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While others wish thee wise and fair,
A maid of spotless fame, I'll breathe this more compendious prayer
Mayst thou deserve thy name!
Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past,
We lived, ere yet this robe of Flesh we wore.
O my sweet baby! when I reach my door,
Thou wert a spirit, to this nether sphere
While we wept idly o'er thy little bier!
Thy Mother's name, a potent spell,
That bids the Virtues bie From mystic grove and living cell
Confest to Fancy's eye;
Meek Quietness, without offence;
Content, in homespun kirtle; True Love ; and Truc Love's Innocence,
White Blossom of the Myrtle !
TO A FRIEND WHO ASKED, HOW I FELT WHEN THE
NURSE FIRST PRESENTED MY INFANT TO ME.
CHARLES! my slow heart was only sad, when first
All I had been, and all my child might be!
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 seemd 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.
Some hoary-headed Friend, perchance,
May gaze with stifled breath ; And oft, in momentary trance,
Forget the waste of death.
Ev'n thus a lovely rose I view'd
In summer-swelling pride ; Nor mark'd the bud, that green and rude
Peep'd at the Rose's side.
He knew not that his chosen band,
ON THE DENIAL OF IMMORTALITY.
Ir dead, we cease to be; if total gloom
Swallow up 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,
Mean but themselves, each fittest to create,
But soon did righteous Heaven her guilt pursue!
Where'er with wilder'd step she wander'd pale,
Still Edmund's voice accused her in each gale.
And to repay the other! Why rejoices
Thy heart with hollow joy for bollow good ?
Why cowl thy face beneath the Mourner's hood,
Image of image, Ghost of Ghostly Elf,
These costless shadows of thy shadowy self?
With keen regret, and conscious guilt's alarins,
Amid the pomp of affluence she pined;
Could lull the wakeful horror of her mind.
Go, Traveller! tell the tale with sorrow fraught :
Some tearful maid perchance, or blooming youth,
That Richies cannot pay for Love or Truth.
THE VISIT OF THE GODS.
IMITATED FROM SCHILLER.
Never, believe me,
OR, A VISION IN A DREAM.
(The following fragment is bere published at the request of a poet
of great and deserved celebrity, and, as far as the Author's own opiLo! Phoebus the Glorious descends from his Throne!
nions are concerned, rather as a psychological curiosity, than on the They advance, they float in, the Olympians all!
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 Lipton, on
the Exmoor con fines of Somerset and Devonshire. In consequence How shall I yield you
of a slight indisposition, an apodyne had been prescribed, from the Due entertainment,
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, Celestial Quire?
in Purchas's - Pilgrimage :--. llere the khan Kubla comunanded a Me rather, bright guests! with your wings of upbuoyance palace 10 be built, and a stately garden thereunto; and thus ten Rear aloft to your homes, to your banquets of joyance, miles of fertile ground were inclosed with a wall. The author conThat the roofs of Olympus may echo my lyre!
tinued for about three bours in a profound sleep, at least of the ex
ternal senses, during which time he has the most vivid confidence lla! we mount! on their pinions they waft up my Soul!
ibat he could not have composed less than from two to three hundred
lines; if that indeed can be called composition in which all the O give me the Nectar!
images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of O fill me the Bowl!
the correspondent expressions, without any sensation, or conscious
ness of effort. On awakiog, he appeared io himself to have a disGive him the Nectar!
tinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and paper, Pour out for the Poet,
instantly and eagerly wrole down the lines that are here preserved. Hebe! pour free!
At this moment be was unfortunately called out by a person on busiQuicken his eyes with celestial dew,
ness from Porlock, and detained by him alove an Lour, and on his
return to his room, found, to his no small surprise and mortification, That Styx the detested no more he may view,
that though he still retained some vague and dim recollection of the And like one of us Gods may conceit him to be!
general parport of the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight Thanks, Hebe! I quaff it! lo Pæan, I cry!
or ten scattered lines and images, all the rest bad passed away like The Wine of the Immortals
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
Vanishes, and a thousand circlets spread,
And each mis-shape the other. Stay awhile,
Poor youth! who scarcely darest lift up thine eyesIMITATED FROM ONE OF AKENSIDE'S BLANK VERSE
The stream will soon renow its smoothness, soon
The visions will return! And lo, he stays.
And soon the fragments dim of lovely forms
Come trembling back, uoite, and now once more
The pool becomes a mirror.
Yet from the still surviving recollections in his mind, the Author
has frequently purposed to tinish for himself what had heen origiO humbly press that consecrated ground!
nally, as it were, given to him. Eapepov zálov aso): but the
10-morrow is yet to come. For there does Edmund rest, the learned swain!
As a contrast to this vision, I bare annered a fragment of a very And there his spirit most delights to rove:
different character, describing with equal fidelity the dream of pain
and disease. ---Note to the first Edition, 1816.) Young Edmund! famed for each harmonious strain, And the sore wounds of ill-requited love.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan Like some tall tree that spreads its branches wide, A stately pleasure-dome decree? And loads the west-wind with its soft perfume,
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran llis manhood blossom'd : till the faithless pride
Through caverus measureless to man, Of fair Matilda sank him to the tomb.
Down to a sunless sea.
Since in me, round me, every where Eternal Strength and Wisdom are.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
But oh that deep romantic chasm which slanted
But yester-night I pray'd aloud
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
From the fountain and the caves.
A damsel with a dulcimer
To such a deep delight 't would win me,
So two nights pass'd : the night's dismay
TO « FIRE, FAMINE, AND SLAUGHTER,
THE PAINS OF SLEEP. 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). At 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
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 passion is, the fewer and the more fixed are the correstalked of in Scotland. It may be easily supposed, that pondent forms and notions. A rooted hatred, an inmy feelings were at this moment not of the most com veterate thirst of revenge, is a sort of madness, and still fortable kind. Of all present, one only knew, or sus- eddies round its favourite object, and exercises as it were pected me to be the author: a man who would have a perpetual tautology of mind in thoughts and words, established himself in the first rank of England's living which admit of no adequate substitutes. Like a fish in Poets, if the Genius of our country had not decreed that a globe of glass, it moves restlessly round and round the he should rather be the first in the first rank of its Phi- scanty circumference, which it cannot leave without losophers and scientific Benefactors. Ji appeared the losing its vital element. general wish to bear the lines. As my friend chose 10 There is a second character of such imaginary repreremain silent, I chose to follow his example, and Mr ***** sentations as spring from a real and earnest desire of recited the Poem. This he could do with the better evil to another, which we often see in real life, and might grace, being known to have ever been not only a firm even anticipate from the nature of the mind. The and active Anti-Jacobin and Anti-Gallican, but likewise images, I mean, that a vindictive man places before his a zealous admirer of Mr Pill, both as a good man and a imagination, will most often be taken from the realities great Statesman. As a Poet exclusively, he had been of life : they will be images of pain and suffering which amused with the Eclogue; as a Poet, he recited it; and in he has himself seen inflicted on other men, and which a spirit, which made it evident, that he would have read he can fancy himself as inflicting on the object of his and repeated it with the same pleasure, bad his own hatred. I will suppose that we had heard at different name been attached to the imaginary object or agent. times two common sailors, each speaking of some one
After the recitation, our amiable host observed, that who had wronged or offended him : that the first with in his opinion Mr ***** had over-rated the merits of the apparent violence had devoted every part of his adverpoetry; but had they been tenfold greater, they could sary's body and soul to all the horrid phantoms and not have compensated for that malignity of heart, which fantastic places that ever Quevedo dreamt of, and this in could alone have prompted sentiments so atrocious. I a rapid flow of those outré and wildly-combined exccraperceived that
my illustrious friend became greatly dis- tions, which too often with our lower classes serve for tressed on my account; but fortunately I was able to escape-valves to carry off the excess of their passions, as preserve fortitude and presence of mind enough to take so much superfluous steam that would endanger the up the subject without exciting even a suspicion how vessel if it were retained. The other, on the contrary, nearly and painfully it interested me.
with that sort of calmness of tone which is to the car What follows, is substantially the same as I then re- what the paleness of anger is to the eye, shall simply plied, but dįlated and in language less colloquial. It was say, - If I chance to be made boatswain, as I hope I soon not my intention, I said, to justify the publication, shall, and can but once get that fellow under my hand whatever its author's feelings might have been at the (and I shall be upon the watch for bim), i'll tickle his time of composing it. That they are calculated to call pretly skin! I wont hurt him! oh no! I'll only cut the forth so severe a reprobation from a good man, is not to the liver!, I dare appeal to all present, which the worst feature of such poems. Their moral deformity of the two they would regard as the least deceptive is aggravated in proportion to the pleasure which they symptom of deliberate malignity? nay, whether it would are capable of affording to vindictive, turbulent, and surprise them to see the first fellow, an hour or two unprincipled readers. Could it be supposed, though for afterward, cordially shaking hands with the very man, a moment, that the author seriously wished what he had the fractional parts of whose body and soul he had been thus wildly imagined, even the attempt to palliate an so charitably disposing of; or even perhaps risking his inhumanity so monstrous would be an insult to the life for him. What language Shakspeare considered hearers. But it seemed to me worthy of consideration, characteristic of malignant disposition, we see in the whether the mood of mind, and the general state of sen- speech of the good-natured Gratiano, who spoke sations, in which a Poet produces such vivid and fantas- infinite deal of nothing more than any man in all tic images, is likely to co-exist, or is even compatible Venice;s with, that gloomy and deliberate ferocity which a serious
-Too wild, too rude and bold of voice! wish to realize them would pre-suppose. It had been often observed, and all my experience tended to confirm the skipping spirit, whose thoughts and words reciprothe observation, that prospects of pain and evil to others, cally ran away with each other ; and in general, all deep feelings of revenge, are com
-O be thou damo'd, inexorable dog! monly expressed in a few words, ironically tame, and
And for thy life let justico be accused ! mild. The mind under so direful and fiend-like an influence seems to take a morbid pleasure in contrasting and the wild fancies that follow, contrasted with Shythe intensity of its wishes and feelings, with the slight-lock's tranquil « I stand here for law.” ness or levity of the expressions by which they are Or, to take a case more analogous to the present subhinted ; and indeed feelings so intense and solitary, ifject, should we hold it either fair or charitable to believe they were not precluded (as in almost all cases they it to have been Dante's serious wish, that all the persons would be) by a constitutional activity of fancy and as mentioned by him, (many recently departed, and some sociation, and by the specific joyousness combined with even alive at the time), should actually suffer the fanit, would assuredly themselves preclude such activity. tastic and horrible punishments, to which he has senPassion, in its own quality, is the antagonist of action; tenced them in his Hell and Purgatory? Or what shall though in an ordinary and natural degree the former we say of the passages in which Bishop Jeremy Taylor alternates with the latter, and thereby revives and anticipates the state of those who, vicious themselves,