Изображения страниц

That by the way-it may be true or false

But don't forget the picture; and thou wilt not,
When thou hast heard the tale they told me there.
She was an only child; from infancy

The joy, the pride of an indulgent Sire.
Her Mother dying of the gift she gave,

That precious gift, what else remained to him?

The young Ginevra was his all in life,
Still as she grew, for ever in his sight;
And in her fifteenth year became a bride,
Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria,

Her playmate from her birth, and her first love.
Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
She was all gentleness, all gaiety;

Her pranks the favourite theme of every tongue.
But now the day was come, the day, the hour;
Now, frowning, smiling, for the hundredth time,
The nurse, that ancient lady, preached decorum ;
And, in the lustre of her youth, she gave
Her hand, with her heart in it, to Francesco.

Great was the joy; but at the Bridal feast,
When all sat down, the Bride was wanting there.
Nor was she to be found! Her Father cried
"Tis but to make a trial of our love!'
And filled his glass to all; but his hand shook,
And soon from guest to guest the panic spread.
'Twas but that instant she had left Francesco,
Laughing and looking back and flying still,
Her ivory tooth imprinted on his finger.
But now, alas, she was not to be found;
Nor from that hour could anything be guessed,
But that she was not!

Weary of his life, Francesco flew to Venice, and forthwith Flung it away in battle with the Turk. Orsini lived; and long might'st thou have seen An old man wandering as in quest of something, Something he could not find--he knew not what. When he was gone, the house remained awhile

[blocks in formation]

Silent and tenantless-then went to strangers.
Full fifty years were past, and all forgot,
When on an idle day, a day of search

Mid the old lumber in the Gallery,

That mouldering chest was noticed; and 'twas said By one as young, as thoughtless as Ginevra, 'Why not remove it from its lurking place!' 'Twas done as soon as said; but on the way It burst, it fell; and lo, a skeleton, With here and there a pearl, an emerald-stone, A golden clasp, clasping a shred of gold. All else had perished-save a nuptial ring, And a small seal, her mother's legacy, Engraven with a name, the name of both, 'Ginevra.'


[THE REV. WILLIAM LISLE BOWLES was born at King's Sutton in 1762. His chief work is his Sonnets, first published in 1789. He died at Salisbury in 1850.]

It was the candle of Bowles that lit the fire of Coleridge. We have it on record in the Biographia Literaria that to the author of The Ancient Mariner, bewildered at seventeen between metaphysics and theological controversy, and utterly out of sympathy with the artificialities of the Popesque school, the early sonnets of Bowles came almost in the light of a revelation. In a copy preserved at South Kensington he writes of them later as 'having done his heart more good than all the other books he ever read excepting his Bible.' Those who to-day turn to the much-praised verses will scarcely find in their pensive amenity that enduring charm which they presented to the hungry and restless soul of Coleridge, seeking its fitting food in unpropitious places. They exhibit a grace of expression, a delicate sensibility, and above all a 'musical sweet melancholy' that is especially grateful in certain moods of mind; but with lapse of time and change of fashion they have grown a little thin and faint and colourless. Of Bowles's remaining works it is not necessary to speak. He was overmatched in his controversy with Byron as to Pope, and the blunt

'Stick to thy sonnets, Bowles,—at least they pay'

of the former must be accepted as the final word upon the poetical efforts of the cultivated and amiable Canon of Salisbury.



How sweet the tuneful bells responsive peal!
As when at opening morn, the fragrant breeze
Breathes on the trembling sense of pale disease,
So piercing to my heart their force I feel!
And hark! with lessening cadence now they fall!
And now along the white and level tide,
They fling their melancholy music wide;
Bidding me many a tender thought recall
Of summer-days, and those delightful years
When from an ancient tower in life's fair prime,
The mournful magic of their mingling chime
First waked my wondering childhood into tears!
But seeming now, when all those days are o'er,
The sounds of joy once heard and heard no more.


O Time! who know'st a lenient hand to lay
Softest on sorrow's wound, and slowly thence,
Lulling to sad repose the weary sense,
The faint pang stealest unperceived away;
On thee I rest my only hope at last,

And think, when thou hast dried the bitter tear
That flows in vain o'er all my soul held dear,

I may look back on every sorrow past,
And meet life's peaceful evening with a smile ;—
As some lone bird, at day's departing hour,
Sings in the sunbeam, of the transient shower
Forgetful, though its wings are wet the while ;-
Yet ah! how much must that poor heart endure,
Which hopes from thee, and thee alone, a cure.


There is strange music in the stirring wind,
When lowers the autumnal eve, and all alone
To the dark wood's cold covert thou art gone,
Whose ancient trees on the rough slope reclined
Rock, and at times scatter their tresses sere.
If in such shades, beneath their murmuring,
Thou late hast passed the happier hours of spring,
With sadness thou wilt mark the fading year;
Chiefly if one, with whom such sweets at morn
Or evening thou hast shared, far off shall stray.
O Spring, return! return, auspicious May!
But sad will be thy coming, and forlorn,
If she return not with thy cheering ray,

Who from these shades is gone, gone far away.


Whose was that gentle voice, that, whispering sweet,
Promised methought long days of bliss sincere !

Soothing it stole on my deluded ear,

Most like soft music, that might sometimes cheat

Thoughts dark and drcoping! 'Twas the voice of Hope.

Of love, and social scenes, it seemed to speak,

Of truth, of friendship, of affection meek;

That oh! poor friend, might to life's downward slope
Lead us in peace, and bless our latest hours.
Ah me! the prospect saddened as she sung;
Loud on my startled ear the death-bell rung;
Chill darkness wrapt the pleasurable bowers,
Whilst Horror pointing to yon breathless clay,
'No peace be thine,' exclaimed, 'away, away!'

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »