Page images
PDF
EPUB

*

When exile wore his blooming years away, Undamp'd by time, the generous instinct glows To sorrow's long soliloquies a prey,

Far as Angola's sands, as Zembla's snows; When reason, justice, vainly urg'd his cause,

Glows in the tiger’s den, the serpent's nest, For this he rous'd her sanguinary laws;

On every form of varied life imprest. Glad to return, tho' Hope could grant no more,

The social tribes its choicest influence hail:And chains and torture bail'd him to the shore. And, when the drum beats briskly in the gale,

And hence the charm historic scenes impart: The war-worn courser charges at the sound, Hence Tiber awes, and Avon" melts the heart. And with young vigour wheels the pasture round. Aërial forms, in Tempe's classic vale,

Oft has the aged tenant of the vale Glance thro' the gloom, and whisper in the gale; Lean'd on his staff to lengthen out the tale; In wild Vaucluse with love and Laura dwell, Oft have his lips the grateful tribute breath'd, And watch and weep in Eloisa's cell.

From sire to son with pious zeal bequeath’d. 'Twas ever thus. As now at Virgil's tomb,

When o'er the blasted heath the day declin'd, We bless the shade, and bid the verdure bloom: And on the scath'd oak warr'd the winter-wind; So Tully pausid amid the wrecks of Time,

When not a distant taper's twinkling ray On the rude stone to trace the truth sublime; Gleam'd o'er the furze to light him on his way; When at his feet, in honour'd dust disclos'd, When not a sheep-bell sooth'd his listening ear, The immortal sage of Syracuse repos’d.

And the big rain-drops told the tempest near; And as his youth in sweet delusion hung,

Then did his horse the homeward track descry. * Where once a Plato taught, a Pindar sung;

The track that shunnid his sad, inquiring eye; ** Who now but meets him musing, when he roves And win each wavering purpose to relent, His ruin'd Tusculan's romantic groves?

With warmth so mild, so gently violent, In Rome's great forum, who but hears him roll That his charm'd hand the careless rein resign’d, His moral thunders o'er the subject soul?

And doubts and terrors vanish'd from his mind. And hence that calm delight the portrait gives : Recall the traveller, whose alter'd form We gaze on er feature till it lives!

Has borne the buffet of the mountain-storm; * Still the fond lover views the absent maid;

And who will first his fond impatience meet? And the lost frend still gers in his shade! His faithful dog's already at his feet! Say why the insive widow loves to weep, Yes, tho' the porter spurn him from the door, When on her knee she rocks her babe to sleep:

Tho' all, that knew him, know his face no more, Tremblingly still, she lifts his veil to trace

His faithful dog shall tell his joy to each, The father's fortures in his infant face.

With that mute eloquence which passes speech.The hoary grandsire smiles the hour away,

And see, the master but returns to die! $ Won by the charm of Innocence at play;

Yet who shall bid the watchful servant fly? He bends to meet each artless burst of joy, The blasts of heav'n, the drenching dews of earth, Forgets his age, and acts again the boy.

The wanton insults of unfeeling mirth, What tho the iron school of War erase

These, when to guard Misfortune's sacred grave, Each milder virtue, and each softer grace:

Will firm Fidelity exult to brave. What tho' the fiend's torpedo-touch arrest

Led by what chart, transports the timid dove Each gelir, finer impulse of the breast;

The wreaths of conquest, or the vows of love? Still shall this active principle preside;

Say, thro' the clouds what compass points her fight? * And wake "2 tear, to Pity's self denied.

Monarchs have gaz'd, and nations bless'd the sight. The intrerSwiss, that guards a foreign shore, Pile rocks on rocks, bid woods and mountains rise, Condemnity climb his mountain-cliffs no more, Eclipse her native shades, her native skies ;hear the song so sweetly wild

"Tis vain! thro' Ether's pathless wilds she goes, 'Twas?

e cliffs his infant hours beguil'd, And lights at last where all her cares repose. Melts at this ung-lost scenes that round him rise,

Sweet bird! thy truth shall Harlem's walls attest, And sinks a martyr to repentant sighs.

And unborn ages consecrate thy nest. Ask not if courts or camps dissolve the charm: When, with the silent energy of grief,. Say why Vespasian lov'd his Sabine farm;

With looks that ask'd, yet dar'd not hope relief, Why great Navarre, when France and freedom bled, Want, with her babes, round generous Valour clung, Sought the lone limits of a forest-shed.

To wring the slow surrender from his tongue, When Diocletian's self-corrected mind

'Twas thine to animate her closing eye; 1 The imperial fasces of a world resign’d,

Alas! 'twas thine perchance the first to die, Foto Say why we trace the labours of his spade,

Crush'd by lier meagre land, when welcom'd from In calm Salona's philosophic shade.

the sky Say, when contentious Charles renounc'd a throne, Hark! the bee winds her small but mellow horn, '. To muse with monks unletter'd and unknown, Blithe to salute the sunny smile of morn.

What from his soul the parting tribute drew? O'er thymy downs she bends her busy course, What claim'd the sorrows of a last adieu?

And many a stream allures her to its source. The still retreats that sooth'd his tranquil breast, 'Tis noon, 'tis night. That eye so finely wrought, Ere grandeur dazzled, and its cares oppress'd. Beyond the search of sense, the soar of thought,

[ocr errors]

And tu.

[ocr errors]

2:

[ocr errors]

a

Now vainly asks the scenes she left behind; And lisp of fashions with unmeaning stare.
Its orb so full, its vision so confin'd!

Be thine to meditate an humbler flight,
Who guides the patient pilgrim to her cell? When morning fills the fields with rosy light;
Who bids her soul with conscious triumph swell? Be thine to blend, nor thine a vulgar aim,
With conscious truth retrace the mazy clue

Repose with dignity, with quiet fame. Of varied scents, that charm'd her as she flew ? Here no state-chambers in long line unfold, Hail, Memory, hail! thy universal reign

Bright with broad mirrors, rough with fretted gold; Guards the least link of Being's glorious chain. Yet modest ornament, with use combin'd,

Attracts the eye to exercise the mind.

Small change ofscene, small space his home requires, AN EPISTLE TO A FRIEND.

Who leads a life of satisfied desires. When, with a Reaumur's skill, thy curious mind What tho' no marble breathes, no canvas glows, Has class'd the insect tribes of buman kind,

From every point a ray of genius flows! Each with its busy hum, or gilded wing,

Be mine to bless the more mechanic skill, Its subtle web-work, or its venom'd sting;

That stamps, renews, and multiplies at will;
Let me, to claim a few unvalued hours,

And cheaply circulates, thro' distant climes,
Point the green lane that leads thro'fern and flowers; The fairest relies of the purest times.
The shelter'd gate that opens to my field,

Here from the mould to conscious being start
And the white front thro' mingling elms reveal’d. Those finer forms, the miracles of art;
In vain, alas, a village-friend invites

Here chosen gems, imprest on sulphur, shine, To simple comforts, and domestic rites,

That slept for ages in a second mine; When the gay months of Carnival resume

And here the faithful graver dares to trace Their annual round of glitter and perfume;

A Michael's grandeur, and a Raphael's grace! When London hails thee to its splendid mart, Thy gallery, Florence, gilds my humble walls, Its hives of sweets, and cabinets of art;

And my low roof the Vatican recalls! And, lo! majestic as thy manly song,

Soon as the morning dream my pillow flies, Flows the full tide of human life along.

To waking sense what brighter visions rise! Still must my partial pencil love to dwell

O mark! again the coursers of the sun, On the home-prospects of my hermit cell;

At Guido's call, their round of glory run! The mossy pales that skirt the orchard-green, Again the rosy hours resume their flight, Here hid by shrub-wood, there by glimpses seen; Obscur'd and lost in floods of golden light! And the brown pathway, that, with careless flow, But could thine erring friend so long forget Sinks, and is lost among the trees below.

(Sweet source of pensive joy and fond regret) Still must it trace (the flattering tints forgive) That here its warmest hues the pencil fings, Each fleeting charm that bids the landscape live. Lo! here the lost restores, the absent brings; Oft o'er the mead, at pleasing distance, pass- And still the few best lov'd and most rever'd Browsing the hedge by fits, the pannier'd ass ; Rise round the board their social smile endear'd. The idling shepherd-boy, with rude delight,

Selected shelves shall claim thy studious hours; Whistling his dog to mark the pebble's flight; There shall thy ranging mind be fed on flowers! And in her kerchief blue the cottage-maid,

There, while the shaded lamp's mild lustre streams, With brimming pitcher from the shadowy glade. Read antient books, or woo inspiring dreams; Far to the south a mountain vale retires,

And, when a sage's bust arrests thee there, Rich in its groves, and glens, and village-spires; Pause, and his features with his thoughts compare. Its upland lawns, and cliffs with foliage hung, —Ah, most that art my grateful rapture calls, Its wizard-stream, nor nameless nor unsung: Which breathes a soul into the silent walls; And thro' the various year, the various day, Which gathers round the wise of every tongue, What scenes of glory burst, and melt away! All on whose words departed nations hung;

When April verdure springs in Grosvenor-square, Still prompt to charm with many a converse sweet; And the furr'd Beauty comes to winter there, Guides in the world, companions in retreat ! She bids old Nature mar the plan no more;

Tho' my thatch'd bath no rich Mosaic knows, Yet still the seasons circle as before.

A limpid spring with unfelt current flows. Ah, still as soon the young Aurora plays,

Emblem of life! which, still as we survey, Tho'moons and flambeaux trail their broadest blaze; Seems motionless, yet ever glides away! As soon the skylark pours his matin song,

The shadowy walls record, with attic art, Tho' evening lingers at the mask so long.

The strength and beauty that its waves impart. There let her strike with momentary ray,

Here Thetis, bending, with a mother's fears As tapers shine their little lives away;

Dips her dear boy, whose pride restrains his tears. There let her practice from herself to steal,

There, Venus, rising, shrinks with sweet surprise, And look the happiness she does not feel;

As her fair self reflected seems to rise ! The ready smile and bidden blush employ

Far from the joyless glare, the maddening strife, At Faro-routs, that dazzle to destroy ;

And all the dull impertinence of life,' Fan with affected ease the essenc'd air,

These eyelids open to the rising ray,

And close, when Nature bids, ai close of day. Sheds, like an evening-star, its ray serene,
Here, at the dawn, the kindling landscape glows; To hail our coming. Not a step prophane
There noon-day levees call from faint repose. Dares, with rude sound, the cheerful rite restrain ;
Here the flush'd wave flings back the parting light; And, while the frugal banquet glows reveald,
There glimmering lamps anticipate the night. Pure and unbought,—the natives of my field;
When from his classic dreams the student steals, While blushing fruits thro' scatter'd leaves invite,
Amid the buzz of crowds, the whirl of wheels, Still clad in bloom, and veil'd in azure light;-
To muse unnotic'd-while around him press With wine, as rich in years as Horace sings,
The meteor-forms of equipage and dress;

With water, clear as his own fountain flings,
Alone, in wonder lost, he seems to stand

The shifting sideboard plays its humbler part, A very stranger in his native land!

Beyond the triumphs of a Loriot's art. And (tho' perchance of current coin possest,

Thus, in this calm recess, so richly fraught And modern phrase by living lips exprest)

With mental light, and luxury of thought, Like those blest youths, forgive the fabling page, My life steals on; (O could it blend with thine !) Whose blameless lives deceiv'd a twilight age, Careless my course, yet not without design. Spent in sweet slumbers; till the miner's spade So thro' the vales of Loire the bee-hives glide, Unclos'd the cavern, and the morning play'd. The light raft dropping with the silent tide; Ah, what their strange surprise, their wild delight! So, till the laughing scenes are lost in night, New arts of life, new manners meet their sight! The busy people wing their various flight, In a new world they wake, as from the dead; Culling unnumber'd sweets from nameless flowers, Yet doubt the trance dissolv'd, the vision fled ! That scent the vineyard in its purple hours. O come, and, rich in intellectual wealth,

Rise, ere the watch-relieving clarions play, Blend thought with exercise, with knowledge Caught thro' St. James's groves at blush of day; Long, in this shelter'd scene of letter'd talk, [health! Ere its full voice the choral anthem Alings With sober step repeat the pensive walk;

Thro' trophied tombs of heroes and of kings. Nor scorn, when graver triflings fail to please, Haste to the tranquil shade of learned ease, The cheap amusements of a mind at ease;

Tho' skill'd alike to dazzle and to please ; Here every care in sweet oblivion cast,

Tho' each gay scene be search'd with anxious eye, And many an idle hour-not idly pass’d.

Nor thy shut door be pass'd without a sigh. No tuneful echoes, ambush'd at my gate,

If, when this roof shall know thy friend no more,
Catch the blest accents of the wise and great. Some, form'd like thee, should once, like thee, ex-
Vain of its various page, no Album breathes Invoke the Lares of his lov'd retreat, Cplore;
The sigh that Friendship or the Muse bequeaths. And his lone walks imprint with pilgrim-feet;
Yet some good Genii o'er my hearth preside, Then be it said, (as, vain of better days,
Oft the far friend, with secret spell, to guide; Some grey domestic prompts the partial praise)
And there I trace, when the grey evening lours, “ Unknown he liv'd, unenvied, not unblest;
A silent chronicle of happier hours !

Reason his guide, and happiness his guest.
When Christmas revels in a world of snow, In the clear mirror of his moral page,
And bids her berries blush, her carols flow;

We trace the manners of a purer age.
His spangling shower when frost the wizard flings; His soul, with thirst of genuine glory fraught,
Or, borne in ether blue, on viewless wings, Scorn'd the false lustre of licentious thought.
O'er the white pane his silvery foliage weaves, -One fair asylum from the world he knew,
And gems with icicles the sheltering eaves;

One chosen seat, that charms with various view! -Thy muffled friend his nectarine-wall pursues, Who boasts of more (believe the serious strain) What time the sun the yellow crocus wooes, Sighs for a home, and sighs, alas ! in vain. Screen'd from the arrowy North ; and duly hies Thro' each he roves, the tenant of a day, To meet the morning-rumour as it flies,

And, with the swallow, wings the year away!"
To range the murmuring market-place, and view
The motley groups that faithful Teniers drew.

ODE TO SUPERSTITION.
When Spring bursts forth in blossoms thro' the
And her wild music triumphs on the gale, (vale,

I. 1.
Oft with my book I muse from stile to stile;

Hence, to the realms of night, dire Demon, hence! Oft in my porch the listless noon beguile,

Thy chain of adamant can bind Framing loose numbers, till declining day

That little world, the human mind, Thro' the green trellis shoots a crimson ray; And sink its noblest powers to impotence. Till the west-wind leads on the twilight hours,

Wake the lion's loudest roar, And shakes the fragrant bells of closing flowers. Clot his shaggy made with gore, Nor boast, O Choisy! seat of soft delight,

With flashing fury bid his eye-balls shine ; The secret charm of thy voluptuous night.

Meek is his savage, sullen soul, to thine ! (breast, Vain is the blaze of wealth, the pomp of power! Thy touch, thy deadening touch has steel'd the Lo, here, attendant on the shadowy hour,

Whence, thro' her rainbow-shower, soft pity Thy closet-supper, serv'd by hands unseen,

smil'd;

Has clos'd the heart each godlike virtue bless'd, Sweet Music breathes her soul into the wind; To all the silent pleadings of his child.

And bright-ey'd Painting stamps the image of the At thy command he plants the dagger deep,

[mind. At thy command exults, tho' Nature bids him weep!

II. 2.

Round their rude ark old Egypt's sorcerers rise ! I. 2.

A timbrell’d anthem swells the gale, When, with a frown that froze the peopled earth,

And bids the God of Thunders hail; Thou darted'st thy huge head from high, With lowings loud the captive God replies. Night wav'd her banners o'er the sky,

Clouds of incense woo thy smile,
And, brooding, gave her shapeless shadows birth.

Scaly monarch of the Nile!
Rocking on the billowy air,

But ah! what myriads claim the bended knee?
Ha! what withering phantoms glare!

Go, count the busy drops that swell the sea. As blows the blast with many a sudden swell, Proud land! what eye can trace thy mystic lore, At each dead pause, what shrill-ton'd voices yell! Lock'd up in characters as dark as night? The sheeted spectre, rising from the tomb,

Whateye those long, long labyrinths dare explore, Points at the murderer's stab, and shudders by; To which the parted soul oft wings her light; In every grove is felt a heavier gloom,

Again to visit her cold cell of clay, [cay? That veils its genius from the vulgar eye: Charm'd with perennial sweets, and smiling at de

The spirit of the water rides the storm,
And, thro' the mist, reveals the terrors of his form.

II. 3.

On yon hoar summit, mildly bright
I. 3.

With purple ether's liquid light,
O'er solid seas, where winter reigns,

High o'er the world, the white-rob'd Magi gaze
And holds each mountain-wave in chains, On dazzling bursts of heavenly fire;
The fur-clad savage, ere he guides his deer

Start at each blue, portentous blaze,
By glistering star-light thro' the snow,

Each flame that fits with adverse spire.
Breathes softly in her wondering ear

But say, what sounds my ear invade
Each potent spell thou bad'st him know.

From Delphi's venerable shade?
By thee inspir’d, on India's sands,

The temple rocks, the laurel waves!
Full in the sun the Bramin stands;

“ The God! the God!" the Sybil cries.
And, while the panting tigress hies

Her figure swells! she foams, she raves! . To quench her fever in the stream,

Her figure swells to more than mortal size!
His spirit laughs in agonies,

Streams of rapture roll along,
Smit by the scorchings of the noontide beam.

Silver notes ascend the skies:
Mark who mounts the sacred pyre,

Wake, Echo, wake and catch the song,
Blooming in her bridal vest:

Oh catch it, ere it dies!
She hurls the torch! she fans the fire!

The Sybil speaks, the dream is o'er,
To die is to be blest:

The holy harpings charm no more.
She clasps her lord to part no more,

In vain she checks the God's controul!
And, sighing, sinks! but sinks to soar.

His madding spirit fills her frame,
O’ershadowing Scotia's desert coast,

And moulds the features of her soul,
The Sisters sail in dusky state,

Breathing a prophetic flame.
And, wrapt in clouds, in tempests tost,

The cavern frowns; its hundred mouths unclose!
Weave the airy web of fate;

And, in the thunder's voice, the fate of empire flows. While the lone shepherd, near the shipless main, Sees o'er her hills advance the long-drawn funeral

III. I. train.

Mona, thy Druid-rites awake the dead!
II. 1.

Rites thy brown oaks would never dare
Thou spak’st, and lo! a new creation glow'd.

Ev'n whisper to the idle air;
Each unhewn mass of living stone

Rites that have chain's old Ocean on bis bed.
Was clad in horrors not its own,

Shiver'd by thy piercing glance,
And at its base the trembling nations bow'd.

Pointless falls the hero's lance.
Giant Error, darkly grand,

Thy magic bids the Imperial eagle fly,
Grasp'd the globe with iron hand.

And blasts the laureate wreath of victory.
Circled with seats of bliss, the Lord of Light Hark, the bard's soul inspires the vocal string!
Saw prostrate worlds adore his golden height. At every pause dread Silence hovers o'er:
The statue, waking with immortal powers,

While murky Night sails round on raven-wing, Springs from its parent earth, and shakes the Deepening the tempest's howl, the torrent's roar; spheres;

Chas'd by the morn from Snowdon's awful brow, The indignant pyramid sublimely towers, Where late she sate and scowl'd on the black wave And braves the efforts of a host of years.

below.

:

III. 2.

But, Ladies, say, must I alone unmask:

Is here no other actress ? let me ask.
Lo, steel-clad War his gorgeous standard rears !
The red-cross squadrons madly rage,

Believe me, those, who best the heart dissect,
And mow thro' infancy and age;

Know every woman studies stage-effect.
Then kiss the sacred dust and melt in tears.

She moulds her manners to the part she fills,
Veiling from the eye of day,

As instinct teaches, or as humour wills;
Penance dreams her life away;

And, as the grave or gay her talent calls,
In cloister'd solitude she sits and sighs,

Acts in the drama, till the curtain falls. While from each shrine still, small responses rise.

First, how her little breast with triumph swells, Hear, with what heart-felt beat the midnight bell

When the red coral rings its golden bells! Swings its slow summons thro' the hollow pile!

To play in pantomime is then the rage, The weak, wan votarist leaves her twilight cell,

Along the carpet's many-colour'd stage; To walk, with taper dim, the winding aisle;

Or lisp her merry thoughts with loud endeavour, With choral chantings vainly to aspire,

Now here, now there-in noise and mischief ever! Beyond this nether sphere, on rapture's wing of fire.

A School-girl next, she curls her hair in papers,

And mimics father's gout, and mother's vapours; III. 3.

Discards her doll, bribes Betty for romances; Lord of each pang the nerves can feel,

Playful at church, and serious when she dances; Hence! with the rack and reeking wheel

Tramples alike on customs and on toes, Faith lifts the soul above this little ball!

1. And whispers all she hears to all she knows; While gleams of glory open round,

Terror of caps, and wigs, and sober notions ! And circling choirs of angels call,

A romp! that longest of perpetual motions ! Can'st thou, with all thy terrors crown'd,

- Till tam’d and tortur'd into foreign graces, Hope to obscure that latent spark,

She sports her lovely face at public places; Destin'd to shine when suns are dark?

And with blue, laughing eyes, behind her fan, Thy triumphs cease! thro' every land,

First acts her part with that great actor, man. Hark! Truth proclaims, thy triumphs cease:

Too soon a Flirt, approach her and she flies! Her heavenly form, with glowing hand,

Frowns when pursued, and, when entreated, sighs! Benignly points to piety and peace.

Plays with unhappy men as cats with mice;
Flush'd with youth, her looks impart

Till fading beauty hints the late advice.
Each fine feeling as it flows!

Her prudence dictates what her pride disdain'd, Her voice the echo of her heart,

And now she sues to slaves herself had chain'd! Pure as the mountain-slows:

Then comes that good old character, a Wife, Celestial transports round her play,

With all the dear, distracting cares of life; And softly, sweetly die away.

A thousand cards a day at doors to leave, She smiles! and where is now the cloud

And, in return, a thousand cards receive; That blacken’d o'er thy baleful reign?

Rouge high, play deep, to lead the ton aspire, Grim darkness furls his leaden shroud,

With nightly blaze set Portland-place on fire; Shrinking from her glance in vain.

Snatch half a glimpse at concert, opera, ball, Her touch unlocks the day-spring from above,

A meteor, trac'd by none, tho' seen by all;
And lo! it visits man with beams of light and love.

And, when her slatter'd nerves forbid to roam,
In very spleen-rehearse the girls at home.

Last the grey Dowager, in ancient flounces,
VERSES

With snuff and spectacles, the age denounces;
Boasts how the sires of this degenerate isle

Knelt for a look, and duell'd for a smile.
Yes, 'tis the pulse of life! my fears were vain! The scourge and ridicule of Goth and Vandal,
I wake, I breathe, and am myself again.

Her tea she sweetens, as she sips, with scandal ; Still in this nether world; no seraph yet!

With modern belles eternal warfare wages, Nor walks my spirit, when the sun is set,

Like her own birds that clamour from their cages; With troubled step to haunt the fatal board,

And shuffles round to bear her tale to all, Where I died last—by poison or the sword; Like some old ruin, “ nodding to its fall!" Blanching each honest cheek with deeds of night, Thus Woman makes her entrance and her exit; Done here so oft by dim and doubtful light.

Not least an actress when she least suspects it. – To drop all metaphor, that little bell

Yet nature oft peeps out and mars the plot, Call's back reality, and broke the spell.

Each lesson lost, each poor pretence forgot; No heroine claims your tears with tragic tone; Full oft, with energy that scorns controul, A very woman- scarce restrains her own!

At once lights up the features of the soul; Can she, with fiction, charm the cheated mind, Unlocks each thought chain'd down by coward art, When to be grateful is the part assign'd?

And to full day the latent passions start! Ah, no! she scorns the trappings of her art,

-And she, whose first, best wish is your applause, No theme but truth, no prompter but the heart! Herself exemplifies the truth she draws.

WRITTEN TO BE SPOKEN BY MRS. SIDDONS.

« PreviousContinue »