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GIRL.

But few request my prayers.

WALTER.

I request them. For ne'er did a dishevelled woman cling So earnest-pale to a stern conqueror's knees, Pleading for a dear life, as did my prayer Cling to the knees of God. He shook it off, And went upon His way. Wilt pray for me?

GIRL.

Sin crusts me o'er as limpets crust the rocks.
I would be thrust from every human door;
I dare not knock at Heaven's.

WALTER.

Poor homeless one! There is a door stands wide for thee and me The door of hell. Methinks we are well met. I saw a little girl three years ago, With eyes of azure and with cheeks of red, A crowd of sunbeams hanging down her face; Sweet laughter round her; dancing like a breeze. I'd rather lair me with a fiend in fire Than look on such a face as hers to-night. But I can look on thee, and such as thee!

I'll call thee "Sister;" do thou call me "Brother."

A thousand years hence, when we both are damned,

We'll sit like ghosts upon the wailing shore,
And read our lives by the red light of hell.
Will we not, Sister?

GIRL.

O, thou strange wild man, Let me alone what would you seek with me?

WALTER.

Your ear, my Sister. I have that within
Which urges me to utterance. I could accost
A pensive angel, singing to himself
Upon a hill in heaven, and leave his mind
As dark and turbid as a trampled pool,
To purify at leisure. I have none
To listen to me, save a sinful woman
Upon a midnight bridge. She was so fair,
God's eye could rest with pleasure on her face.
O God, she was so happy! Her short life
As full of music as the crowded June
Of an unfallen orb, What is it now?

She gave me her young heart, full, full of love:
My return was to break it. Worse, far worse;
I crept into the chambers of her soul,
Like a foul toad, polluting as I went.

GIRL.

I pity her not you. Man trusts in God;
He is eternal. Woman trusts in man;
And he is shifting sand.

WALTER.

Poor child, poor
We sat in dreadful silence with our sin,
Looking each other wildly in the eyes:
Methought I heard the gates of heaven close;
She flung herself against me, burst in tears,

child!

As a wave bursts in spray. She covered me
With her wild sorrow, as an April cloud
With dim dishevelled tresses hides the hill
On which its heart is breaking. She clung to me
With piteous arms, and shook me with her sobs:
For she had lost her world, her heaven, her God,
And now had nought but me and her great
wrong.

She did not kill me with a single word,

But once she lifted her tear-dabbled face-
Had hell gaped at my feet I would have leapt
Into its burning throat, from that pale look.
Still it pursues me like a haunting fiend:
It drives me out to the black moors at night,
Where I am smitten by the hissing rain;
And ruffian winds, dislodging from their troops,
Hustle me shrieking, then with sudden turn
It comes
Go laughing to their fellows. Merciful God!
- that face again, that white, white
face,

Set in a night of hair; reproachful eyes, That make me mad. O, save me from those eyes!

And burn on me in Tophet.
They will torment me even in the grave,

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unlike JOHN KEATS. GOD forbid he should resemble him in his future destiny!

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Some four months ago we received a packet of poetry from Glasgow, accompanied with a very modest note, signed ALEX. SMITH." Encumbered with many duties, and with an immense mass of MS., good, bad, and indifferent, we allowed the volume to lie by us for a long time, till at last, lifting it up carelessly, we lighted upon some lines that pleased us, were tempted to read on - did so- and ere the end, were all but certain we had found a Poet-a new and real star in those barren Northern skies. We told the Poet our impressions; he in reply sent us two later effusions, which completely confirmed us.

Poor fellow! at the age of ten he was sent from school to a commercial employment, where he has been engaged, ever since, ten hours a day, for the last eleven years. He is now, consequently, twenty-one. His principal, though not his best poem, was written It is entitled a" Life Drama,' years ago. and is, it seems, an attempt to set his “ own life to music."

two

We may, without analyzing the story, quote a few extracts from this powerful though unequal, poem. These will speak for themselves, for their author, and for us! Hear this of certain books:

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They mingle gloom and splendor, as I've oft
In thund'rous sunsets seen the thunder piles
Seamed with dull fire, and fiercest glory rents.
They awe him to his knees, as if he stood
In presence of a King. They give him tears,
Such glorious tears as Eve's fair daughters shed
When first they clasped a son of God, all bright
With burning plumes and splendors of the sky
In zoning heaven of their milky arms.
How few read books aright! Most souls are shut
By sense from their grandeurs, as the man who

snores,

Nightcapped and wrapt in blankets to the nose,
Is shut out from the Night, which, like a sea,
Breaketh forever on a strand of stars.

Again, of a Poet

――

And this his book unveils it, as the Night
Her panting wealth of stars. The world was cold,
And he went down like a lone ship at sea;
And now the fame which scorned him in life
Waits on him like a menial.

When the dark dumb Earth

Lay on her back and watched the shining stars. &c.

Of one, whose naked soul stood clad in love,
Like a pale martyr in his shirt of fire.

Hear this, too, of a Song — the Song itself we do not give : —

I'll sing it to thee, 't is a song of one,
An image warm in his soul's caress,
Like a sweet thought within a Poet's heart,
Ere it is boru in joy and golden words -

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What need of mocks or jeers from you or yours,
Since hope of Song is by Scorn's arrow shent!
O Poesy, the glory of the lands,

Of thee no more my thirsty spirit drinks!
I seek the look of Fame! poor fool, so tries
Some lonely wand'rer 'mong the desert sands,

His was not that love

That comes on men with their beards; his soul By shouts to gain the notice of the Sphynx,
was rich,
Staring right on with calm eternal eyes.

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Thus he opens the Second Part; and is it not like the sound of a trumpet?

Curl not thy grand lip with that scorn, O World!
Nor men with eyes of cold and cruel blue
Wither my heart-strings with contemptuous
"Pooh !"

Alas, my spirit sails not yet upfurled,
Flap idly 'gainst the mast of my intent.
Bagged Ledger men, with souls by Mammon
churled,

This last line should have been in Hyperion.
It reminds us of

Sate gray-haired Saturn, quiet as a stone.
Or,

With solemn step an awful Goddess came !

Or,

And plunged all noiseless into the deep Night; but is, perhaps, finer than any of them. It is one of those lines which are worlds of selfcontained power and harmony!

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We give another labored and very splendid passage:

A NEW POET IN GLASGOW.

Ev'n as I write the ghost of one bright hour
Comes from its grave and stands before me now.
'T was at the close of a long summer's day,
As we were standing on a grassy slope,
The sunset hung before us like a dream
That shakes a demon in his fiery lair.
The clouds were standing round the setting sun
Like gaping caves, fantastic pinnacles;
Wide castles throbbing in their own fierce light;The grandest chariot in which king-thoughts ride:
Tall spires that went and came like spires of One who shall fervent grasp the sword of song,

When ages flower, ages and bards are born;
My friend, a Poet must ere long arise,
And with a regal song sun-crown the age,
As a saint's head is with a glory crowned;
One who shall hallow Poetry to God
And to its own high uses for poetry is

To gain the quickest passage to the heart.
As a stern swordsman grasps his keenest blade

A mighty Poet, whom this age shall choose
To be its spokesman to all coming times.
In the ripe, full-blown season of his soul
He shall go forward in his spirit's strength
And grapple with the questions of all time
And wring from them their meanings. As King
Saul

Cliffs quivering with fire-snow, and sunset-peaks
flame.
Of piled gorgeousness, and rocks of fire
A-tilt and poised; bare beaches, crimson seas:
All these were huddled in that dreadful west;
All shook and trembled in unsteadfast light,
And from the centre blazed the angry Sun,
Stern as the unlashed eye of God, a glare
O'er ev'ning city with its boom of sin.
Dost thou remember as we journeyed home
(That dreadful sunset burnt into our brain),
With what a soothing came the naked Moon;
She, like a swimmer that has found his ground,
Came rippling up a silver strand of clouds,
And plunged from the other side into the Night.

Here is a fine thought in a softer vein :
O my Friend,

If thy rich heart is like a palace shattered,
Stand up amid the ruins of thy heart,
And with a calm brow front the solemn stars.
'Tis four o'clock already, see the Moon
Has climbed the eastern sky,

And sits and tarries for the coming Night.
So let thy soul be up and ready-armed,
In waiting till occasion comes like night;
As night to moons-to souls occasion comes.

Take another sweet image (perhaps suggested by that line in Festus, which David Scott pronounced the best in the poem,

Friendship has passed me like a ship at sea.) -
We twain have met like ships upon the sea,
Who hold an hour's converse, so short, so sweet;
One little hour, and then away they speed
On lonely paths through mist and cloud and

foam
To meet no more.

Again, he

says

The following passage has obvious faults of rhythm and diction, but is quite equal to anypicture of the poet of the coming time: thing in Festus on the same theme. It is a

Called up the buried prophet from his grave
To speak his doom; so shall this Poel-King
Call up the dead Past from its awful grave
Doth sphere the world, so shall his heart of love-
To tell him of our future. As the air
Loving mankind, not peoples. As the lake
Reflects the flower, tree, rock, and bending heav'n,
Shall he reflect our great humanity.

And as the young Spring breathes with living breath

On a dead branch till it sprouts fragrantly, Green leaves and sunny flowers, shall he breathe life

Through every theme he touch, making all Beauty
And Poetry forever like the Stars.

God is a worker. He has thickly sown
Wide space with rolling grandeurs. God is Love:
He yet shall wipe away Creation's tears,
And all the worlds shall summer in his smile.
Why work I not? the veriest mote that sports
Its one day life within the sunny beam,
Hath its stern duties. Wherefore have I none?

Eternal halos around England's head;

Books dusky and thumbed without, within a
sphere,

Smelling of Spring, as genial, fresh, and clear,
And beautiful as is the rainbowed air
After May showers. Within this warm lair
He spent in writing all the winter moons.
But when May came with train of sunny noons,
He chose a leafy summer house within
The greenest nook of all his garden green.

Listen, O world, to this picture of thy Oft a fine thought his face would flush divine,

weary self:

Methinks our darkened world doth wander lone,
A Cain-world, outcast from her peers in light;
Wild and curse-driven.
Homeless and sobbing, through the deep she goes.
A poor maniac world,

Which deifies the drinker: oft his face
As he had quaffed a cup of golden wine,
The image of the thought within his soul,
Gleamed "like a spirit's" in that shady place,
When he saw smiling upwards from the scroll

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There follows a noble rhapsody on the
the closing passage of this "Life-Fragment.
Stars, for which we have not room.
We quote
As he wrote, his task the lovelier grew,
Like April into May, or as a child
Over his work he flushed and paled in room
A smile in the lap of life, by fine degrees
Orbs to a maiden walking with meek eyes
In atmosphere of beauty round her breathed,
Hallowed with glooms and books. Priests which

have wed

Their makers unto Fame. Moons which have
shed

from the "Page and the Lady," which we deem his finest artistic production.

As mid the waving shadows of the trees,
Mid garden odors and the hum of becs,
He wrote the last and closing passages.

'Tis truly a noble fragment of a "Life" this-the chip of a colossal block. We fervently trust that Mr. Smith's "life" may be long extended, his delicate health strengthened, and his circumstances so ameliorated, that he may fulfil the beautiful promise he has so unequivocally given.

We quote three fine specimens of his Sonneteering vein. The first, though "All in Honor" is perhaps a little too luxurious in

tone:

Last night my check was wetted with warm tears,
Each worth a world. They fell from eyes divine.
Last night a silken lip was pressed to mine,
And at its touch fled all the barren years.
And golden-couched on a bosom white,
Which came and went beneath me like a sea,
An Emperor I lay, in empire bright,
Lord of the beating heart! while tenderly
Love-words were glutting my love-greedy ears.
Kind Love, I thank thee for that happy night;
Richer this cheek for those warm tears of thine,
Than the vast midnight with its gleaming spheres;
Leander toiling through the midnight brine,
Kingdomless Antony, were scarce my peers.

Like clouds or streams we wandered on at will, Three glorious days, when, near our journey's end,

As down the moorland road we straight did wend,
To Wordsworth's "Inversneyd," talking to kill
The cold and cheerless drizzle in the air.
'Bove me I saw, at pointing of my friend,
An old fort, like a ghost upon the hill,
Stare in blank misery through the blinding rain;
So human-like it seemed in its despair,
So stunned with grief, long gazed at it we twain.
Weary and damp we reached our poor abode,
I, warmly seated in the chimney nook,
Still saw that old fort on the moorland road,
Stare through the rain with strange woe-wildered
look.

Beauty still walketh on the earth and air,
Our present sunsets are as rich in gold
As ere the Iliad's numbers were outrolled;
The roses of the spring are ever fair;
'Mong branches green still ring-doves coo and
pair;

And the deep seas foam their music old.
So if we are at all divinely souled,

This Beauty will unloose our bonds of care.
'Tis pleasant, when blue skies are o'er us bend-
ing,

Within old starry-gated Poesy,
To meet a soul set to no earthly tune,
Like thine, sweet friend! O dearer thou to me
Than are the dewy trees, the sun, the moon,
Or noble music with a golden ending!

We have culled the previous extracts, and even the Sonnets, almost at random, and could easily have multiplied them by dozens But we proceed now to give some extracts

The story of the Page and the Lady is simple-A lady of high birth and great beauty, hath an Indian Page, who falls in love with her, which love is betrayed in the course of a tion is the Poem. Conversation between them. The Conversafirst disposed to treat with disdain, but ultiThis confession she is at mately she finds, by a very brief process of self-inquiry, that it is but the counterpart of feeling towards him, which has long lurked

a

in her own bosom. Let us take first the. opening of the poem :

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Thus luxuriously rested, she begins to tell her Page of a rhyming cousin she had once. A strange person, truly:

He went to his grave, nor told what man he was;
He was unlanguaged, like the earnest sea,
Which strives to gain an utterance on the shore;
But ne'er can shape unto the listening hills
The lore it gathered in its awful age,
The crime for which 't is lashed by cruel winds,
To shrieks and spoomings to the frighted stars,
The thought, pain, grief within its lab'ring breast.
Many strange things have been said about

We do not quote what she then says in words, unknowing her own heart; her laughter's" silver throbs" (what an exquisite ex

the sea.

as

It has been called the "far-resound-pression!) had said it more eloquently being Main" it has by an author of the day fore. Suffice it, she dismisses the crestfallen been boldly called The Shadow and Mad page Sister of the Earth." Thomson figures it the "melancholy Main ;" and well may it be both mad and melancholy, for Mr. Smith proclaims it a tongueless penitent, carrying in its bosom the memory of some Crime of Ages; lashed for its penance by the eternal winds and yet unable to relieve itself by expressing its guilt, save in inarticulate shrieks, sobs, and "spoomings to the frighted stars.' We think that we remember a similar thought in Mr. Gilfillan's "Second Gallery of Portraits,' where he describes Mrs. Shelley, after her husband's death, wandering along the shore and asking vain questions at the sea," which, like a dumb murderer, had done the deed,

99

but was not able to utter the confession."

Mr. Smith, however, improves upon this by making the crime a profound, old and general one, worthy of those long and fearful moanings which, even in calm, never altogether subside, and which in storm seem to express a divine desperation, as of a whole Synod of Gods plunged into Tartarus, and feeling the virgin fires on their immortal limbs.

The Lady, in her turn, condescends to sing a song, and proceeds in various measure to recount the history and character of those who in vain had loved her. She asks him, then, if he thinks that the power of Beauty is 80 great as is usually supposed, and he, in very glowing terms, affirms that it is.

The lady dowered him with her richest look,
Her arch head half-aside, her liquid eyes
From 'neath their dim lids drooping, slumbrous
Stood full on his, and called the wild blood up
All in a tumult to his sun-kissed cheek,
As if it wished to see her beauty too.
Then asked in dulcet tones, "Dost think me
fair?"

We must omit his very eloquent reply, which is, of course, in the affirmative. She begins to suspect, from his language, that he has known by experience what love is.

She

| His soul stood like a moon within his eyes,
Suddenly orbed, his passionate voice was shook
By trembles into music "Thee I love!"
(Each silver throb went through him like a
"Thou!" and the lady with a cruel laugh

sword)

Flung herself back upon her fringed couch,
From which she rose, upon him, like a queen,
She rose, and stabbed him with her angry eyes.

With arm sweep superb,
The light of scorn was cold within her eyes,
And withered his bloomed heart, which like a rose
Had opened timid to the noon of Love.

But mark now! After sitting alone for a season, she thus communes with her own soul, in a soliloquy worthy of any poet or dramatist:

It was my father's blood
That bore me, as a red and wrathful stream
Bears a shed leaf. I would recall my words,
And yet I would not.
Into what angry beauty rushed his face!
To see such splendors ebb in utter woe.
What lips! What splendid eyes! 't was pitiful
His eyes half won me! Tush! I am a fool;
The blood that purples in these azure veins,
Riched with its long course through an hundred
Earls,

Were fouled and mudded if I stooped to him.
My father loves him for his free wild wit,
I for his beauty and sun-lighted eyes.

- To bring him to my feet, to lip my hand,
Had I it in my gift, I'd give the world
Its panting fire-heart, diamonds, veins of gold,
Its rich strands, oceans, belts of cedared hills,
Whence summer smells are struck by all the
But, whether I might lance him through the brain
winds.
With a proud look, or whether sternly kill
Him with a single deadly word of scorn,
Or- whether - yield me up,

And sink all tears and weakness in his arms,
And strike him blind with a strong shock of joy -
Alas! I feel I could do each and all..

I will be kind when next he brings me flowers,
Plucked from the shining forehead of the morn,
Ere they have ope'd their rich cores to the bee.
His wild heart with a ringlet will I chain,
And o'er him I will lean me like a heav'n,
And feed him with sweet looks and dew-soft
words,

And beauty that might make a monarch pale;
And thrill him to the heart's core with a toush
Smile him to Paradise at close of eve,
To hang upon my lip in silver dreams.

asks him

My lustrous Leopard, hast thou been in love?
What follows is admirable:

The Page's dark face flushed the hue of wine
In crystal goblet, stricken by the sun,

And thus is the story "left untold;" and yet what more is needed to tell us, that Love has triumphed over Rank, that the Lady has become the "Page" to the Page, and the Page the Lord to the Lady.

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