Imágenes de páginas

Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past,
Mix'd with such feelings, as perplex the soul
Self-question'd in her sleep; and some have said '
We lived, ere yet this robe of Flesh we wore.
O my sweet baby! when I reach my door,
If heavy looks should tell me thou art dead
(As sometimes, through excess of hope, I fear),
I think that I should struggle to believe

Thou wert a spirit, to this nether sphere
Sentenced for some more venial crime to grieve;
Didst scream, then spring to meet Heaven's quick reprieve,
While we wept idly o'er thy little bier!



CHARLES! my slow heart was only sad, when first
I scann'd that face of feeble infancy:
For dimly on my thoughtful spirit burst

All I had been, and all my child might be!
But when I saw it on its Mother's arm,

And hanging at her bosom (she the while Bent o'er its features with a tearful smile) Then I was thrill'd and melted, and most warm Impress'd a Father's kiss: and all beguiled

Of dark remembrance and presageful fear, I seem'd to see an angel-form appear― 'T was even thine, beloved woman mild!

So for the Mother's sake the Child was dear, And dearer was the Mother for the Child.

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The fern was press'd beneath her hair,
The dark green Adder's Tongue' was there;
And still as past the flagging sea-gale weak,
The long lank leaf bow'd fluttering o'er her cheek.

That pallid cheek was flush'd: her eager look
Beam'd eloquent in slumber! Inly wrought,
Imperfect sounds her moving lips forsook,

And her bent forehead work'd with troubled thought.
Strange was the dream——



MARK this holy chapel well!

The Birth-place, this, of William Tell.
Here, where stands God's altar dread,
Stood his parents' marriage-bed.

Here first, an infant to her breast,
Him his loving mother prest;

And kiss'd the babe, and bless'd the day,
And pray'd as mothers use to pray :

. Vouchsafe him health, O God, and give
The Child thy servant still to live!»

But God had destined to do more

Through him, than through an armed power.

God gave
him reverence of laws,

Yet stirring blood in Freedom's cause

A spirit to his rocks akin,

The eye of the Hawk, and the fire therein!

To Nature and to Holy writ

Alone did God the boy commit:

Where flash'd and roar'd the torrent, oft His soul found wings, and soar'd aloft!

The straining oar and chamois chase

Had form'd his limbs to strength and grace:
On wave and wind the boy would toss,
Was great, nor knew how great he was!

He knew not that his chosen hand, Made strong by God, his native land Would rescue from the shameful yoke Of Slavery--the which he broke!


THE Shepherds went their hasty way,
And found the lowly stable-shed
Where the Virgin-Mother lay:

And now they check'd their eager tread,
For to the Babe, that at her bosom clung,
A Mother's song the Virgin-Mother sung.

They told her how a glorious light,
Streaming from a heavenly throng,
Around them shone, suspending night!

While, sweeter than a Mother's song,
Blest Angels heralded the Saviour's birth,
Glory to God on high! and Peace on Earth.

A botanical mistake. The plant which the poet here describes is called the Hart's Tongue.

She listen'd to the tale divine,

And closer still the Babe she press'd; And while she cried, the Babe is mine! The milk rush'd faster to her breast: Joy rose within her, like a summer's morn; Peace, Peace on Earth! the Prince of Peace is born.

Thou Mother of the Prince of Peace, Poor, simple, and of low estate! That Strife should vanish, Battle cease, O why should this thy soul elate? Sweet Music's loudest note, the Poet's story,-Did'st thou ne'er love to hear of Fame and Glory?

And is not War a youthful King,
A stately Hero clad in Mail?
Beneath his footsteps laurels spring;

Him Earth's majestic monarchs hail

Their Friend, their Playmate! and his bold bright eye Compels the maiden's love-confessing sigh.

« << Tell this in some more courtly scene,

To maids and youths in robes of state!

I am a woman poor and mean,

And therefore is my Soul elate. War is a ruffian, all with guilt defiled, That from the aged Father tears his Child!

A murderous fiend, by fiends adored, He kills the Sire and starves the Son; The Husband kills, and from her board Steals all his Widow's toil had won; Plunders God's world of beauty; rends away All safety from the Night, all comfort from the Day.

Then wisely is my soul elate,

That Strife should vanish, Battle cease:

I'm poor and of a low estate,

The Mother of the Prince of Peace.

Joy rises in me, like a summer's morn:

Peace, Peace on Earth! the Prince of Peace is born."



Ir dead, we cease to be; if total gloom
Swallow life's brief flash for aye, we fare
As summer-gusts, of sudden birth and doom,
Whose sound and motion not alone declare,
But are their whole of being! If the Breath
Be Life itself, and not its task and tent,

If even a soul like Milton's can know death;
O Man! thou vessel purposeless, unmeant,
Yet drone-hive strange of phantom purposes!
Surplus of nature's dread activity,
Which, as she gazed on some nigh-finished vase,
Retreating slow, with meditative pause,

She form'd with restless hands unconsciously!
Blank accident! nothing's anomaly!

If rootless thus, thus substanceless thy state, Go, weigh thy dreams, and be thy Hopes, thy Fears, The counter-weights!-Thy Laughter and thy Tears Mean but themselves, each fittest to create,

And to repay the other! Why rejoices
Thy heart with hollow joy for hollow good?
Why cowl thy face beneath the Mourner's hood,
Why waste thy sighs, and thy lamenting voices,

Image of image, Ghost of Ghostly Elf,
That such a thing as thou feel'st warm or cold!
Yet what and whence thy gain, if thou withhold
These costless shadows of thy shadowy self?
Be sad! be glad! be neither! seek, or shun!
Thou hast no reason why! Thou canst have none :
Thy being's being is contradiction.

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But soon did righteous Heaven her guilt pursue! Where'er with wilder'd step she wander'd pale, Still Edmund's image rose to blast her view,

Still Edmund's voice accused her in each gale.

With keen regret, and conscious guilt's alarms,
Amid the pomp of affluence she pined;
Nor all that lured her faith from Edmund's arms
Could lull the wakeful horror of her mind.

Go, Traveller! tell the tale with sorrow fraught:
Some tearful maid perchance, or blooming youth,
May hold it in remembrance; and be taught
That Riches cannot pay for Love or Truth.



[THE following fragment is here published at the request of a poet of great and deserved celebrity, and, as far as the Author's own opinions are concerned, rather as a psychological curiosity, than on the ground of any supposed poetic merits.

In the summer of the year 1797, the Author, then in ill health had retired to a lonely farm-house between Porlock and Linton, on the Exmoor confines of Somerset and Devonshire. In consequence of a slight indisposition, an anodyne had been prescribed, from the effects of which he fell asleep in his chair at the moment that he was reading the following sentence, or words of the same substance, in Purchas's Pilgrimage: Here the Khan Kubla commanded a palace to be built, and a stately garden thereunto; and thus ten miles of fertile ground were inclosed with a wall. The author continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, at least of the external senses, during which time he has the most vivid confidence that he could not have composed less than from two to three hundred lines; if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation, or consciousness of effort. On awaking he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved. At this moment be was unfortunately called out by a person on business from Porlock, and detained by him above an hour, and on his return to his room, found, to his no small surprise and mortification, that though he still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered lines and images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a stream into which a stone had been cast, but, alas! without the after restoration of the latter:

Then all the charm

Is broken-all that phantom-world so fair
Vanishes, and a thousand circlets spread,
And each mis-shape 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.

Yet from the still surviving recollections in his mind, the Author has frequently purposed to finish for himself what had been originally, as it were, given to him. Zapepov zôtov xaos: but the

to-morrow is yet to come.

As a contrast to this vision, I have annexed a fragment of a very different character, describing with equal fidelity the dream of pain and disease. Note to the first Edition, 1816.]

IN Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree?
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man,
Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round:
And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossom'd many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted

As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced :
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail :
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles, meandering with a mazy motion,
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reachi'd the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer

In a vision once I saw :

It was an Abyssinian maid,

And on her dulcimer she play'd,
Singing of Mount Abora.

Could I revive within me

Her symphony and song,

To such a deep delight 't would win me,

That with music loud and long,

I would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed
And drank the milk of Paradise.

Since in me, round me, every where Eternal Strength and Wisdom are.

But yester-night I pray'd aloud
In anguish and in agony,

Up-starting from the fiendish crowd

Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me:
A lurid light, a trampling throng,
Sense of intolerable wrong,

And whom I scorn'd, those only strong!
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will
Still baffled, and yet burning still!
Desire with loathing strangely mix'd,
On wild or hateful objects fix'd.
Fantastic passions! maddening brawl!
And shame and terror over all!
Deeds to be hid which were not hid,
Which all confused I could not know,
Whether I suffer'd, or I did:
For all seem'd guilt, remorse, or woe,
My own or others, still the same
Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame.

So two nights pass'd: the night's dismay
Sadden'd and stunn'd the coming day.
Sleep, the wide blessing, seem'd to me
Distemper's worst calamity.

The third night, when my own loud scream
Had waked me from the fiendish dream,
O'ercome with sufferings strange and wild,
I wept as I had been a child;
And having thus by tears subdued
My anguish to a milder mood,
Such punishments, I said, were due
To natures deepliest stain'd with sin :
For aye entempesting anew
The unfathomable hell within,
The horror of their deeds to view,
To know and loathe, yet wish and do!
Such griefs with such men well agree,
But wherefore, wherefore fall on me?
To be beloved is all I need,

And whom I love, I love indeed.



ERE on my bed my limbs I lay,

It hath not been my use to pray
With moving lips or bended knees;
But silently, by slow degrees,
My spirit I to Love compose,
In humble Trust mine eye-lids close,
With reverential resignation,

No wish conceived, no thought express'd!
Only a sense of supplication.
A sense o'er all my soul imprest
That I am weak, yet not unblest,


(See page 26).

Ar the house of a gentleman, who by the principles and corresponding virtues of a sincere Christian consecrates a cultivated genius and the favourable accidents of birth, opulence, and splendid connexions, it was my good fortune to meet, in a dinner-party, with more men of celebrity in science or polite literature, than are commonly found collected round the same table. In the course of conversation, one of the party reminded an illustrious Poet, then present, of some verses which he had recited that morning, and which had appeared in a newspaper under the name of a War-Eclogue, in which Fire, Famine, and Slaughter, were introduced as the speakers. The gentleman so addressed replied, that he was rather

passion is, the fewer and the more fixed are the correspondent forms and notions. A rooted hatred, an inveterate thirst of revenge, is a sort of madness, and still eddies round its favourite object, and exercises as it were a perpetual tautology of mind in thoughts and words, which admit of no adequate substitutes. Like a fish in

a globe of glass, it moves restlessly round and round the scanty circumference, which it cannot leave without losing its vital element.

surprised that none of us should have noticed or heard | strengthens it. But the more intense and insane the of the poem, as it had been, at the time, a good deal talked of in Scotland. It may be easily supposed, that my feelings were at this moment not of the most comfortable kind. Of all present, one only knew, or suspected me to be the author: a man who would have established himself in the first rank of England's living Poets, if the Genius of our country had not decreed that he should rather be the first in the first rank of its Philosophers and scientific Benefactors. It appeared the general wish to hear the lines. As my friend chose to remain silent, I chose to follow his example, and Mr ***** recited the Poem. This he could do with the better grace, being known to have ever been not only a firm and active Anti-Jacobin and Anti-Gallican, but likewise a zealous admirer of Mr Pitt, both as a good man and a great Statesman. As a Poet exclusively, he had been amused with the Eclogue; as a Poet, he recited it; and in a spirit, which made it evident, that he would have read and repeated it with the same pleasure, had his own name been attached to the imaginary object or agent.

After the recitation, our amiable host observed, that in his opinion Mr ***** had over-rated the merits of the poetry; but had they been tenfold greater, they could not have compensated for that malignity of heart, which could alone have prompted sentiments so atrocious. I perceived that my illustrious friend became greatly distressed on my account; but fortunately I was able to preserve fortitude and presence of mind enough to take up the subject without exciting even a suspicion how nearly and painfully it interested me.

What follows, is substantially the same as I then replied, but dilated and in language less colloquial. It was not my intention, I said, to justify the publication, whatever its author's feelings might have been at the time of composing it. That they are calculated to call forth so severe a reprobation from a good man, is not the worst feature of such poems. Their moral deformity is aggravated in proportion to the pleasure which they are capable of affording to vindictive, turbulent, and unprincipled readers. Could it be supposed, though for a moment, that the author seriously wished what he had thus wildly imagined, even the attempt to palliate an inhumanity so monstrous would be an insult to the hearers. But it seemed to me worthy of consideration, whether the mood of mind, and the general state of sensations, in which a Poet produces such vivid and fantastic images, is likely to co-exist, or is even compatible with, that gloomy and deliberate ferocity which a serious wish to realize them would pre-suppose. It had been often observed, and all my experience tended to confirm the observation, that prospects of pain and evil to others, and in general, all deep feelings of revenge, are commonly expressed in a few words, ironically tame, and mild. The mind under so direful and fiend-like an influence seems to take a morbid pleasure in contrasting the intensity of its wishes and feelings, with the slightness or levity of the expressions by which they are hinted; and indeed feelings so intense and solitary, if they were not precluded (as in almost all cases they would be) by a constitutional activity of fancy and association, and by the specific joyousness combined with it, would assuredly themselves preclude such activity. Passion, in its own quality, is the antagonist of action; though in an ordinary and natural degree the former alternates with the latter, and thereby revives and

There is a second character of such imaginary representations as spring from a real and earnest desire of evil to another, which we often see in real life, and might even anticipate from the nature of the mind. The images, I mean, that a vindictive man places before his imagination, will most often be taken from the realities of life: they will be images of pain and suffering which he has himself seen inflicted on other men, and which he can fancy himself as inflicting on the object of his hatred. I will suppose that we had heard at different times two common sailors, each speaking of some one who had wronged or offended him that the first with apparent violence had devoted every part of his adversary's body and soul to all the horrid phantoms and fantastic places that ever Quevedo dreamt of, and this in a rapid flow of those outré and wildly-combined execrations, which too often with our lower classes serve for escape-valves to carry off the excess of their passions, as so much superfluous steam that would endanger the vessel if it were retained. The other, on the contrary, with that sort of calmness of tone which is to the car what the paleness of anger is to the eye, shall simply say, If I chance to be made boatswain, as I hope I soon shall, and can but once get that fellow under my hand (and I shall be upon the watch for him), I'll tickle his pretty skin! I wont hurt him! oh no! I'll only cut the ➖➖➖ to the liver! I dare appeal to all present, which of the two they would regard as the least deceptive symptom of deliberate malignity? nay, whether it would surprise them to see the first fellow, an hour or two afterward, cordially shaking hands with the very man, the fractional parts of whose body and soul he had been so charitably disposing of; or even perhaps risking his life for him. What language Shakspeare considered characteristic of malignant disposition, we see in the speech of the good-natured Gratiano, who spoke infinite deal of nothing more than any man in all Venice;»

-Too wild, too rude and bold of voice!

☐ an

the skipping spirit, whose thoughts and words recipro-
cally ran away with each other;

O be thou damn'd, inexorable dog!
And for thy life let justice be accused!

and the wild fancies that follow, contrasted with Shylock's tranquil « I stand here for law."

Or, to take a case more analogous to the present subject, should we hold it either fair or charitable to believe it to have been Dante's serious wish, that all the persons mentioned by him, (many recently departed, and some even alive at the time), should actually suffer the fantastic and horrible punishments, to which he has sentenced them in his Hell and Purgatory? Or what shall we say of the passages in which Bishop Jeremy Taylor anticipates the state of those who, vicious themselves,

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