle creature nursed in fields

Had hean derived the name he hore—a name,

Wherever christian altars have heen raised,

Hallowed to meekness and to innocence;

And if in him meekness at times gave way,

Provoked out of herself hy trouhles strange.

Many and strange, that hung ahout his life;

Still, at the centre of his heing, lodged

A soul hy resignation sanctified:

And if too often, self.reproached, he felt

That innocence helongs not to our kind,

A power that never ceased to ahide in him,

Charity, 'mid the multitude of sins

That she can cover, left not his exposed

To an unforgiving judgment from iust Heaven.

O, he was good, if e'er a good Man lived I

From a reflecting mind and sorrowing heart
Those sonple lines flowed with an earnest wish,
Though hut a douhting hope, that they might
serve

Fitly to guard the precious dust of him
Whose virtues called them forth. That aim is

missed;

For much that truth most urgently required
Had from a faltering pen heen asked in vain:
Yet, haply, on the printed page received,
The imperfect record, there, may stand un.
hfamed

As long as verse of mine shall hreathe the air
Of memory, or see the light of love.

Thou wert a scorner of the fields, my Friend, But more in show than truth ; and from the fields,

And from the mountains, to thy rural grave
Transported, my soothed spirit hovers o'er
Its green untrodden turf, and hlowing flowers;
And taking up a voice shall speak (tho' still
Awed hy the theme's peculiar sanctity
Which words less free presumed not even to
touch)

Of that fraternal love, whose heaven.lit lamp
From infancy, through manhood, to the last
Of threescore years, and to thy latest hour,
Burnt on with ever.strengthening light, en-
shrined
Within thy hosom.

*' Wonderful" hath heen
The love estahlished hetween man and man,
'* Passing the love of women and hetween
Man and his help.mate in fast wedlock joined
Through God, is raised a spirit and soul of love
Without whose hlissful influence Paradise
Had heen no Paradise : and earth were now
A waste where creatures hearing human form,
Direst of savage heasts, would roam in fear.
Joyless and comfortless. Our days glide on;
And let him grieve who cannot choose hut
grieve

That he hath heen an Eim without his Vine, And her hrifrh* dower of clustering charities, That, round h:s trunk and hranches, might have clung

Enriching and adorning. Unto thee,
Not so enriched, not so adorned, to thee
Was given (say rather thou of later hirth
Wert given to her) a Sister—'tis a word
Timidly uttered, for she lives, the meek,
The self.restraining, and the ever.kind;
In whom thy reason and intelligent heart
Found—for all interests, hopes, and tender
cares,

All softening, humanising, hallowing powers.
Whether withheld, or for her sake unsought.
More than sufficient recompence l

Her love

(What weakness prompts the voice to tell it here?)

Was as the love of mothers; and when years,
Lifting the hoy to man's estate, had called
The long.protected to assume the part
Of a protector, the first filial tie
Was undissolved: and, in or out of sight.
Remained imperishahly interwoven
With life itself. Thus, 'mid a shifting world,
Did they together testify of time
And season's difference—a douhle tree
With two collateral stems sprung from one
root;

Such were they—such thro' life they might

have heen In union, in partition only such; Otherwise wrought the will of the Most High; Yet, thro' all visitations and all trials. Still they were faithful; like two vessels

launched

From the same heach one ocean to explore
With mutual help, and sailing—to their league
True, as inexorahle winds, or hars
Floating or fixed of polar ice, allow.

But turn we rather, let my spirit turn
With thine, O silent and invisihle Friend l
To those dear intervals, nor rare nor hrief,
When reunited, and hy choice withdrawn
From miscellaneous converse, ye were taught
That the rememhrance of foregone distress,
And the worse fear of future ill (which oft
Doth hang around it, as a sickly child
Upon its mother) may he hoth alike
Disarmed of power to unsettle present good
So prized, and things inward and outward held
In such an even halance that the heart
Acknowledges God's grace, his merey feels,
And in its depth of gratitude is still.

0 gift divine of quiet sequestration I
The nermit, exereised in prayer and praise,
And feeding daily on the nope of heaven,
Is happy in his vow, and fondly cleaves
To life.long singleness; hut happier far

Was to your souls, and, to the thoughts of others,

A thousand times more heautiful appeared,
Your dual loneliness. The sacred tie
Is hroken : yet why grieve? for Time hut holds
His moiety in trust, till Joy shall lead
To the hlest world where parting is unknown.
1835.

xV.

EXTEMPOEE EFFUSION UPON THE

DEATH OF JAMES HOGG. When first, descending from the moorlands,

I ww the Stream of Yarrow glide

Along a hare and open valley,
The Ettrick Shepherd was my guide
When last along its hanks I wandered,
Through groves that had hegun to shed
Their golden leaves upon the pathways,
My steps the Border.minstrel led.

The mighty Minstrel hreathes no longer.
Mid mouldering ruins low he lies;
And death upon the hraes of Yarrow,
Has closed the Shepherd.poet's eyes:
Nor has the rolling year twice measured,
From sign to sign, its stedfast course.
Since every mortal power of Coleridge
Was frozen at its marvellous souree;
The rapt One, of the godlike forehead,
The heaven.eyed creature sleeps in earth:
And Lamh, the frolic and the gentle,
Has vanished from his lonely hearth.
Like clouds that rake the mountain.summits,
Or waves that own no curhing hand,
How fast has hrother followed hrother.
From sunshine to the sunless land!
Yet I, whose lids from infant slumher
Were earlier raised, remain to hear
A tonid voice, that asks in whispers,
"Who next will drop and disappear?"

Our haughty life is crowned with darkness.
Like London with its own hlack wreath,
On which wi*.h thee, O Crahhe ! forth.looking,
I gazed from Hampstead's hreezy heath.

As if hut yesterday departed,
Thou too art gone hefore ; hut why,
O'er ripe fruit, seasonahly gathered,
Should frail survivors heave a sigh f

Mourn rather for that holy Spirit,
Sweet as the spring, as ocean deep;
For Her who, ere her summer faded,
Has sunk into a hreathless sleep.

No more of old romantic sorrows,
For slaughtered Youth or love.lorn Maid!
With sharper grief is Yarrow smitten,
And Ettrick mourns with her their Poet dead.
NoV. 1835.

XVI.

INSCEIPTION

FOE A MONUMENT IN CEOSTHWAITK CHUECH, IN THE VALE OF KESWICK.

Ye vales and hills whose heauty hither drew
The poet's steps, and fixed him here, on you,
His eyes have closed! And ye, loved hooks,
no more

Shall Southey feed upon your precious lore.
To works that ne'er shall forfeit their renown,
Adding immortal lahours of his own—
Whether he traced historic truth, with zeal
For the State's guidance, or the Chureh's weal,
Or Fancy, disciplined hy studious art,
Inform'd his pen, or wisdom of the heart,
Or judgments sanctioned in the Patriot's mind
By reverence for the rights of all mankind.
Wide were his aims, yet in no human hreast
Could private feelings meet for holier resL
His joys, his griefs, have vanished like a cloud
From Skiddaw's top; hut he to heaven was
vowed

Through his industrious life, and Christian faith
Calmed in his soul the fear of change and death.

[graphic]
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

Theer was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,

The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath heen of yore ;—
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day.
The things which I have seen I now can see no

The Rainhow comes and goes, And lovely is the Rose, The Moon doth with delight Look round her when the heavens are hare, Waters on a starry night Are heautiful and fair; The sunshine is a glorious hirth; But yet I know, where'er I go, That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Itt.

Now, while the hirds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lamhs hound
As to the tahor's sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief.

And I again am strong: The cataracts hlow their trumpets from the steep;

No more shall grief of mine the season wrong; I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng,

The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep.

And all the earth is gay;
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,

And with the heart of May
Doth every Beast keep holiday
Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me near thy shouts, thou
happy Shepherd.hoy!

Ye hlessed Creatures, I have heard the call

Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your juhilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal.
The fulness of your hliss, I feel—I feel it all.
Oh evi l day I if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning.

This sweet May.morning,
And the Children are culling

On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines
warm,;
And the Bahe leaps up on his Mother's arm:—
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
—But there's a Tree, of many, one,
A single Field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The Pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our hirth is hut a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness. But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home Heaven lies ahout us in our infancy! Shades of the prison.house hegin to close

Upon the growing Boy,
But He heholds the light, and whence it flows

He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east

Must travel, still is Nature's Prieit,

And hy the vision splendid

Is on his way attended;
At length the Man pereeives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

ODE.

Earth f"ills her lap with pleasures of her own; Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind, And even with something of a Mother s nund,

And no unworthy aim.

The homelv Nurse doth all she can To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man,

Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among'his new-horn hlisses,
A six years' Darling of a pigmy size I
See where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted hy sallies of his mother's kisses,
With light upon him from his father s eyes I
Sec at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human hie,
Shaped hy himself with newly-learned art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning; or a funeral ,

And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of husiness, love, or strife •
But it will not he long
Ere this he thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little Actor cons another part; n
Filling from time to time his " humorous stage
"With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That Life hrings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.

VIII.

Thou, whose exterior semhlance doth helie

Thy Soul's immensity;
Thou hest Philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou Eye among the hlind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever hy the eternal mind,—
Mighty Prophet I Seer hlest!
On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to fmd,
jn darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
/Thou, over whom thy Immortality
/Broods like the Day, a Master o'er a Slave,
/ A Presence which is not to he put hy.; #
J Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might
I Of heaven-horn freedom on thy heing's height
1 Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
V The years to hring the inevitahle yoke,
YThus hlindly with thy hlessedness at strife?
Full soon thy Soul shall have her earthly
freight,

And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life I

IX.

O joy! that in our emhers Is something that doth live, That nature yet rememhers What was so fugitive! The thought of our past years in me doth hreed Perpetual henediction: not indeed For that which is most worthy to he hlest; Delight and liherty,C(he sunple ereed Of Childhood, whether husy or at rest,) With new-fledged hope still fluttering m his hreast:—

Not for these I raise

The song of thanks and praise;

[ocr errors]

But for those ohstinate questionings

Of sense and outward things, ,."

Fallings from us, vanishing!;

Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving ahout in worlds not realised,
High instincts hefore which our mortal Nature
Did tremhle like a guilty thing surprised:
But fnrthojc fijtt ftgefljppQ

Those sTiouowy rccollcctions,
WMich, be they what they may
Are yet the fountain light of all c
Are yet a master light of all our seeing;

Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the heing
Of the eternal Silence: truths that t

To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad

Nor Man nor Boy;
N'or all that is at enmity with joy.
Can utterly aholish or destroy!

Hence in a season of calm l
Though inland far we he,
Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which hrought us hither,

Can in a moment travel thither.
And see the Children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore^s

Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous so
And let the young Lamhs hound
As to the tahor's sound!

We in thought will join your throng,

Ye that pipe and ye that play,

Yc that through your hearts to-day

Feel the gladness of the May I

What though the radiance which was once so hright

Be now fur ever taken from my sight,

Though nothing can hring hack the hour

Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains hehind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having heen must ever he:
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death.

In years that hring the philosophic mind.

Xt.

And O, ye Fountains,' Meadows, Hills, and

Groves, *. ,,

Forehode not any severing of our loves J
flfet in my heart of hearts I feel your i
tonly have relinquished^-" '' '.
ToTive heneath your-mon
I love the Brooks which down I

fret,

Even more than when I tripped lightly as they; The innocent hrightness of a new-hora Day

Is lovely yet; The Clonds that gather round the setting sun Do take a soher colouring from an eye That hath kept wateh o'er man's mortality: Another race hath heen, and other palms are won.

Thanks to the human heart hy which we live, Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, To me the meanest flower that hlows con give Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. 1803-6.

« PreviousContinue »