« PreviousContinue »
And, when her shatter'd nerves forbid to roam,
Last, the grey Dowager, in ancient flounces,
Thus Woman makes her entrance and her exit; Not least an actress, when she least suspects it. Yet Nature oft peeps out and mars the plot, Each lesson lost, each poor pretence forgot; Full oft, with energy that scorns control, At once lights up the features of the soul; Unlocks each thought chain'd down by coward Art, And to full day the latent passions start! -And she, whose first, best wish is your applause, Herself exemplifies the truth she draws. Born on the stage-through every shifting scene, Obscure or bright, tempestuous or serene, Still has your smile her trembling spirit fired! And can she act, with thoughts like these inspired? Thus from her mind all artifice she flings, All skill, all practice, now unmeaning things! To you, uncheck'd, each genuine feeling flows; For all that life endears-to you she owes.
SLEEP on, and dream of Heaven awhile.
Ah, now soft blushes tinge her cheeks,
She starts, she trembles, and she weeps! Her fair hands folded on her breast. -And now, how like a saint she sleeps! A seraph in the realms of rest!
Sleep on secure! Above control,
Go-you may call it madness, folly; You shall not chase my gloom away. There's such a charm in melancholy, I would not, if I could, be gay.
Oh, if you knew the pensive pleasure
-Tis she, 't is she herself! she waves her hand!
TO AN OLD OAK.
Immota manet; multosque nepotes,
ROUND thee, alas, no shadows move!
And the wolf howl beneath.
There once the steel-clad knight reclined,
Then Culture came, and days serene;
Father of many a forest deep,
Wont in the night of woods to dwell,
Thy singed top and branches bare
TO TWO SISTERS.1
WELL may you sit within, and, fond of grief,
Changed is that lovely countenance, which shed Light when she spoke, and kindled sweet surprise, As o'er her frame each warm emotion spread, Play'd round her lips, and sparkled in her eyes.
Those lips so pure, that moved but to persuade
1 On the death of a younger sister.
Arrested in the realms of Frost, Or in the wilds of Ether lost.
Far happier thou! 't was thine to soar Careering on the winged wind. Thy triumphs who shall dare explore? Suns and their systems left behind. No tract of space, no distant star, No shock of elements at war, Did thee detain. Thy wing of fire Bore thee amidst the Cherub-choir; And there awhile to thee 't was given
FROM A GREEK EPIGRAM. WHILE on the cliff with calm delight she kneels, And the blue vales a thousand joys recall, See, to the last, last verge her infant steals! O fly-yet stir not, speak not, lest it fall. Far better taught, she lays her bosom bare, And the fond boy springs back to nestle there.
Once more that Voice' beloved to join,
Nor less, less oft, as on that day, appears,
TO THE FRAGMENT OF A STATUE OF HERCULES, COMMONLY CALLED THE TORSO.
AND dost thou still, thou mass of breathing stone,
What though the Spirits of the North, that swept
AH! little thought she, when, with wild delight, By many a torrent's shining track she flew, When mountain-glens and caverns full of night O'er her young mind divine enchantment threw,
That in her veins a secret horror slept,
1 Mrs. Sheridan's.
2 In the gardens of the Vatican, where it was placed by Julius II. it was long the favorite study of those great men to whom we owe the revival of the arts, Michael Angelo, Raphael,
and the Carracci.
Yet round her couch indulgent Fancy drew
3 Once in the possession of Praxiteles, if we may believe an ancient epigram on the Guidian Venus.-Analecta Vet. Poetarum, III. 200.
4 On the death of her sister.
She moved her lips to bless thee, and expired.
And now to thee she comes; still, still the same As in the hours gone unregarded by!
To thee, how changed! comes as she ever came, Health on her cheek, and pleasure in her eye!
WRITTEN IN A SICK CHAMBER. THERE, in that bed so closely curtain'd round, Worn to a shade, and wan with slow decay, A father sleeps! Oh hush'd be every sound! Soft may we breathe the midnight hours away! He stirs yet still he sleeps. May heavenly dreams Long o'er his smooth and settled pillow rise; Till through the shutter'd pane the morning streams, And on the hearth the glimmering rush-light dies.
THE BOY OF EGREMOND.'
"SAY, what remains when Hope is fled ?"
At Embsay rung the matin-bell,
With hound in leash and hawk in hood,
"T was but a step! the gulf he pass'd;
There now the matin-bell is rung; The "Miserere!" duly sung;
1 In the twelfth century William Fitz-Duncan laid waste the valleys of Craven with fire and sword; and was afterwards established there by his uncle, David, King of Scotland.
of Egremond, dying before him in the manner here related; He was the last of the race; his son, commonly called the Boy when a Priory was removed from Embsay to Bolton, that it might be as near as possible to the place where the accident happened. That place is still known by the name of the Strid; and the mother's answer, as given in the first stanza, is to this day often repeated in Wharfedale.-See Whitaker's Hist. of Craven.
And holy men in cowl and hood
TO A FRIEND ON HIS MARRIAGE. On thee, blest youth, a father's hand confers The maid thy earliest, fondest wishes knew. Each soft enchantment of the soul is hers; Thine be the joys to firm attachment due.
As on she moves with hesitating grace,
Spare the fine tremors of her feeling frame!
At each response the sacred rite requires,
O'er her fair face what wild emotions play!
Ah soon, thine own confest, ecstatic thought!
THE ALPS AT DAY-BREAK. THE Sun-beams streak the azure skies, And line with light the mountain's brow: With hounds and horns the hunters rise, And chase the roe-buck through the snow.
From rock to rock, with giant-bound, High on their iron poles they pass; Mute, lest the air, convulsed by sound, Rend from above a frozen mass.1
The goats wind slow their wonted way Up craggy steeps and ridges rude; Mark'd by the wild wolf for his prey, From desert cave or hanging wood.
1 There are passes in the Alps, where the guides tell you to move on with speed, and say nothing, lest the agitation of the air should loosen the snows above.
And while the torrent thunders loud,
IMITATION OF AN ITALIAN SONNET.
But now as Rage the God appears!
As through the hedge-row shade the violet steals,
YOUNGEST DAUGHTER OF LADY ***
AH! why with tell-tale tongue reveal What most her blushes would conceal? Why lift that modest veil to trace The seraph-sweetness of her face? Some fairer, better sport prefer; And feel for us, if not for her.
For this presumption, soon or late, Know thine shall be a kindred fate. Another shall in vengeance riseSing Harriet's cheeks, and Harriet's eyes; And, echoing back her wood-notes wild, -Trace all the mother in the child!
AN EPITAPH 2 ON A ROBIN-REDBREAST
TO THE GNAT.
WHEN by the greenwood side, at summer eve,
1 Alluding to some verses which she had written on an elder sister.
2 Inscribed on an urn in the flower-garden at Hafod.
Tis thine to range in busy quest of prey,
MINE be a cot beside the hill,
A bee-hive's hum shall soothe my ear; A willowy brook, that turns a mill, With many a fall, shall linger near.
The swallow, oft, beneath my thatch Shall twitter from her clay-built nest; Oft shall the pilgrim lift the latch, And share my meal, a welcome guest.
Around my ivied porch shall spring
The village-church, among the trees, Where first our marriage-vows were given, With merry peals shall swell the breeze, And point with taper spire to heaven.
WRITTEN AT MIDNIGHT. 1786. WHILE through the broken pone the tempest sighs, And my step falters on the faithless floor, Shades of departed joys around me rise, With many a face that smiles on me no more; With many a voice that thrills of transport gave, Now silent as the grass that tufts their grave!
AN ITALIAN SONG.
DEAR is my little native vale,
The ring-dove builds and murmurs there;
The squirrel leaps from tree to tree,
In orange-groves and myrtle-bowers,
The shepherd's horn at break of day,
AN INSCRIPTION. SHEPHERD, or Huntsman, or worn Mariner, Whate'er thou art, who wouldst allay thy thirst, Drink and be glad. This cistern of white stone, Arch'd, and o'erwrought with many a sacred verse This iron cup chain'd for the general use, And these rude seats of earth within the grove, Were given by FATIMA. Borne hence a bride, "T was here she turn'd from her beloved sire, To see his face no more. Oh, if thou canst, ("T is not far off) visit his tomb with flowers; And with a drop of this sweet water fill The two small cells scoop'd in the marble there, That birds may come and drink upon his grave, Making it holy! 2
WRITTEN IN THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND,
BLUE was the loch, the clouds were gone
Tarbat, thy shore I climb'd at last, And, thy shady region pass'd, Upon another shore I stood, And look'd upon another flood; ' Great Ocean's self! (Tis He who fills That vast and awful depth of hills); Where many an elf was playing round Who treads unshod his classic ground; And speaks, his native rocks among, As Fingal spoke, and Ossian sung.
Night fell; and dark and darker grew That narrow sea, that narrow sky, As o'er the glimmering waves we flew ; The sea-bird rustling, wailing by. And now the grampus, half-descried, Black and huge above the tide; The cliffs and promontories there, Front to front, and broad and bare; Each beyond each, with giant-feet Advancing as in haste to meet ;
1 See an anecdote related by Pausanias, iii, 20. 2 A Turkish superstition.
3 A famous outlaw.
4 Signifying, in the Erse language, an Isthmus. 5 Loch-Long.