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in metre, a force and fire in narrative, a tenderness and bloom in feeling, an insight into the finer passages of the Soul and the inner meanings of the landscape, a larger and wiser llumanity,—hitherto hardly attained, and perhaps unattainable even by predecessors of not inferior individual genius. In a word, the Nation which, after the Greeks in their glory, has been the most gifted of all nations for Poetry, expressed in these men the highest strength and prodigality of its nature. They interpreted the age to itself-hence the many phases of thought and style they present :— to sympathise with each, fervently and impartially, without fear and without fancifulness, is no doubtful step in the higher education of the Soul. For, as with the Affections and the Conscience, Purity in Taste is absolutely proportionate to Strength :—and when once the mind has raised itself to grasp and to delight in Excellence, those who love most will be found to love most wisely.
166. ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S
Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne:
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold :
-Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise-
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
Bards of Passion and of Mirth
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Have ye souls in heaven too,
Double-lived in regions new?
-Yes, and those of heaven commune
With the spheres of sun and moon;
With the noise of fountains wonderous
And the parle of voices thunderous :
With the whisper of heaven's trees
And one another, in soft ease
Seated on Elysian lawns
Browsed by none but Dian's fawns ;
Underneath large blue-bells tented,
Where the daisies are rose-scented,
And the rose herself has got
Perfume which on earth is not ;
Where the nightingale doth sing
Not a senseless, trancéd thing,
But divine melodious truth;
Philosophic numbers smooth;
Tales and golden histories
Of heaven and its mysteries.
Thus ye live on high, and then
On the earth ye live again ;
And the souls ye left behind you
Teach us, here, the way to find you
Where your other souls are joying,
Never slumber'd, never cloying.
Here, your earth-born souls still speak
To mortals, of their little week;
Of their sorrows and delights ;
Of their passions and their spites;
Of their glory and their shame ;
What doth strengthen and what maim :--
Thus ye teach us, every day,
Wisdom, though fled far away.
Bards of Passion and of Mirth Ye have left your souls on earth! Ye have souls in heaven too, Double-lived in regions new!
All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.
Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o'er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay
Beside the ruin'd tower.
The moonshine stealing o'er the scene
Had blended with the lights of eve;
And she was there, my hope, my joy,
My own dear Genevieve !
She lean'd against the arméd man,
The statue of the arméd knight;
She stood and listen'd to my lay,
Amid the lingering light.
Few sorrows hath she of her own
My hope ! my joy ! my Genevieve !
She loves me best, whene'er I sing
The songs that make her grieve.
I play'd a soft and doleful air,
I sang an old and moving story-
An old rude song, that suited well
That ruin wild and hoary.
She listen'd with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace ;
For well she knew, I could not choose
But gaze upon her face.
I told her of the Knight that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand;
And that for ten long years he woo'd
The Lady of the Land.
I told her how he pined : and ah !
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I
another's ve Interpreted my own. She listen'd with a flitting blush, With downcast eyes, and modest gract; And she forgave me, that I gazed
Too fondly on her face.
But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed that bold and lovely Knight,
And that he cross'd the mountain-woods,
Nor rested day nor night;
That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
In green and sunny glade.
There came and look'd him in the face
An angel beautiful and bright;
And that he knew it was a Fiend,
This miserable Knight!
And that unknowing what he did,
He leap'd amid a murderous band,
And saved from outrage worse than death
The Lady of the Land;
And how she wept, and clasp'd his knees;
And how she tended him in vain ;
And ever strove to expiate
The scorn that crazed his brain ;
And that she nursed him in a cave,
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest-leaves
A dying man he lay;
-His dying words—but when I reach'd
That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
My faltering voice and pausing harp
Disturb'd her soul with pity!
All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrill'd my guileless Genevieve;
The music and the doleful tale,
The rich and balmy eve;
And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes long subdued,
Subdued and cherish'd long!
She wept with pity and delight,
She blush'd with love, and virgin shame;
And like the murmur of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.