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HOARSE Mævius reads his hobbling verse
But folks say Mævius is no ass;
pales drove my bark off 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 tbe introductory stanza, which had been commiuted to writing for the purpose of proeuring a friend's judgment on the metre, as a specimen.
THERE comes from old Avaro's grave
Last Monday all the papers said,
Encinctured witba twine of leaves,
But when the said report was found
Pity, indeed, 't is piiy!:
Your poem must eternal be,
I have bere given the birth, parentace, and premature decease of the - Wanderings of Cain, a poem, --intreating, however, my Readers not to think so meaply of my judgment, as to suppose ibat I eilber regard or offer it as any excuse for the publication of the following fragment (and, I may add, of one or two others in its neighbourhood), in its primitive crudity. But I should find still greater difficulty in forgiving myself, were I 10 record pro radio publico a set of petty misbaps and anooyances which I myself wish to forget. I must be content therefore with assuring the friendly Reader, that the less he attributes its appearance to the Author's will, choice, or judgment, the nearer to the truth be will be.
S. T. C.
SWANS sing before they die-'t were no bad thing
• A little further, O my father, yet a little further, and THE WANDERINGS OF CAIN.
we shall come into the open moonlight. Their road was through a forest of fir-trees; at its entrance the
trees stood at distances from each other, and the path PREFATORY NOTE.
was broad, and the moonlight, and the moonlight shaA PROSE composition, one not in metre at least, seems prima dows reposed upon it, and appeared quietly to inhabit facie to require explanation or apology. It was written in the year that solitude. But soon the path winded and became 1798, near Nother Slowey in Somersetsbire, at which place (sanctum parrow; the sun at high noon sometimes speckled, but et amabile nomen ! rich by so many associations and recollections) the Autbor bad taken up his residence in order to enjoy the society never illumined it, and now it was dark as a cavern. and close neighbourhood of a dear and honoured friend, T. Poole, « It is dark, O my father!, said Enos; • but the path Esq. The work was to bave been written in concert with another, under our feet is smooth and soft, and we shall soon whose name is too venerable within the precincts of genius to be
come out into the open moonlight... unnecessarily brought into connection with such a trifle, and who was then residing at a small distance from Nether Stowey. The « Lead on, my child!. said Cain : a guide me, little title and subject were suggested by myself, who likewise drew out child!» And the innocent little child clasped a finger of the scheme and the contents for each of the three books or Carlos,
the hand which had murdered the righteous Abel, and of which the work was to consist, and which, the reader is 10 be informed, was to have been finished in one night! My partner un
he guided his father. The fir branches drip upon dertook the first canto: I the second : and whichever had done first, thee, my son.. Yea, pleasantly, father, for I ran fast was to set about the third. Almost thirty years have passed by: and eagerly to bring thee the pitcher and the cake, and yet at this moment I cannot without something more than a smile moot the questiou which of the two things was the more imprace my body is not yet cool. How happy the squirrels are ticable, for a mind so eminently original to compose another man's that feed on these fir-trees! they leap from bough to thoughts and fancies, or for a taste so austerely pare and simple 10 bough, and the old squirrels play round their young imitate the Death of Abel! Methinks I see his grand and noble
ones in the nest. I clomb a tree yesterday at noon, O countenance as at the moment when having dispatched my own
my father, that I might play with them; but they leapt portion of the task at fall boger-speed, I hastened to him with my manuscript—that look of humorous despondency fixed on bis al-away from the branches, even to the slender iwigs did most blank sheet of paper, and then its silent mock-piteous admis- they leap, and in a moment I beheld thein on another sion of failure struggling with ibe sense of the exceeding ridicu tree. Why, O my father, would they not play with lousness of the whole scheme-which broke up in a laugh : and the
me? I would be good to them as thou art good to me: Ancient Mariner was written instead.
Years afterward, however, the draft of the Plan and proposed and I groaned to them even as thou groanest when thou Incidents, and the portioo exocuted, obtained farour in the vyes of givest me to eat, and when thou coverest me at evenmore than one person, whose judgment on a poctic work could nolling, and as often as I stand at thy knee and thine eyes but have weighed with me, even ihough no parental partiality bad look at me., Then Cain stopped, and stifling bis groans been thrown into the same scale, as a make-weight: and I delermined on commencing anew, and composing the whole in stanzas, he sank to the earth, and the child Enos stood in the and made some progress in realizing this intention, when adverse darkness beside him.
And Cain lifted up his voice and cried bitterly, and lie flat on the ground, but its base slanted from its said, « The Mighty One that persecuteth me is on this point, and between its point and the sands á tall man side and on that; he pursueth my soul like the wind, might stand upright. It was here that Enos had found like the sand-blast he passeth through me; he is around the pitcher and cake, and to this place he led his father. me even as the air! O that I might be utterly no more! But ere they had reached the rock they beheld a human I desire to die-yea, the things that never had life, shape : his back was towards them, and they were adneither move they upon the eartha— belold! they seem vancing unperceived, wben they heard him smite his precious to mine eyes. O that a man might live with breast and cry aloud, «Wo is me! wo is me! I must out the breath of his nostrils! So I might abide in dark- never die again, and yet I am perishivg with chirst and ness, and blackness, and an empty space! Yea, I would hunger.. lie down, I would not rise, neither would I stir my Pallid, as the reflection of the sheeted lightning on limbs till I became as the rock in the den of the lion, the heavy-sailing night-cloud, became the face of Cain; on which the young lion resteth his head whilst he but the child Enos took hold of the shaggy skin, his sleepeth. For the torrent that roareth far off hath a father's robe, and raised his eyes to his father, and voice, and the clouds in heaven look terribly on me; listening whispered, • Ere yet I could speak, I am sure, the Mighty One who is against me speaketh in the wind O my father! that I heard that voice. Have not I often of the cedar grove; and in silence am I dried up.. said that I remembered a sweet voice. O my father ! this Then Enos spake to his father : • Arise my father, arise, is it :- and Cain trembled exceedingly. The voice was we are but a little way from the place where I found sweet indeed, but it was thrin and querulous like that of the cake and the pitcher., And Cain said, « How
a feeble slave in misery, who despairs altogether, yet can. knowest thou ?» and the child answered—. Behold the not refrain himself from weeping and lamentation. bare rocks are a few of thy strides distant from the And, behold ! Enos glided forward, and creeping softly forest; and while even now thou wert lifting up thy round the base of the rock, stood before the stranger, voice, I heard the echo.» Then the child took hold of and looked up into his face. And the Shape shrieked, his father, as if he would raise him : and Cain being and turned round, and Cain beheld him, that his limbs faint and feeble, rose slowly on his knees and pressed and his face were those of his brorber Abel whom he had himself against the trunk of a fir, and stood upright, killed! And Cain stood like one who struggles in his and followed the child.
sleep because of the exceeding terribleness of a dream. The path was dark till within three strides' length of Thus as he stood in silence and darkness of soul, the its termination, when it turned suddenly; the thick Shape fell at his feet, and embraced his knees, and cried black trees formed a low arch, and the moonlight ap- out with a bitter outcry, « Thou eldest born of Adam, peared for a moment like a dazzling portal. Enos ran whom Eve, my mother, brought forth, cease to torment before and stood in the open air; and when Cain, his me! I was feeding my flocks in green pastures by the father, emerged from the darkness, the child was af- side of quiet rivers, and thou killedst me; and now I am frighted. For the mighty limbs of Cain were wasted as in misery." Then Cain closed his eyes, and hid them by fire; his hair was as the matted curls on the Bison's with his hands; and again he opened his eyes, and forehead, and so glared his fierce and sullen eye be- looked around him, and said to Enos, • What beholdest neath : and the black abundant locks on either side, a thou? Didst thou hear a voice, my son ?» rank and tangled mass, were stained and scorched, as father, I beheld a man in unclean garments, and he though the grasp of a burning iron hand had striven to uttered a sweet voice, full of lamentation. Then Cain rend them; and his countenance told in a strange and raised up the Shape that was like Abel, and said :-.The terrible language of agonies that had been, and were, Creator of our father, who had respect unto thee, and and were still to continue to be.
unto tly offering, wherefore hath be forsaken thee ?. Th scene around was desolate; as far as the eye Then the Shape shrieked a second time, and rent his could reach it was desolate : the bare rocks faced each garment, and his naked skin was like the white sands other, and left a long and wide interval of thin white beneath their feet; and he shrieked yet a third time, sand. You might wander on and look round and and threw himself on his face upon the sand that was round, and peep into the crevices of the rocks and dis- black with the shadow of the rock, and Cain and Enos cover nothing that acknowledged the influence of the sate beside him ; the child by his right hand, and Cain seasons. There was no spring, no summer, no autumn: by his left. They were all three under the rock, and and the winter's snow, that would have been lovely, within the shadow. The Shape that was like Abel fell not on these hot rocks and scorching sands. Never raised himself up, and spake to the child : « I know morning lark had poised himself over this desert; but where the cold waters are, but I may not drink; wherethe huge serpent often hissed there beneath the talons fore didst thou then take away my pitcher ?, But Cain of the vulture, and the vulture screamed, his wings im- said, Didst thou not find favour in the sight of the prisoned within the coils of the serpent. The pointed Lord thy God ?» The Shape answered, «The Lord is God and shattered summits of the ridges of the rocks made of the living only, the dead have another God.» Then a rude mimicry of human concerns, and seemed to the child Enos lifted up
eyes and prayed; but Cain prophecy mutely of things that then were not; steeples, rejoiced secretly in his heart. Wretched shall they be and battlements, and ships with naked masts. As far all the days of their mortal life,» exclaimed the Shape, from the wood as a boy might sling a pebble of the l« who sacrifice worthy and acceptable sacrifices to the brook, there was one rock by itself at a small distance God of the dead; but after death their toil ceaseth. Woe from the main ridge. Jt had been precipitated there is me, for I was well beloved by the God of the living, perhaps by the groan which the Earth uttered when our and cruel wert thou, O my brother, who didst snateh first father fell. Before you approached, it appeared to me away from his power and his dominion.. Having
uttered these words, he rose suddenly, and Ned over the now unfelt, but never forgotten. It was at once the sands; and Cain said in his heart, « The curse of the melancholy of hope and of resignation. Lord is on me; but who is the God of the dead ?, and he We had not long been fellow-travellers, ere a sudden ran after the Shape, and the Shape fled shrieking over tempest of wind and rain forced us to seek protection in the sands, and the sands rose like white mists behind the the vaulted door-way of a lone chapelry: and we sate steps of Cain, but the feet of him that was like Abel dis- face to face each on the stone bench along-side the low, turbed not the sands. He greatly outran Cain, and weather-stained wall, and as close as possible to the turning short, he wheeled round, and came again to the massy door. rock where they had been sitting, and where Enos still After a pause of silence : Even thus, said he, like two slood; and the child caught hold of his garment as he strangers that have fled to the same shelter from the passed by, and he fell upon the ground. And Cain same storm, not seldom do Despair and Hope meet for stopped, and beholding him not, said, « he has passed the first time in the porch of Death! All extremes meet, into the dark woods,» and he walked slowly back to the I answered ; but yours was a strange and visionary rocks; and when he reached it the child told him that thought. The better then doth it beseem both the place he had caught hold of his garment as he passed by, and and me, he replied. From a Visionary wilt thou hear a that the man had fallen upon the ground: and Cain Vision ? Mark that vivid flash through this torrent of once more sate beside him, and said, " Abel, my brother, rain! Fire and water. Even here thy adage holds true, I would lament for thee, but that the spirit within me is and its truth is the moral of my Vision. I en treated him withered, and burnt up with extreme agony. Now, I to proceed. Sloping his face toward the arch and yet pray thee, by thy flocks, and by thy pastures, and by the averting his eye from it, be seemed to seek and prepare quiet rivers which thou lovedst, that thou tell me all that his words : till listening to the wind that echoed within thou knowest. Who is the God of the dead? where doth the hollow edifice, and to the rain without, be make his dwelling? what sacrifices are acceptable
Which stole on his thoughts with its two-fold sound, unto him? for I have offered, but have not been re
The clash hard by and the murmur ull round, ceived; I have prayed, and have not been heard ; and how can I be aftlicted more than I already am ?. The he gradually sunk away, alike from me and from his Shape arose and answered, « O that thou hadst had pity own purpose, and amid the gloom of the storm, and in on me as I will have pity on thee. Follow me, Son of the duskiness of that place, he sate like an emblem on a Adam ! and bring thy child with thee!,
rich man's sepulchre, or like a mourner on the sodded And they three passed over the white sands between grave of an only one-an aged mourner, who is watching the rocks, silent as the shadows.
the waned moon and sorroweth not. Starting at length from his brief trance of abstraction, with courtesy and an atoning smile he renewed his discourse, and com
menced his parable. ALLEGORIC VISION..
During one of those short furloughs from the service A FERLING of sadness, a peculiar melancholy, is wont to
of the Body, which the Soul may sometimes obtain even take possession of me alike in Spring and in Autumn. in this, its militant state, I found myself in a vast plain, But in Spring it is the melancholy of Hope : in Autumn which I immediately knew to be the Valley of Life. li it is the melancholy of Resignation. As I was jour- possessed an astonishing diversity of soils : and here was neying on foot through the Apennine, I fell in with a mixture of sunshine and shade, as we may have observed
a sunny spot, and there a dark one, forming just such a pilgrim in whom the Spring and the Autumn and the Melancholy of both seemed to have combined. In his on the mountains' sile in an April day, when the thin discourse ihere were the freshness and the colours of broken clouds are scattered over heaven. Almost in the April :
very entrance of the valley stood a large and gloomy
pile, into which I seemed constrained to enter. Every Qual raricel a ramo,
part of the building was crowded with tawdry orvaTal da pensier pensiero Ja lui germogliava.
ments and fantastic deformity. On every window was
pourtrayed, in glaring and inclegant colours, some horBut as I gazed on his whole form and figure, I bethought rible tale, or preternatural incident, so that not a ray of me of the not unlovely decays, both of age and of the light could enter, untinged by the medium through late season, in the stately elm, after the clusters have which it passed. The body of the building was full of been plucked from its entwining vines, and the vines are people, some of them dancing, in and out, in unintellias bands of dried withies around its trunk and branches. gible figures, with strange ceremonies and antic merriEven so there was a memory on his smooth and ample ment, while others seemed convulsed with horror, or forehead, which blended with the dedication of his pining in mad melancholy. Intermingled with these, I steady eyes, that still looked—I know not, whether observed a number of men, clothed in ceremonial robes, upward, or far onward, or rather to the line of meeting who appeared, now to marshal the various groups and where the sky rests upon the distance. But how may I to direct their movements, and now with menacing express that dimness of abstraction which lay on the countenances, to drag some reluctant victim to a vast lustre of the pilgrim's eyes, like the flitting tarnish from idol, framed of iron bars intercrossed, which formed at the breath of a sigh on a silver mirror! and which ac- the same time an immense cage, and the shape of a corded with their slow and reluctant movement, when- buman Colossus. ever he turned them to any object on the right hand or I stood for a while lost in wonder what these things on the left? It seemed, methought, as if there lay upon might mean; when lo! one of the directors came up 10 the brightness a shadowy presence of disappointments me, and with a stern and reproachful look bade me
upcover my head, for that the place into which I had the whole, and of all to each. She then gave us an entered was the temple of the only true Religion, in the optic glass which assisted without contradicting our naholier recess of which the great Goddess personally re-tural vision, and enabled us to see far beyond the limits sided. Himself too he bade me reverence, as the conse- of the Valley of Life: though our eye even thus assisted crated minister of ler rites. Awe-struck by the name permitted us only to behold a light and a glory, but what of Religion, I bowed before the priest, and humbly and we could not descry, save only that it was,
and that it earnestly intreated him to conduct me into her presence. was most glorious He assented. Offerings he took from me, with mystic And now, with the rapid transition of a dream, I had sprinklings of water and with salt he purified, and with overtaken and rejoined the more numerous party, who strange suftlations he exorcised me; and then led me had abruptly left us, indignant at the very name of rethrough many a dark and winding alley, the dew-ligion. They journeyed on, goading each other with redamps of which chilled my flesh, and the hollow echoes membrances of past oppressions, and never looking under my feet, mingled, methought, with moanings, back, till in the eagerness to recede from the Temple of affrighted me. At length we entered a large hall, Superstition, they had rounded the whole circle of the without window, or spiracle, or lamp. The asylum and valley. And lo! there faced us the mouth of a vast dormitory it seemed of perennial night-only that the cavern, at the base of a lofty and almost perpendicular walls were brought to the eye by a number of self Ju- rock, the interior side of which, unknown to them, and minous inscriptions in letters of a pale pulchral light, unsuspected, formed the extreme and backward wall of that held strange neutrality with the darkness, on the the Temple. An impatient crowd, we entered the vast verge of which it kept its rayless vigil. I could read and dusky cave, which was the only perforation of the them, methought; but though each one of the words precipice. At the mouth of the cave sate two figures ; taken separately I seemed to understand, yet when I took the first, by her dress and gestures, I knew to be Sensuthem in sentences, they were riddles and incomprehen- ALITY; the second form, from the fierceness of his desible. As I stood meditating on these hard sayings, my meanour, and the brutal scorpfulness of his looks, deguide thus addressed me—Read and believe: these are clared himself to be the monster BLASPHEMY. He utterMysteries! — At the extremity of the vast hall the Goddessed big words, and yet ever and anon I observed that he was placed. Her features, blended with darkness, rose turned pale at his own courage. We entered. Some out to my view, terrible, yet vacant. I prostrated remained in the opening of the cave, with the one or the myself before lier, and then retired with my guide, soul- other of its guardians. The rest, and I among them, withered, and wondering, and dissatisfied.
pressed on, till we reached an ample chamber, that As I re-entered the body of the temple, I heard a deep seemed the centre of the rock. The climate of the place buzz as of discontent. A few whose eyes were bright, was unnaturally cold. and either piercing or steady, and whose ample foreheads, In the furthest distance of the chamber sate an old with the weighty bar, ridge-like, above the eyebrows, dim-eyed man, poring with a microscope over the Torso bespoke observation followed by meditative thought; of a statue which hath neither basis, nor feet, nor head; and a much larger number, who were enraged by the buton its breast was carved Nature! To this he conseverity and insolence of the priests in exacting their tinually applied his glass, and seemed enraptured with offerings, had collected in one tumultuous group, and the various inequalities which it rendered visible on the with a confused outcry of this is the 'Temple of Super- seemingly polished surface of the marble.— Yet evermore stition !» after much contumely, and turmoil, and cruel was this delight and triumph followed by expressions of mal-treatment on all sides, rushed out of the pile : and hatred, and vehement railings against a Being, who yet, I, methought, joined them.
he assured us, had no existence. This mystery suddenly We speeded from the Temple with hasty steps, and recalled to me what I had read in the Holicst Recess of had now nearly gone round half the valley, when we the temple of Superstition. The old man spoke in divers were addressed by a woman, tall beyond the stature of tongues, and continued to utter other and most strange mortals, and with a something more than human in her mysteries. Among the rest he talked much and vellecountenance and mien, which yet could by mortals be mently concerning an infinite series of causes and effects, only felt, not conveyed by words or intelligibly distin- which he explained to be-a string of blind men, the guished. Deep reflection, animated by ardent feelings, last of whom caught hold of the skirt of the one before was displayed in them: and hope, without its uncertainty, him, he of the next, and so on till they were all out of and a something more than all these, which I understood sight:and that they all walked infallibly straight, without not, but which yet seemed to blend all these into a di-making one false step, though all were alike blind. vine unity of expression. Her garments were white and Methought I borrowed courage from surprise, and asked matronly, and of the simplest texture. We inquired him-Who then is at the head to guide them? He looked her name. My name, she replied, is Religion.
at me with ineffable contempt, not unmixed with an The more numerous part of our company, affrighted angry suspicion, and then replied, “No one., The string by the very sound, and sore from recent impostures or of blind men went on for ever without any beginning : sorceries, hurried onwards and examined no farther. A for although one blind man could not move without few of us, struck by the manifest opposition of her form stumbling, yet infinite blindness supplied the want of and manners to those of the living Idol, whom we had sight. I burst into laughter, which instantly turned to 80 recently abjured, agreed to follow her, though with terror--for as he started forward in rage, I caught a cautious circumspertion. She led us to an eminence in glance of him from behind; and lo! beheld a monster the midst of the valley, from the top of which we could bi-form and Janus-headed, in the hinder face and shape command the whole plain, and observe the relation of of which I instantly recoguized the dread countenance the different parts of cach to the other, and of each to of SUPERSTITION-and in the terror I awoke.