Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

read;

To take another step. Above him seemed,
Alone, the mount of song, the lofty seat
Of canonized bards; and thitherward,
By nature taught, and inward melody,
In prime of youth, he bent his eagle eye.
No cost was spared. What books he wished, he All thoughts, all maxims, sacred and profane;
All creeds, all seasons, time, eternity;
All that was hated, and all that was dear;
All that was hoped, all that was feared, by man,
He tossed about, as tempest-withered leaves ;
Then, smiling, looked upon the wreck he made.
With terror now he froze the cowering blood,
And now dissolved the heart in tenderness;
Yet would not tremble, would not weep himself;
But back into his soul retired, alone,
Dark, sullen, proud, gazing contemptuously
On hearts and passions prostrate at his feet.
So Ocean, from the plains his waves had late
To desolation swept, retired in pride,
Exulting in the glory of his might,

And plucked the vine that first-born prophets And seemed to mock the ruin he had wrought.

plucked;

And mused on famous tombs, and on the wave
Of ocean mused, and on the desert waste;
The heavens and earth of every country saw;
Where'er the old inspiring Genii dwelt;
Aught that could rouse, expand, refine the soul, As if he from the earth had labored up,
Thither he went, and meditated there.
But as some bird of heavenly plumage fair

As some fierce comet of tremendous size,
To which the stars did reverence as it passed,
So he, through learning and through fancy, took
His flights sublime, and on the loftiest top
Of Fame's dread mountain sat; not soiled and worn,

tranced;

He touched his harp, and nations heard en- He looked, which down from higher regions came,
And perched it there, to see what lay beneath.
The nations gazed, and wondered much and
praised.

Critics before him fell in humble plight;
Confounded fell; and made debasing signs
To catch his eye; and stretched and swelled
themselves

What sage to hear, he heard; what scenes to see,
He saw.
And first in rambling school-boy days,
Britannia's mountain-walks, and heath-girt lakes,
And story-telling glens, and founts, and brooks,
And maids, as dew-drops pure and fair, his soul
With grandeur filled, and melody, and love.
Then travel came, and took him where he wished:
He cities saw, and courts, and princely pomp;
And mused alone on ancient mountain-brows;
And mused on battle-fields, where valor fought
In other days; and mused on ruins gray
With years; and drank from old and fabulous
wells,

As some vast river of unfailing source,
Rapid, exhaustless, deep, his numbers flowed,
And opened new fountains in the human heart.
Where Fancy halted, weary in her flight,
In other men, his fresh as morning rose,
And soared untrodden heights, and seemed at
home,

Where angels bashful looked. Others, though
great,
Beneath their argument seemed struggling whiles;
He, from above descending, stooped to touch
The loftiest thought; and proudly stooped, as
though

It scarce deserved his verse. With Nature's self
He seemed an old acquaintance, free to jest
At will with all her glorious majesty.

He laid his hand upon "the Ocean's mane,"
And played familiar with his hoary locks;
Stood on the Alps, stood on the Apennines,
And with the thunder talked as friend to friend;
And wove his garland of the lightning's wing,
In sportive twist, the lightning's fiery wing,
Which, as the footsteps of the dreadful God,
Marching upon the storm in vengeance seemed;
Then turned, and with the grasshopper, who sung
His evening song beneath his feet, conversed.
Suns, moons, and stars, and clouds his sisters

were;

1.

Rocks, mountains, meteors, seas, and winds, and
storms

His brothers, younger brothers, whom he scarce
As equals deemed. All passions of all men,
The wild and tame, the gentle and severe;

To bursting nigh, to utter bulky words
Of admiration vast; and many too,
Many that aimed to imitate his flight,
With weaker wing, unearthly fluttering made,
And gave abundant sport to after days.

Great man! the nations gazed and wondered
much,

[blocks in formation]

And all his sympathies in being died.
As some ill-guided bark, well built and tall,
Which angry tides cast out on desert shore,
And then, retiring, left it there to rot
And moulder in the winds and rains of heaven;
So he, cut from the sympathies of life,
And cast ashore from pleasure's boisterous surge,
A wandering, weary, worn, and wretched thing,
Scorched and desolate and blasted soul,
A gloomy wilderness of dying thought,
Repined, and groaned, and withered from the
earth.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ROBERT POLLOK.

Call ye my whole, ay, call

The lord of lute and lay; And let him greet the sable pall With a noble song to-day.

The cross upon his breast;

Let the prayer be said and the tear be shed, So, take him to his rest!

Go, call him by his name!

No fitter hand may crave To light the flame of a soldier's fame On the turf of a soldier's grave.

WINTHROP MACKWORTH PRAED.

TO THOMAS MOORE.

My boat is on the shore,

And my bark is on the sea;

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

CHARLES XII.

ON what foundations stands the warrior's pride,
How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide:
A frame of adamant, a soul of fire,
No dangers fright him, and no labors tire;
O'er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain,
Unconquered lord of pleasure and of pain.
No joys to him pacific sceptres yield,
War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field;
Behold surrounding kings their power combine,
And one capitulate, and one resign;
Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in
vain ;

"Think nothing gained," he cries, "till naught
remain,
On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly,
And all be mine beneath the polar sky."
The march begins in military state,
And nations on his eye suspended wait;
Stern famine guards the solitary coast,
And winter barricades the realms of frost.
He comes, nor want nor cold his course delay;
Hide, blushing glory, hide Pultowa's day!
The vanquished hero leaves his broken bands,
And shows his miseries in distant lands;
Condemned a needy supplicant to wait,
While ladies interpose and slaves debate.

But did not chance at length her error mend?
Did no subverted empire mark his end?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound,
Or hostile millions press him to the ground!
His fall was destined to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral or adorn a tale.

SAMUEL JOHNSON.

EPISTLE TO ROBERT, EARL OF OXFORD AND EARL OF MORTIMER.

[Sent to the Earl of Oxford with Dr. Parnell's Poems, published by the author after the said earl's imprisonment in the Tower, and retreat into the country, in the year 1721.]

SUCH were the notes thy once-loved poet sung,
Till death untimely stopped his tuneful tongue.
O just beheld, and lost! admired and mourned!
With softest manners, gentlest arts adorned!
Blest in each science, blest in every strain!
Dear to the Muse to Harley dear -- in vain!

For him, thou oft hast bid the world attend, Fond to forget the statesman in the friend; For Swift and him, despised the farce of state, The sober follies of the wise and great; Dexterous the craving, fawning crowd to quit, And pleased to' scape from Flattery to Wit.

Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear, (A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear,) Recall those nights that closed thy toilsome days, Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays, Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate, Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great; Or, deeming meanest what we greatest call, Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.

And sure, if aught below the seats divine Can touch immortals, 't is a soul like thine, A soul supreme, in each hard instance tried, Above all pain, all passion, and all pride,

The rage of power, the blast of public breath, The lust of lucre, and the dread of death.

[ocr errors]

In vain to deserts thy retreat is made, The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade: 'Tis hers the brave man's latest steps to trace, Rejudge his acts, and dignify disgrace. When interest calls off all her sneaking train, And all the obliged desert, and all the vain ; She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell, When the last lingering friend has bid farewell. Even now she shades thy evening walk with bays (No hireling she, no prostitute to praise), Even now, observant of the parting ray, Eyes the calm sunset of thy various day; Through Fortune's cloud one truly great can see, Nor fears to tell, that Mortimer is he.

ALEXANDER POPE.

THE MAN OF ROSS.

FROM "MORAL ESSAYS."

[Mr. John Kyrle.

He died in the year 1724, aged 90, and lies

interred in the chancel of the church of Ross in Herefordshire.]

BUT all our praises why should lords engross? Rise, honest muse! and sing the Man of Ross; Pleased Vaga echoes through her winding bounds, And rapid Severn hoarse applause resounds. Who hung with woods yon mountain's sultry brow?

From the dry rock who bade the waters flow?
Not to the skies in useless columns tost,
Or in proud falls magnificently lost,
But clear and artless, pouring through the plain
Health to the sick, and solace to the swain.
Whose causeway parts the vale with shady rows?
Whose seats the weary traveller repose?
Who taught that heaven-directed spire to rise?
"The Man of Ross!" each lisping babe replies.
Behold the market-place with poor o'erspread!
The Man of Ross divides the weekly bread;
He feeds yon almshouse, neat, but void of state,
Where age and want sit smiling at the gate :
Him portioned maids, apprenticed orphans
blest,

The young who labor, and the old who rest.
Is any sick? the Man of Ross relieves,
Prescribes, attends, the medicine makes and gives.
Is there a variance? enter but his door,
Balked are the courts, and contest is no more.
Despairing quacks with curses fled the place,
And vile attorneys, now a useless race.

B. Thrice happy man! enabled to pursue What all so wish, but want the power to do! O say, what sums that generous hand supply? What mines to swell that boundless charity?

P. Of debts and taxes, wife and children clear, This man possessed five hundred pounds a year. Blush, grandeur, blush; proud courts, withdraw your blaze!

Ye little stars, hide your diminished rays!

B. And what? no monument, inscription, stone? His race, his form, his name, almost unknown? P. Who builds a church to God, and not to fame,

Will never mark the marble with his name: Go, search it there, where to be born and die, Of rich and poor makes all the history; Enough that virtue filled the space between, Proved by the ends of being to have been.

ALEXANDER POPE.

TO THE LORD-GENERAL CROMWELL. CROMWELL, our chief of men, who through a cloud, Not of war only, but detractions rude,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »