Изображения страниц


Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
Our virgins dance beneath the shade-
I see their glorious black eyes shine;

But, gazing on each glowing maid,
My own the burning tear-drop laves,
To think such breasts must suckle slaves.


Place me on Sunium's marbled steep,

Where nothing, save the waves and I,
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep:

There, swan-like, let me sing and die!
A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine-
Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!


Thus sung, or would, or could, or should have sung, The modern Greek, in tolerable verse;

If not like Orpheus quite, when Greece was young,
Yet in these times he might have done much worse:
His strain display'd some feeling-right or wrong;
And feeling, in a poet, is the source

Of others' feeling: but they are such liars,
And take all colours-like the hands of dyers.


But words are things; and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions think :
'Tis strange, the shortest letter which man uses
Instead of speech, may form a lasting link

Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces
Frail man, when paper—even a rag like this—
Survives himself, his tomb, and all that's his!


And when his bones are dust, his grave a blank,
His station, generation, even his nation,
Become a thing, or nothing, save to rank
In chronological commemoration,
Some dull MS. oblivion long has sank,

Or graven stone found in a barrack's station
In digging the foundation of a closet,
May turn his name up as a rare deposit.


And glory long has made the sages smile;

'Tis something, nothing, words, illusion, windDepending more upon the historian's style,

Than on the nam a person leaves behind.

Troy owes to Homer what whist owes to Hoyle :
The present century was growing blind

To the great Marlborough's skill in giving knocks,
Until his late Life by Archdeacon Coxe.


Milton's the prince of poets—so we say;
A little heavy, but no less divine:
An independent being in his day—

Learn'd, pious, temperate in love and wine: But his life falling into Johnson's way,

We're told this great high priest of all the Nine Was whipt at college—a harsh sire—odd spouse, For the first Mrs. Milton left his house.


All these are, certes, entertaining facts,

Like Shakespeare's stealing deer, Lord Bacon's bribes; Like Titus' youth, and Cæsar's earliest acts;

Like Burns (whom Doctor Currie well describes);

Like Cromwell's pranks;—but although truth exacts
These amiable descriptions from the scribes,
As most essential to their hero's story,
They do not much contribute to his glory.


All are not moralists, like Southey, when

He prated to the world of " Pantisocracy"; Or Wordsworth, unexcised, unhired, who then Season'd his pedlar poems with democracy: Or Coleridge, long before his flighty pen

Let to the Morning Post its aristocracy; When he and Southey, following the same path, Espoused two partners (milliners of Bath).


Such names at present cut a convict figure,
The very Botany Bay in moral geography;
Their loyal treason, renegado rigour,

Are good manure for their more bare biography. Wordsworth's last quarto, by the way, is bigger

Than any since the birthday of typography; A drowsy, frowzy poem call'd The Excursion, Writ in a manner which is my aversion.


He there builds up a formidable dyke
Between his own and others' intellect;
But Wordsworth's poem, and his followers, like
Johanna Southcote's Shiloh, and her sect,
Are things which in this century don't strike
The public mind—so few are the elect ;
And the new births of both their stale virginities
Have proved but dropsies, taken for divinities.

[ocr errors]


But let me to my story: I must own,
If I have any fault, it is digression-
Leaving my people to proceed alone,

While I soliloquize beyond expression;
But these are my addresses from the throne,
Which put off business to the ensuing session,
Forgetting each omission is a loss to

The world, not quite so great as Ariosto.


I know that what our neighbors called "longueurs" (We've not so good a word, but have the thing, In that complete perfection which ensures

An epic from Bob Southey every spring-) Form not the true temptation which allures

The reader; but 'twould not be hard to bring
Some fine examples of the épopée
To prove its grand ingredient is ennui.


We learn from Horace, "Homer sometimes sleeps";
We feel without him, Wordsworth sometimes wakes,-
To show with what complacency he creeps,

With his dear" Waggoners," around his lakes.
He wishes for "a boat to sail the deeps—

Of ocean?—No, of air; and then he makes Another outcry for “ a little boat,"

And drivels seas to set it well afloat.

[ocr errors]


If he must fain sweep o'er the ethereal plain,
And Pegasus runs restive in his "Waggon,"
Could he not beg the loan of Charles's Wain,
pray Medea for a single dragon?


Or if too classic for his vulgar brain,

He fear'd his neck to venture such a nag on, And he must needs mount nearer to the moon, Could not the blockhead ask for a balloon?


'Pedlars," and "Boats," and "Waggons!" O, ye shades Of Pope and Dryden, are we come to this? That trash of such sort not alone evades

Contempt, but from the bathos' vast abyss Floats scumlike uppermost; and these Jack Cades


Of sense and song, above your graves may hiss-
The "little boatman" and his "Peter Bell
Can sneer at him who drew "



T'our tale. The feast was over, the slaves gone,

The dwarfs and dancing girls had all retired; The Arab lore and poet's song were done,

And every sound of revelry expired; The lady and her lover, left alone,

The rosy flood of twilight sky admired ;— Ave Maria! o'er the earth and sea,

That heavenliest hour of Heaven is worthiest thee!


Ave Maria! blessed be the hour,

The time, the clime, the spot, where I so oft Have felt that moment in its fullest power

Sink o'er the earth so beautiful and soft,
While swung the deep bell in the distant tower,
Or the faint dying day-hymn stole aloft,
And not a breath crept through the rosy air,
And yet the forest leaves seem'd stirr'd with prayer.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »