Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Alas! to mend the breaches wide

He made for these poor ninnies, They all must work, whate'er betide, Both days and months, and pay beside (Sad news for Avarice and for Pride)

A sight of golden guincas.

us in all directions, he should presume to offer to the public a silly tale of old-fashioned love: and five years ago, I own I should bave allowed and felt the force of this objection. But, alas! explosion has succeeded explosion so rapidly, ibat novelty itself ceases to appear now; and it is possible that now even a simple story, wbolly uuinspired with politics or personality, may find some attention amid the hubbub of revolutions, as to those wbo bave remained a long time by the falls of Niagara, the lowest whispering becomes distinctly audible.

S. T. C.

Dec. 21, 1799

But here once more to view did

pop The man that kept his senses. And now he cried— Stop, neighbours! stop! The Ox is mad! I would not swop, No, not a school-boy's farthing top,

For all the parish fences.

O leave the lily on its stem;
O leave the rose upon

the

spray; o leave the elder-bloom, fair maids!

And listen to my lay.

[blocks in formation]

She listen'd with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes

and modest

grace; For well she knew, I could not chuse

But gaze upon her face.

INTRODUCTION TO THE TALE OF THE DARK

LADIE. The following Poem is intended as the introduction to a somewhat longer one. The use of the old Ballad word Ladie for Lady, is the only piece of obsoleteness in it; aud as it is professedly a tale of ancient times, I trust that the affectionate lovers of venerable antiquity (as Camden says) will grant me their pardon, and perhaps may be induced to admit a force and propriety in it. A hoavior objection may be adduced against the author, that in these times of fear and expectation, wben novelties explode around

I told her of the Knight that wore

Upon his shield a burning brand; And how for ten long years he wood

The Ladie of the Land :

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

'T was partly love, and partly fear,

And partly 't was a bashful art, That I might rather feel than see

The swelling of her heart. I calm'd her fears, and she was calm,

And told her love with virgin pride; And so I won my Genevieve,

My bright and beauteous bride.

But when I told the cruel scorn

That crazed this bold and lovely Knight, And how he roam'd the mountain-woods,

Nor rested day or night. And how he cross'd the woodmau's paths,

Through briars and swampy mosses beat; How boughs rebounding scourged his limbs,

And low stubs gored his feet;
That sometimes from the savage den,

And sometimes from the darksome shade, And sometimes starting up at once

In green and sunny glade;
There came and look'd him in the face

An Angel beautiful and bright;
And how he knew it was a Fiend,

This miserable Knight!
And how, unknowing what he did,

He leapt amid a lawless band,
And saved from outrage worse than death

The Ladie of the Land !

And now once more a tale of woe,

A woeful tale of love I sing: For thee, my Genevieve! it sighs,

And trembles on the string. When last I sang the cruel scorn

That crazed this bold and lonely Knight, And how he roam'd the mountain-woods,

Nor rested day or night;
I promised thee a sister tale

Of man's perfidious cruelty:
Come, then, and hear what cr

wrong Befel the Dark Ladie.

And how she wept, and clasp'd his knees;

And how she tended him in vainAnd meekly strove to expiate

The scorn that crazed his brain :

LEWTI, OR THE CIRCASSIAN LOVE-CHAUNT.

At midnight by the stream I roved,
To forget the form I loved.
Image of Lewti! from my mind
Depart; for Lewti is not kind.

And how she nursed him in a cave;

And how his madness went away, When on the yellow forest-leaves

A dying man he lay; His dying words—but when I reach'd

That tend'rest strain of all the ditty, My falı'ring voice and pausing harp

Disturb'd her soul with pity! All impulses of soul and sense

Had thrilld my guiltless Genevieve; The music and the doleful tale,

The rich and balmy eve; And hopes and fears that kindle hope,

An undistinguishable throng, And gentle wishes long subdued,

Subdued and cherish'd long!

The moon was high, the moonlight gleam

And the shadow of a star
Heaved upon Tamaha's stream;

But the rock shone brighter far,
The rock half shelter'd from my view
By pendant boughs of tressy yew-
So shines my Lewti's forehead fair,
Gleaming through her sable hair.
Image of Lewti! from my mind
Depart; for Lewti is not kind.

She wept with pity and delight,

She blush'd with love and maiden-shame And, like the murmurs of a dream,

I hear her breathe my name.
I saw her bosom heave and swell,

Heave and swell with inward sighs—
I could not chuse but love to see

Her gentle bosom rise.

I saw a cloud of palest hue,

Onward to the moon it pass'd;
Still brighter and more bright it grew,
With floating colours not a few,

Till it reach'd the moon at last:
Then the cloud was wholly bright
With a rich and amber light!
And so with many a hope I seek

And with such joy I find my Lewti:
And even so my pale wan cheek

Drinks in as deep a flush of beauty! Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind, If Lewti never will be kind.

Away it

The little cloud--it floats away,

Away it goes; away so soon?
Alas! it has no power to stay:
Its hues are dim, its hues are grey-

passes

from the moon! How mournfully it seems to fly,

Ever fading more and more, To joyless regions of the sky

And now 't is whiter than before!
As white as my poor cheek will be,

When, Lewti! on my couch I lie,
A dying man for love of thee.
Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind -
And yet thou didst not look unkind.

O'er rocks, or bare or mossy, with wild foot
Crushing the purple whorts; while oft unseen,
Hurrying along the drifted forest-leaves,
The scared snake rustles. Onward still I toil,
I know not, ask not whither! A new joy,
Lovely as light, sudden as summer gust,
And gladsome as the first-born of the spring,
Beckons me on, or follows from behind,
Playmate, or guide! The master-passion quell’d,
I feel that I am free. With dun-red bark
The fir-trees, and the unfrequent slender oak,
Forth from this tangle wild of bush and brake
Soar

up, and form a melancholy vault
High o'er me, murmuring like a distant sea.

measure

I saw a vapour in the sky,

Here Wisdom might resort, and here Remorse; Thin, and white, and very high ;

Here too the love-lorn man who, sick in soul,
I ne'er beheld so thin a cloud :

And of this busy human heart aweary,
Perhaps the breezes that can fly

Worships the spirit of unconscious life
Now below and now above,

In tree or wild-flower.-Gentle Lunatic!
Have snatch'd aloft the lawny shroud

If so he might not wholly cease to be,
Of Lady fair-that died for love.

He would far rather not be that, he is ;
For maids, as well as youths, have perislı'd But would be something, that he knows not of,
From fruitless love too fondly cherish'd.

in winds or waters, or among the rocks!
Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind-
For Lewti never will be kind.

But hence, fond wretch! breathe not contagion here !

No myrtle-walks are these : these are no groves
Hush! my heedless feet from under

Where Love dare loiter! If in sullen mood
Slip the crumbling banks for ever :

He should stray hither, the low stumps shall gore
Like echoes to a distant thunder,

His dainty feet, the briar and the thorn
They plunge into the gentle river.

Make his plumes haggard. Like a wounded bird
The river-swans have heard my tread,

Easily caught, enspare him, O ye Nymphs, And startle from their reedy bed.

Ye Oreads chaste, ye dusky Dryades! O beauteous Birds! methinks

ye

And you, ye Earth-winds! you that make at morn
Your movements to some heavenly tune! The dew-drops quiver on the spiders' webs!
O beauteous Birds!'t is such a pleasure

You, O ye wingless Airs ! that creep between
To see you move beneath the moon,

The rigid stems of heath and bitten furze,
I would it were your true delight

Within whose scanty shade, at summer-noon, To sleep by day and wake all night.

The mother-sheep hath worn a hollow bed

Ye, that now cool her fleece with dropless damp, I know the place where Lewti lies,

Now pant and murmur with her feeding lamb.
When silent night has closed her eyes :

Chase, chase bim, all ye Fays, and elfin Gnomes!
It is a breezy jasmine-bower,

With prickles sharper than his darts bemock
The nightingale sings o'er her head :

His little Godship, making him perforce
Voice of the Night! had I the power

Creep through a thorn-bush on yon hedgehog's back.
That leafy labyrinth to thread,
And creep, like thee, with soundless tread,

This is my hour of triumph! I can now I then might view her bosom white

With my own fancies play the merry fool, Heaving lovely to my sight,

And laugh away worse folly, being free. As these two swans together heave

Here will I seat myself, beside this old, On the gently swelling wave.

Hollow, and weedy oak, which ivy-twine

Clothes as with net-work: here will I couch my limbs, Oh! that she saw me in a dream,

Close by this river, in this silent shade,
And dreamt that I had died for care;

As safe and sacred from the step of man

As an invisible world-unheard, unscen,
All pale and wasted I would seem,
Yet fair withal, as spirits are!

And list'ning only to the pebbly brook
I'd die indeed, if I might see

That murmurs with a dead, yet tinkling sound; Her bosom heave, and heave for me!

Or to the bees, that in the neighbouring trunk Soothe, gentle image! soothe my mind!

Make honey-hoards. The breeze, that visits me, To-morrow Lewti may be kind.

Was never Love's accomplice, never raised

The tendril ringlets from the maiden's brow, 1795.

And the blue, delicate veins above her cheek; THE PICTURE, OR THE LOVER'S RESOLUTION. The maiden's snowy bosom, scattering thence

Ne'er play'd the wanton-never half disclosed THROUGI Weeds and thorns, and malted underwood Eye-poisons for some love-distemper'd youth, 1 force my way; now climb, and now descend Who ne'er henceforth may see an aspen-grove

[blocks in formation]

a

Sweet breeze! thou only, if I guess aright,
Liftest the feathers of the robin's breast,
That swells its little breast, so full of song,
Singing above me, on the mountain-ash.
And thou too, desert Stream! no pool of thine,
Though clear as lake in latest summer-eve,
Did e'er reflect the stately virgin's robe,
The face, the form divine, the downcast look
Contemplative! Behold! her open palm
Presses her cheek and brow! her elbow rests
On the bare branch of half-uprooted tree,
That leans towards its mirror! Who erewhile
Had from her countenance turn'd, or look'd by stealth
(For fear is true love's cruel nurse), he now
With steadfast gaze and unoffending eye,
Worships the watery idol, dreaming hopes
Delicious to the soul, but Meeting, vain,
E'en as that phantom-world on which he gazed,
But not unheeded gazed : for see, ah! see,
The sportive tyrant with her left hand plucks
The beads of tall flowers that behind her grow,
Lychnis, and willow-herb, and fox-glove bells :
And suddenly, as one that toys with time,
Scatters them on the pool! Then all the charm
Is broken-all that phantom-world so fair
Vanishes, and a thousand circlets spread,
And each mis-shapes the other. Stay awhile,
Poor youth, who scarcely darest lift up thine eyes !
The stream will soon renew its smoothness, soon
The visions will return! And lo! he stays :
And soon the fragments dim of lovely forms
Come trembling back, unite, and now once more
The pool becomes a mirror; and behold
Each wild-flower on the marge inverted there,
And there the half-uprooted tree-but where,
O where the virgin's snowy arm, that lean'd
On its bare branch? He turns, and she is gone!
Homeward she steals through many a woodland maze
Which he shall seek in vain.

Ill-fated youth!
Go, day by day, and waste thy manly prime
In mad love-yearning by the vacant brook,
Till sickly thoughts bewitch thine eyes, and thou
Behold'st her shadow still abiding there,
The Naiad of the Mirror !

Placeless, as spirits, one soft water-sun
Throbbing within them, Heart at once and Eye !
With its soft neighbourhood of filmy clouds,
The stains and shadings of forgotten tears,
Dimness o'erswum with lustre! Such the hour
Of deep enjoyment, following love's brief feuds;
And bark, the noise of a near waterfall!
I pass forth into light-I find myself
Beneath a weeping birch (most beautiful
Of forest-trees, the Lady of the woods),
Hard by the brink of a tall weedy rock
That overbrows the cataract. How bursts
The landscape on my sight! Two crescent hills
Fold in behind each other, and so make
A circular vale, and land-lock'd, as might seem,
With brook and bridge, and grey stone cottages,
Half hid by rocks and fruit-irees. At my feel,
The whortle-herries are bedew'd with spray,
Dash'd upwards by the furious waterfall.
How solemnly the pendent ivy mass
Swings in its winnow: All the air is calm.
The smoke from cottage-chimneys, tinged with light,
Rises in columns; from this house alone,
Close by the waterfall, the column slants,
And feels its ceaseless breeze. But what is this?
That cottage, with its slanting chimney-smoke,
And close beside its porch a sleeping child,
His dear head pillow'd on a sleeping dog-
One arm between its fore-legs, and the hand
Holds loosely its small handful of wild-flowers,
Unfilleted, and of unequal lengths.
A curious picture, with a master's haste
Sketch'd on a strip of pinky-silver skin,
Peel'd from the birchen bark! Divinest maid!
Yon bark her canvas, and those purple berries
Her pencil! See, the juice is scarcely dried
On the fine skin! She has been newly here ;
And lo! yon patch of heath has been her couch-
The

pressure still remains! O blessed couch!
For this mayst thou flower early, and the Sun,
Slanting at eve, rest bright, and linger long
Upon thy purple bells! O Isabel!
Daughter of genius! stateliest of our maids!
More beautiful than whom Alcæus wooed,
The Lesbian woman of immortal song!
O child of genius! stately, beautiful,
And full of love to all, save only me,
And not ungentle e'en to me! My heart,
Why beats it thus ? Through yonder coppice-wood
Needs must the pathway turn, that leads straightway
On to her father's house. She is alone!
The night draws on-such ways are hard to hit-
Ånd fit it is I should restore this sketch,
Dropt unawares, no doubt. Why should I yearn
To keep the relique ? 't will but idly feed
The passion that consumes me. Let me haste!
The picture in my hand which she has left,
She cannot blame me that I follow'd her ;
And I may be ber guide the long wood through.

Not to thee, O wild and desert Stream! belongs this tale : Gloomy and dark art thou—the crowded firs Spire from thy shores, and stretch across thy bed, Making thee doleful as a cavern-well : Save when the shy king-fishers build their nest On thy steep banks, no loves hast thou, wild stream!

This be my chosen haunt-emancipate From passion's dreams, a freeman, and alone, I rise and trace its devious course. O lead, Lead me to deeper shades and lonelier glooms. Lo! stealing through the canopy of firs, How fair the sunshine spots that mossy rock, Isle of the river, whose disparted waves Dart off asunder with an angry sound, How soon to re-unite!

And see! they meet, Each in the other lost and found : and see

THE NIGHT-SCENE.

A DRAMATIC FRAGMENT.

SANDOVAL.

You loved the daughter of Don Manrique ?

« AnteriorContinuar »