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But folks say Mævius is no ass;
the "Fortunate Isles" of the Muses: and then other and more momentous interests prompted a different voyage, to firmer anchorage and a securer port. I have in vain tried to recover the lines from the Palimpsest tablet of my memory: and I can only offer the introductory stanza, which had been committed to writing for the purpose of procuring a friend's judgment on the metre, as a specimen.
Encinctured with a twine of leaves,
Has he no friend, no loving Mother near ?
S. T. C.
Your poem must eternal be,
Swans sing before they die—'t were no bad thing
“ A LITTLE further, O my father, yet a little further,
and we shall come into the open moonlight.” Their PREFATORY NOTE.
road was through a forest of fir-trees; at its entrance
the trees stood at distances from each other, and the A prose composition, one not in metre at least, scems prima jacie to require explanation or apology. It was written in the path was broad, and the moonlight, and the moonlight year 1798, near Nether Stowoy in Somersetshire, at which place shadows reposed upon it, and appeared quietly to in. (sanctum et amabile nomen! rich by so many associations and habit that solitude. But soon the path winded and recollections) the Author had taken up his residence in order became narrow; the sun at high noon sometimes to enjoy the society and close neighborhood of a dear and hon speckled, but never illumined it, and now it was pred friend, T. Poole. Esq. The work was to have been written
dark as a cavern. in concert with another, whose name is too venerable within the precincts of genius to be unnecessarily brought into connex- “It is dark, O my father!" said Enos ; " but the ion with such a triflo, and who was then residing at a small path under our feet is smooth and soft, and we shall distance from Nether Slowey. The title and subject were sug- soon come out into the open moonlight.” gested by myself, who likewise drew out the scheme and the contente for each of the three books or cantoes, of which the little child!" And the innocent little child clasped a
"Lead on, my child !” said Cain: "guide me, work was to consist, and which, the reader is to be informed, was to have been finished in one night! My partner undertook finger of the hand which had murdered the righteous the first canto : I the second : and whichever had done first, was Abel, and he guided his father. “The fir branches to set about the third. Almost thirty years have passed by; yet drip upon thee, my son." “ Yea, pleasantly, father at this moment I cannot without something more than a smile for I ran fast and eagerly to bring thee the pitcher moot the question which of the two things was the more im- and the cake, and my body is not yet cool, How practicable, for a mind so ominently original to compose another man's thoughts and fancies, or for a taste so austerely pure and happy the squirrels are that feed on these fir-trees! simple to imitate the Death of Abel? Methinks I see his grand they leap from bough to bough, and the old squirrels and noble countenance as at the moment when having dispatch- play round their young ones in the nest. I clomb a tree ed my own portion of the task at full finger-speed, I hastened to him with my manuscript—that look of humorous despond yesterday at noon, O my father, that I might play ency fixed on his almost blank sheet of paper, and then its with them; but they leapt away from the branches, silent mock-pitoous admission of failure struggling with the even to the slender twigs did they leap, and in a sense of the exceeding ridiculousness of the whole scheme-- moment I beheld them on another tree. Why, O my which broke up in a laugh: and the Ancient Mariner was writ- father, would they not play with me? I would b ten instead.
Years afterword, however, the draft of the Plan and propo- good to them as thou art good to me: and I groaned ged Incidents, and the portion executed, obtained favor in the to them even as thou groanest when thou givest me eyes of more than one person, whose judgment on a poetic to eat, and when thou coverst me at evening, and as work could not but have weighed with me, even though no pa- often as I stand at thy knee and thine eyes look at rental partiality had been thrown into the same scale, as a me.” Then Cain stopped, and stifling his groans he make-weight: and I determined on commencing anew, and composing tho whole in stanzas, and made some progress in sank to the earth, and the child Enos stvod in the realizing this intention, when adverse gales drove my bark off
darkness beside him.
And Cain lifted up his voice and cried bitterly, ed from its point, and between its point and the and said, “ The Mighty One that persecuteth me is sands a tall man might stand upright. It was here on this side and on that; he pursueth my soul like that Enos had found the pitcher and cake, and to the wind, like the sand-blast he passeth through me; this place he led his father. But ere they had reachhe is around me even as the air! O that I might be ed the rock they beheld a human shape : his back utterly no more! I desire to die-yea, the things was towards them, and they were advancing unperthat never had life, neither move they upon the ceived, when they heard him smite his breast and earth-behold! they seem precious to mine eyes. O cry aloud, “Woe is me! woe is me! I must never die that a man might live without the breath of his nos- again, and yet I am perishing with thirst and hun. trils! So I might abide in darkness, and blackness, ger." and an empty space! Yea, I would lie down, I would Pallid, as the reflection of the sheeted lightning on not rise, neither would I stir my limbs till I became the heavy-sailing night-cloud, became the face of as the rock in the den of the lion, on which the Cain; but the child Enos took hold of the shaggy young lion resteth his head whilst he sleepeth. For skin, his father's robe, and raised his eyes to his the torrent that roareth far off hath a voice, and the father, and listening whispered, “ Ere yet I could clouds in heaven look terribly on me; the Mighty speak, I am sure, O my father! that I heard that One who is against me speaketh in the wind of the voice. Have not I often said that I remembered a cedar grove; and in silence am I dried up.” Then sweet voice? O my father! this is it:" and Cain Enos spake to his father: “Arise, my father, arise, trembled exceedingly. The voice was sweet indeed, we are but a little way from the place where I found but it was thin and querulous like that of a feeble the cake and the pitcher.” And Cain said, “ How slave in misery, who despairs altogether, yet cannot knowest thou?" and the child answered—“ Behold, refrain himself from weeping and lamentation. And, the bare rocks are a few of thy strides distant from behold ! Enos glided forward, and creeping sofily the forest; and while even now thou wert lifting up round the base of the rock, stood before the stranger, thy voice, I heard the echo.” Then the child took and looked up into his face. And the Shape shrickhold of his father, as if he would raise him: and ed, and turned round, and Cain beheld him, that his Cain being faint and feeble, rose slowly on his knees limbs and his face were those of his brother Abel and pressed himself against the trunk of a fir, and whom he had killed! And Cain stood like one who stood upright, and followed the child.
struggles in his sleep because of the exceeding terThe path was dark till within three strides' length ribleness of a dream. of its termination, when it turned suddenly ; the Thus as he stood in silence and darkness of soul, thick black trees formed a low arch, and the moon- the Shape fell at his feet, and embraced his knces, light appeared for a moment like a dazzling portal. and cried out with a bitter outcry, “ Thou eldestEnos ran before and stood in the open air; and when born of Adam, whom Eve, my mother, brought forth, Cain, his father, emerged from the darkness, the cease to torment me! I was feeding my blocks in child was affrighted. For the mighty limbs of Cain green pastures by the side of quiet rivers, and thou were wasted as by fire; his hair was as the matted killedst me; and now I am in misery.” Then Cain curls on the Bison's forehead, and so glared his fierce closed his eyes, and hid them with his hands; and and sullen eye beneath: and the black abundant again he opened his eyes, and looked around him, locks on either side, a rank and tangled mass, were and said to Enos, “ What beholdest thou? Didst thou stained and scorched, as though the grasp of a hear a voice, my son ?" "Yes, my father, I beheld burning iron hand had striven to rend them; and his a man in unclean garments, and he uttered a sweet countenance told in a strange and terrible language voice, full of lamentation.” Then Cain raised up of agonies that had been, and were, and were still the Shape that was like Abel, and said :-“The w continue to be.
Creator of our father, who had respect unto thee, The scene around was desolate; as far as the eye and unto thy offering, wherefore hath he forsaken could reach it was desolate : the bare rocks faced thee ?” Then the Shape shrieked a second time, and each other, and left a long and wide interval of thin rent his garment, and his naked skin was like the white sand. You might wander on and look round white sands beneath their feet; and he shrieked yet and round, and peep into the crevices of the rocks, a third time, and threw himself on his face upon in and discover nothing that, acknowledged the inttu- sand that was black with the shadow of the rock, ence of the seasons. There was no spring, no sum- and Cain and Enos sate beside him; the child by his mer, no autumn: and the winter's snow, that would right hand, and Cain by his left. They were all have been lovely, fell not on these hot rocks and three under the rock, and within the shadow. The scorching sands. Never morning lark had poised Shape that was like Abel raised himself up, and himself over this desert; but the huge serpent often spake to the child: “I know where the cold waters hissed there beneath the talons of the vulture, and are, but I may not drink; wherefore didst thou then the vulture screamed, his wings imprisoned within take away my pitcher?" But Cain said, “Didst thou the coils of the serpent. The pointed and shattered not find favor in the sight of the Lord thy God?" summits of the ridges of the rocks made a rude The Shape answered, “The Lord is God of the mimicry of human concerns, and seemed to proph- living only, the dead have another God.” Then esy mutely of things that then were not; steeples, the child Enos lifted up his eyes and prayed; but and battlements, and ships with naked masts. As far Cain rejoiced secretly in his heart.“ Wretched shall from the wood as a boy might sling a pebble of the they be all the days of their mortal life," exclaimed brook, there was one rock by itself at a small dis- the Shape, “who sacrifice worthy and acceptable tance from the main ridge. It had been precipitated sacrifices to the God of the dead; but after death there perhaps by the groan which the Earth uttered their toil ceaseth. Woe is me, for I was well beloved when our first father fell. Before you approached, it by the God of the living, and cruel wert thou, O appeared to lie flat on the ground, but its base slant-my brother, who didst snatch me away from his power and his dominion." Having uttered these now unfelt, but never forgotten. It was at once the words, he rose suddenly, and fled over the sands; melancholy of hope and of resignation. and Cain said in his heart, “ The curse of the Lord We had not long been fellow-travellers, ere a sudis on me; but who is the God of the dead ?" and he den tempest of wind and rain forced us to seek proran after the Shape, and the Shape fled shrieking tection in the vaulted door-way of a lone chapelry : over the sands, and the sands rose like white mists and we sate face to face each on the stone bench behind the steps of Cain, but the feet of him that along-side the low, weather-stained wall, and as close was like Abel disturbed not the sands. He greatly as possible to the massy door. outran Cain, and turning short, he wheeled round, After a pause of silence: Even thus, said he, like and came again to the rock where they had been two strangers that have fled to the same shelter from sitting, and where Enos still stood ; and the child the same storm, not seldom do Despair and Hope caught hold of his garment as he passed by, and he meet for the first time in the porch of Death! All fell upon the ground. And Cain stopped, and be extremes meet, I answered; but yours was a strange holding him not, said, “ he has passed into the dark and visionary thought. The better then doth it be. woods,” and he walked slowly back to the rocks; seem both the place and me, he replied. From a and when he reached it the child told him that he Visionary wilt thou hear a Vision ? Mark that vivid had caught hold of his garment as he passed by, and flash through this torrent of rain! Fire and water. that the man had fallen upon the ground: and Cain Even here thy adage holds true, and iis truth is the once more sate beside him, and said, “ Abel. my bro- moral of my Vision. I entreated him to proceed. ther, I would lament for thee, but that the spirit Sloping his face towards the arch and yet averting within me is withered, and burnt up with extreme his eye from it, he seemed to seek and prepare his agony. Now, I pray thee, by thy flocks, and by thy words: till listening to the wind that echoed within pastures, and by the quiet rivers which thou lovedst, the hollow edifice, and to the rain without, that thou tell me all that thou knowest. Who is the
Which stole on his thoughts with its two-fold sound, God of the dead? where doch he make his dwelling? The clash hard by and the murmur all round, what sacrifices are acceptable unto him? for I have he gradually sunk away, alike from me and from his offered, but have not been received; I have prayed, own purpose, and amid the gloom of the storm, and and have not been heard; and how can I be afflicted in the duskiness of that place, he sate like an emmore than I already am?” The Shape arose and blem on a rich man's sepulchre, or like a mourner answered, “O that thou hadst had pity on me as I on the sodded grave of an only one-an aged mourner, will have pity on thee. Follow me, Son of Adam! who is watching the waned moon and sorroweth not. and bring thy child with thee!”
Starting at length from his brief trance of abstracAnd they three passed over the white sands be- tion, with courtesy and an atoning smile he renewed *tween the rocks, silent as the shadows.
his discourse, and commenced his parable.
During one of those short furloughs from the service of the Body, which the Soul may sometimes obtain
even in this, its militant state, I found myself in a ALLEGORIC VISION.
vast plain, which I immediately knew to be the Val
ley of Life. It possessed an astonishing diversity of A FEELING of sadness, a peculiar melancholy, is soils: and here was a sunny spot, and there a dark wont to take possession of me alike in Spring and in one, forming just such a mixture of sunshine and Autumn. But in Spring it is the melancholy of shade, as we may have observed on the mountains' Hope : in Autumn it is the melancholy of Resigna- side in an April day, when the thin broken clouds tion. As I was journeying on foot through the Apen- are scattered over heaven. Almost in the very en. nine, I fell in with a pilgrim in whom the Spring and trance of the valley stood a large and gloomy pile, the Autumn and the Melancholy of both seemed to into which I seemed constrained to enter. Every have combined. In his discourse there were the part of the building was crowded with tawdry ornafreshness and the colors of April:
ments and fantastic deformity. On every window Qual ramicel a ramo,
was portrayed, in glaring and inelegant colors, some Tal da pensier pensiero
horrible tale, or preternatural incident, so that not a In lui germogliava.
ray of light could enter, untinged by the medium But as I gazed on his whole form and figure, I be through which it passed. The body of the building thought me of the not unlovely decays, both of age was full of people, some of them dancing, in and and of the late season, in the stately elm, after the out, in unintelligible figures, with strange ceremonies clusters have been plucked from its entwining vines, and antic merriment, while others seemed convulsed and the vines are as bands of dried withies around with horror, or pining in mad melancholy. Interits trunk and branches. Even so there was a memo- mingled with these, I observed a number of men, ry on his smooth and ample forehead, which blended clothed in ceremonial robes, who appeared, now to with the dedication of his steady eyes, that still marshal the various groups and to direct their movelooked-I know not, whether upward, or far onward, ments, and now, with menacing countenances, to or rather to the line of meeting where the sky rests drag some reluctant victim to a vast idol, framed of
upon the distance. But how may I express that iron bars intercrossed, which formed at the same dimness of abstraction which lay on the lustre of the time an immense cage, and the shape of a human pilgrim's eyes, like the flitting tarnish from the breath Colossus. of a sigh on a silver mirror! and which accorded I stood for a while lost in wonder what these things with their slow and reluctant movement, whenever might mean; when lo! one of the directors came up le turned them to any object on the right hand or on to me, and with a stern and reproachful look bade the left? It seemed, methought, as if there lay upon me uncover my head, for that the place into which I the brightness a shadowy presence of disappointments had entered was the temple of the only true Reli
gion, in the holier recess of which the great Goddess assisted without contradicting our natural vision, and
them, pressed on, till we reached an ample chamber,
us, had no existence. This mystery suddenly recalled We speeded from the Temple with hasty steps, to me what I had read in the Holiest Recess of the and had now nearly gone round half the valley, temple of Superstition. The old man spoke in divers when we were addressed by a woman, tall beyond tongues, and continued to utter other and most strange the stature of mortals, and with a something more mysteries. Among the rest he talked much and vethan human in her countenance and mien, which yet hemently concerning an infinite series of causes and could by mortals be only felt, not conveyed by words effects, which he explained to be—a string of blind or intelligibly distinguished. Deep reflection, ani- men, the last of whom caught hold of the skirt
mated by ardent feelings, was displayed in them: of the one before him, he of the next, and so on ull i and hope, without its uncertainty, and a something they were all out of sight: and that they all walked
more than all these, which I understood not, but infallibly straight, without making one false step, which yet seemed to blend all these into a divine though all were alike blind. Methought I borrowed unily of expression. Her garments were white and courage from surprise, and asked him,-Who then is matronly, and of the simplest texture. We inquired at the head to guide them? He looked at me with her name. My name, she replied, is Religion. ineffable contempt, not unmixed with an angry sus
The more numerous part of our company, affright- picion, and then replied, “No one. The string of ed by the very sound, and sore from recent impostures blind men went on for ever without any beginning. or sorceries, hurried onwards and examined no far- for although one blind man could not move without ther. A few of us, struck by the manifest opposition stumbling, yet infinite blindness supplied the want of of her form and manners to those of the living sight.” I burst into laughter, which instantly turned to dul, whom we had so recently abjured, agreed to terror-for as he started forward in rage, I caught follow her, though with cautious circumspection. a glance of him from behind; and lo! I beheld a She led us to an eminence in the midst of the valley, monster biform and Janus-headed, in the hinder face from the top of which we could command the whole and shape of which I instantly recognized the drea! plain, and observe the relation of the different parts countenance of SUPERSTITION—and in the terror ! of each to the other, and of each to the whole, and awoke. of all to each. She then gave us an optic glass which
No! we will be affronted, drop a courtesy, and ask
pardon for our presumption in expecting that Mr. OR “JOHN ANDERSON, MY JO, JOHN."
would waste his sense on two insignificant girls.
FRIEND. SCENE :—A spacious drawing-room, with music-room adjoining.
Well, well, I will be serious. Hem! Now then
commences the discourse; Mr. Moore's song being CATHERINE.
the text. Love, as distinguished from Friendship, on What are the words?
the one hand, and from the passion that too often
usurps its name, on the otherAsk our friend, the Improvisatore; here he comes :
LUCIUS. Kate has a favor to ask of you, Sir; it is that you (Eliza's brother, who had just joined the trio, in a will repeat the ballad that Mr. sung so sweetly. whisper to the Friend). But is not Love the union of
both ? FRIEND. It is in Moore's Irish Melodies; but I do not re
FRIEND (aside to Lucius). collect the words distinctly. The moral of them, He never loved who thinks so. however, I take to be this Love would remain the same if true,
Brother, we don't want you. There ! Mrs. H. canWhen we were neither young nor new:
not arrange the flower-vase without you. Thank you, Yea, and in all within the will that came,
l'll have my revenge! I know what I will say! What are the lines you repeated from Beaumont
ELIZA. and Fletcher, which my brother admired so much?
Off! off! Now dear sir,-Love, you were saying It begins with something about two vines so close that their tendrils intermingle.
Hush! Preaching, you mean, Eliza
Well then, I was saying that Love, truly such, is Circling our souls and loves in one another !
itself not the most common thing in the world: and, We'll spring together, and we'll bear one fruit; mutual love still less so. But that enduring personal One joy shall make us smile, and one grief mourn!
attachment, so beautifully delineated by Erin's sweet One age go with us, and one hour of death Shall close our eyes, and one grave make us happy. melodist, and still more touchingly, perhaps, in the
well-known ballad, “ John Anderson, my jo, John," CATHERINE. A precious boon, that would go far to reconcile in addition to a depth and constancy of character of one to old age—this love, if true! But is there any bility and tenderness of nature ; a constitutional com
no every-day occurrence, supposes a peculiar sensisuch true love?
municativeness and utterancy of heart and soul; a FRIEND. I hope so.
delight in the detail of sympathy, in the outward and
visible signs of the sacrament within—to count, as it CATHERINE. But do you believe it?
were, the pulses of the life of love. But above all, it
supposes a soul which, even in the pride and sume ELIZA (eagerly).
mer-tide of life--even in the lustihood of health and I am sure he does.
strength, had felt oftenest and prized highest that FRIEND.
which age cannot take away, and which in all our From a man turned of fifty, Catherine, I imagine, lovings, is the Love ;expects a less confident answer. CATHERINE.
There is something here (pointing to her heart) that A more sincere one, perhaps.
seems to understand you, but wants the word that
would make it understand itself. FRIEND. Even though he should have obtained the nick
CATHERINE. name of Improvisatore, by perpetrating charades and
I, too, seem to feel what you mean. Interpret the extempore verses at Christmas times?
feeling for us.
-I mean that willing sense of the insufficingNay, but be serious.
ness of the self for itself, which predisposes a gener
ous nature to see, in the total being of another, the Serious ? Doubtless. A grave personage of my supplement and completion of its own—that quiet years giving a love-lecture to two young ladies, can- perpetual seeking which the presence of the beloved not well be otherwise. The difficulty, I suspect, object modulates, not suspends, where the heart mo. would be for them to remain so. It will be asked mently finds, and, finding, again seeks on-lastly whether I am not the “elderly gentleman" who sate when“ life's changeful orb has pass'd the full," a despairing beside a clear stream,” with a willow confirmed faith in the nobleness of humanity, thus for his wig-block.
brought home and pressed, as it were, to the very ELIZA.
bosom of hourly experience: it supposes, I say, a Say another word, and we will call it downright heart-felt reverence for worth, not the less deep be. affectation.
cause divested of its solemnity by habit, by familiar