Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Stood for his country's glory fast,
And nail'd her colours to the mast!
Heaven, to reward his firmness, gave
A portion in this honour'd grave,
And ne'er held marble in its trust
Of two such wondrous men the dust.

[graphic]

With more than mortal powers endow'd,
How high they soar'd above the crowd !
Theirs was no common party race,
Jostling by dark intrigue for place;
Like fabled Gods, their mighty war
Shook realms and nations in its jar;
Beneath each banner proud to stand,
Look'd up the noblest of the land,
Till through the British world were known
The names of Pitt and Fox alone.
Spells of such force no wizard grave
E’er framed in dark Thessalian cave,

[ocr errors]

Though his could drain the ocean dry,
And force the planets from the sky.
These spells are spent, and, spent with these,
The wine of life is on the lees.
Genius and taste, and talent gone,
For ever tomb'd beneath the stone,
Where—taming thought to human pride !-
The mighty chiefs sleep side by side.
Drop upon Fox's grave the tear,
'Twill trickle to his rival's bier ;
O'er Pitt's the mournful requiem sound,
And Fox's shall the notes rebound.
The solemn echo seems to cry,-
“ Here let their discord with them die.
Speak not for those a separate doom,
Whom Fate made Brothers in the tomb;
But search the land of living men,
Where wilt thou find their like agen?"

Rest, ardent Spirits ! till the cries Of dying nature bid you rise ; Not even your Britain's groans can pierce The leaden silence of your hearse ; Then, 0, how impotent and vain This grateful tributary strain ! Though not unmark'd from northern clime, Ye heard the Border Minstrel's rhyme : His Gothic harp has o'er you rung; The Bard you deign’d to praise, your deathless

names has sung.

Stay yet, illusion, stay a while, My wilder'd fancy still beguile! From this high theme how can I part, Ere half unloaded is my heart ! For all the tears e'er sorrow drew, And all the raptures fancy knew, And all the keener rush of blood, That throbs through bard in bard-like mood, Were here a tribute mean and low, Though all their mingled streams could flowWoe, wonder, and sensation high, In one spring-tide of ecstasy !-It will not be—it may not lastThe vision of enchantment's past : Like frostwork in the morning ray, The fancied fabric melts away;' Each Gothic arch, memorial-stone, And long, dim, lofty aisle, are gone; And, lingering last, deception dear, The choir's high sounds die on my ear. Now slow return the lonely down, The silent pastures bleak and brown, The farm begirt with copsewood wild, The gambols of each frolic child, Mixing their shrill cries with the tone Of Tweed's dark waters rushing on.

1 If but a beam of soler reason play,
Lo! Fancy's fairy frost work melts away.

Rogers' Pleasures of Memory

Prompt on unequal tasks to run, Thus nature disciplines her son : Meeter, she says, for me to stray, And waste the solitary day, In plucking from yon fen the reed, And watch it floating down the Tweed; Or idly list the shrilling lay, With which the milkmaid cheers her way, Marking its cadence rise and fail, As from the field, beneath her pail, She trips it down the uneven dale : Meeter for me, by yonder cairn, The ancient shepherd's tale to learn ; Though oft he stop in rustic fear, Lest his old legends tire the ear Of one, who in his simple mind, May boast of book-learned taste refined.

But thou, my friend, can'st fitly tell,
(For few have read romance so well,)
How still the legendary lay
O'er poet's bosom holds it sway ;
How on the ancient minstrel strain
Time lays his palsied hand in vain ;
And how our hearts at doughty deeds,
By warriors wrought in steely weeds,
Still throb for fear and pity's sake;
As when the Champion of the Lake
Enters Morgana's fated house,
Or in the (Chapel Perilous,

Despising spells and demons' force,
Holds converse with the unburied corse ;?
Or when, Dame Ganore's grace to move,
(Alas, that lawless was their love !)
He sought proud Tarquin in his den,
And freed full sixty knights; or when,
A sinful man, and unconfess'd,
He took the Sangreal's holy quest,
And, slumbering, saw the vision high,
He might not view with waking eye.?

The mightiest chiefs of British song
Scorn'd not such legends to prolong :
They gleam through Spenser's elfin dream,
And mix in Milton's heavenly theme;
And Dryden, in immortal strain,
Had raised the Table Round again,

* See Appendix, Note A.

% See Appendix, Note B. 3 Dryden's melancholy account of his projected Epic Poem, blasted by the selfish and sordid parsimony of his patrons, is contained in an “ Essay on Satire,” addressed to the Earl of Dorset, and prefixed to the Translation of Juvenal. After mentioning a plan of supplying machinery from the guardian angels of kingdoms, mentioned in the Book of Daniel, he adds,

“ Thus, my Lord, I have, as briefly as I could, given your lordship, and by you the world, a rude draught of what I have been long labouring in my imagination, and what I had intended to have put in practice; (though far unable for the attempt of such a pocm ;) and to have left the stage, to which my genius never much inclined me, for a work which would have taken up my life in the performance of it. This, too, I had intended chiefly for the honour of my native country, to which a poet is particularly obliged. Of two subjects, both relating to it, I was doubtful whether I should choose that of King Arthur conquering the Saxons, which, being farther distant in time, gives the greater scope to my invention; or that of Edward the Black Prince,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »