« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
But well thou play'dst the housewife's part,
Thy indistinct expressions seem
Thy silver locks, once auburn bright,
For could I view nor them nor thee,
Partakers of thy sad decline
Such feebleness of limbs thou prov'st
And still to love, though press'd with ill,
But ah! by constant heed I know
And should my future lot be cast
163. THE DYING MAN IN HIS GARDEN.
Why, Damon, with the forward day
What do thy noontide walks avail,
Vain wretch ! canst thou expect to see
Thy narrow pride, thy fancied green
All must be left when Death appears,
May my lot no less fortunate be
And a cot that o'erlooks the wide sea;
While I carol away idle sorrow,
Look forward with hope for to-morrow. With a porch at my door, both for shelter and shade
too, As the sunshine or rain may prevail ; And a small spot of ground for the use of the spade
too, With a barn for the use of the flail : A cow for my dairy, a dog for my game,
And a purse when a friend wants to borrow; I'll envy no nabob his riches or fame,
Nor what honours await him to-morrow.
From the bleak northern blast may my cot be
completely Secured by a neighbouring hill ; And at night may repose steal upon me more sweetly
By the sound of a murmuring rill :
With a heart free from sickness and sorrow,
And let them spread the table to-morrow.
And when I at last must throw off this frail covering
Which I've worn for three-score years and ten, On the brink of the grave I'll not seek to keep hovering,
Nor my thread wish to spin o'er again : But my face in the glass I'll serenely survey,
And with smiles count each wrinkle and furrow ; As this old worn-out stuff, which is threadbare to-day May become everlasting to-morrow.
Life ! I know not what thou art,
Life! we've been long together
Choose thine own time;
A. L. BARBAULD.
It proves sufficiently the lavish wealth of our own age in Poetry, that the pieces which, without conscious departure from the standard of Excellence, render this Book by far the longest, were with very few exceptions composed during the first thirty years of the nineteenth century. Exhaustive reasons can hardly be given for the strangely sudden appearance of individual genius : but none, in the Editor's judgment, can be less adequate than that which assigns the splendid national achievements of our recent poetry to an impulse from the frantic follies and criminal wars that at the time disgraced the least essentially civilised of our foreign neighbours. The first French Revolution was rather, in his opinion, one result, and in itself by no means the most important, of that far wider and greater spirit which through enquiry and doubt, through pain and triumph, sweeps mankind round the circles of its gradual development: and it is to this that we must trace the literature of modern Europe. But, without more detailed discussion on the motive causes of Scott, Wordsworth, Campbell, Keats, and Shelley, we may observe that these Poets, with others, carried to further perfection the later tendencies of the Century preceding, in simplicity of narrative, reverence for human Passion and Character in every sphere, and impassioned love of Nature :—that, whilst maintaining on the whole the advances in art made since the Restoration, they renewed the half-forgotten melody and depth of tone which marked the best Elizabethan writers :--that, lastly, to what was thus inherited they added a richness in language and a variety