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Calm is the morn without a sound, That rises upward always higher,
And onward drags a labouring breast, And only through the faded leaf
And topples round the dreary west, The chestnut pattering to the ground. A looming bastion fringed with fire. Calm and deep peace on this high wold,
And on these dews that drench the furze, Sweet after showers, ambrosial air,
That rollest from the gorgeous gloom That twinkle into green and gold.
Of evening over brake and bloom Calm and still light on yon great plain And meadow, slowly breathing bare
That sweeps with all its autumn bowers, The round of space, and rapt below
And crowded farms and less’ning towers, Through all the dewy-tassell'd wood, To mingle with the bounding main.
And shadowing down the horned Calm and deep peace in this wide air,
flood These leaves that redden to the fall; In ripples, fan my brows, and blow
And in my heart, if calm at all, The fever from my cheek, and sigh If any calm, a calm despair.
The full new life that feeds thy breath Calm on the seas, and silver sleep, Throughout my frame, till Doubt and
And waves that sway themselves in rest, Death,
And dead calm in that noble breast Ill brethren, let the fancy fly Which heaves but with the heaving deep. From belt to belt of crimson seas,
On leagues of odour streaming far, To-night the winds began to rise
To where, in yonder orient star, And roar from yonder dropping day; A hundred spirits whisper' Peace.'
The last red leaf is whirl'd away, The rooks are blown about the skies. Wild bird, whose warble, liquid sweet, The forest crack'd, the waters curld, Rings Eden through the budded quicks, The cattle huddled on the lea;
O tell me where the senses mix, And wildly dash'd on tower and tree O tell me where the passions meet, The sunbeam strikes along the world. Whence radiate: fierce extremes emAnd but for fancies, which aver
ploy That all thy motions gently pass
Thy spirits in the dusking leaf, Athwart a plane of molten glass,
And in the midmost heart of grief I scarce could brook the strain and stir Thy passion clasps a secret joy: That makes the barren branches loud ; And I--my harp would prelude woAnd but for fear it is not so,
I cannot all command the strings; The wild unrest that lives in wo
The glory of the sum of things Would dote and pore on yonder cloud Will flash along the chords and go.
Although the poet's loss is felt all through the poem, as the theme and inspiration, the poetry becomes less and less personal, and the purified sorrow illuminates the world, and endows all objects with a preternatural brightness, like that which pervades the air, immediately after the clouds have been exhausted by heavy torrents of rain, and the sun bursts upon vivid pastures and steaming rocks. The grief, at first subduing, is at length subdued: and many and beautiful are the passages in which sorrow appears under complete curb, without having lost anything of its tenderness. We are soon taught to feel as well as know the truth of the moral which is so exquisitely expressed in the concluding stanza of the following section: I envy not in any moods
Nor, what may count itself as blest, The captive void of noble rage-- The heart that never plighted troth The linnet born within the cage
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth, That never knew the summer woods. Nor any want-begotten rest. I envy not the beast that takes
I hold it true, whate'er befall; His license in the field of time,
I feel it, when I sorrow most; Unfetter'd by the sense of crime,
'Tis better to have loved and lost To whom a conscience never wakes; Than never to have loved at all.
Sorrow is gradually shown to be the teacher of a pure, or rather the
only pure philosophy. Secular knowledge is humbled before loving faith, and although the expression of truth in dogmatic forms is carefully (perhaps too carefully) avoided, we are charmed and exalted by strains of what seems to us to be the best religious poetry that has ever been written in our language_if we except a very few of the lovely and too seldom appreciated effusions of George Herbert. Here are some “ Rhymes for the Times," of first-class significance : Who loves not knowledge ? Who shall Of demons ? fiery-hot to burst rail
All barriers in her onward race Against her beauty? May she mix For power. Let her know her place ; With men, and prosper! Who shall She is the second, not the first. fix
A higher hand must make her mild, Her pillars ? Let her work prevail. If all be not in vain ; and guide
Her footsteps, moving side by side But on her forehead sits a fire:
With wisdom, like the younger child : She sets her forward countenance And leaps into the future chance,
For she is earthly of the mind,
But wisdom heavenly of the soul. Submitting all things to desire.
O friend, who camest to thy goal Half-grown as yet, a child, and vain-- So early, leaving me behind,
She cannot fight the fear of death. I would the great world grew like thee, What is she, cut from love and Who grewest not alone in power faith,
And knowledge, but from hour to hour But some wild Pallas from the brain In reverence and in charity.
A heartless heresy of these, and, more or less, of all, times, is exquisitely touched upon, and effectually protested against, in the following verses: That each, who seems a separate whole, And we shall sit at endless feast,
Should move his rounds, and fusing all Enjoying each the other's good;
The skirts of self again, should fall, What vaster dream can hit the mood Remerging in the general Seul,
Of love on earth? He seeks at least Is faith as vague as all unsweet : Upon the last and sharpest height, Eternal form shall still divide
Before the spirits fade away, The eternal soul from all beside; Some landing-place, to clasp and say, And I shall know him when we meet : * Farewell ! we lose ourselves in light.'
We are not partakers of the fashionable contempt for Paley and his school; but we assuredly believe that the following half-dozen stanzas contain “evidences" having stronger power to convince than are commonly to be found in half-a-dozen chapters of eighteenth century divinity: Yet if some voice that man could trust And love would answer with a sigh
Should murmur from the narrow house: "The sound of that forgetful shore
The cheeks drop in ; the body bows; Will change mysweetness more and more, Man dies : nor is there hope in dust. Half dead to know that I shall die.' Might I not say, yet even here,
() me! what profits it to put But for one hour, O love! I strive An idle case? If death were seen To keep so sweet a thing alive?
At first as death, love had not been, But I should turn mine ears and hear Or been in narrowest working shut, The moanings of the homeless sea, Mere fellowship of sluggish moods, The sound of streams that, swift or Or, in his coarsest satyr-shape, slow,
Had bruised the herb and crushed the Draw down Æonian hills, and sow
grape, The dust of continents to be ;
And bask'd and batten'd in the woods. Our next quotation is one of the longest elegies of the series, and perhaps it is the finest. The reader would do well to give it two or three perusals, in order that he may pierce the veil of symbolism, and attain to the simple and sacred sense beneath it: On that last night before we went And I myself, who sat apart
From out the doors where I was bred, And watch'd them, waxt in every limb; I dream'd a vision of the dead,
I felt the thews of Anakim, Which left my after morn content. The pulses of a Titan's heart; Methought I dwelt within a hall, As one would sing the death of war,
And maidens with me : distant hills And one would chant the history
From hidden suramits fed with rills, Of that great race which is to be, A river sliding by the wall.
And one the shaping of a star; The hall with harp and carol rang. Until the forward-creeping tides
They sang of what is wise and good Began to foam, and we to draw
And graceful. In the centre stood From deep to deep, to where we saw A statue veil'd, to which they sang; A great ship lift her shining sides. And which, though veil'd, was known to me, The man we loved was there on deck,
The shape of him I loved, and love But thrice as large as man he bent For ever. Then flew in a dove
To greet us. Up the side I went, And brought a summons from the sea. And fell in silence on his neck: And when they learn'd that I must go, Whereat those maidens, with one mind,
They wept and waild, but led the way Bewail'd their lot. I did them wrong: To where a little shallop lay
*We served thee here,' they said, 'so At anchor in the flood below;
long, And on by many a level mead,
And wilt thou leave us now behind ?' Andshadowing bluff that made the banks, So wrapt I was, they could not win We glided winding under ranks
An answer from my lips; but he, Of iris, and the golden reed ;
Replying, 'Enter likewise ye, And still as vaster grew the shore, And go with us,' they enter'd in. And roll'd the floods in grander space,
And while the wind began to sweep The maidens gather'd strength and A music out of sheet and shroud, grace
We steer'd her toward a crimson cloud And presence, lordlier than before ; That landlike slept along the deep.
In our opinion, there is nothing nearly equal to the above, in splendour of language and imagination, depth and classicality of thought and feeling, perfection of form, and completeness in every way, in the whole scope of modern English poetry.
Our last quotation shall be one in which the poet shows that, in his inmost being, he has conquered the “last infirmity of noble minds :" So many worlds, so much to do,
We pass : the path that each man trod So little done, such things to be,
Is dim, or will be din, with weeds. How know I'what had need of thee, What fame is left for human deeds For thou wert strong as thou wert true In endless age? It rests with God. The fame is quench'd that I foresaw, O hollow wraith of dying fame,
The head bath miss'd an earthly wreath. Fade wholly, while the soul exults,
I curse not nature; no, nor death, And self-infolds the large results For nothing is that errs from law. Of force that would have forged a name.
In making the foregoing selection of specimens, we have not always followed the order of the poem, which does not exhibit such a strong progression and such regulated change. There is, indeed, a true progression and a gradual and decided change operating from beginning to end; but the poet has followed nature by frequently juxta-posing highly contrasted moods.
We conclude this slight notice by directing the reader's attention to one or two of the peculiar and general characteristics of the most important poem that has appeared since the “ Excursion.” The first thing that strikes us is its absolute refinement, and what is commonly understood by “ classicality” of tone and finish. The finish, unlike that of some other productions of the poet to whom this work is attributed, seems to have been obtained without labour, and to have been the almost spontaneous effluence of a long disciplined pen and highly finished mind. Closely allied with, and indeed greatly contributing to, the refinement of this poem, is the character of the emotion depicted. The lover of raw and naked passion will be disappointed at finding nothing of it here. The profoundest grief, despair itself, is seen through the subduing medium of thoughtful memory; and therefore its immediate effect upon the mind of the reader is not so remarkable as the way in which that effect clings to and imperceptibly grows around his heart.
CUMMING'S ADVENTURES IN SOUTH AFRICA.* MR CUMMING is indeed “a mighty hunter;" and he has produced a work brimful of the most animated description, the most romantic adventures, and the most thrilling incidents. Long before the appearance of this book, numerous reports had got into circulation at Cape Town and throughout the colony, of strange encounters which a Scotchman had had with lions and other noble game, in the far interior; and these reports had reached England. But, exaggerated and almost incredible though they seemed to be, we may now safely say, that they did not tell the half
. This eclipses all former records of field sports: we wonder what the Bengal sportsmen will say to it.
Roualeyn Gordon Cumming is a native of Morayshire, where he spent the early portion of his life. At a very early age the love of natural history and sport developed itself, and became stronger and more deeply rooted with his years. “Salmon-fishing and roe-stalking,” says he, "were my favourite amusements; and during those early wanderings by wood and stream, the strong love of sport and admiration of nature in her wildest and most attractive forms became with me an all-absorbing feeling, and my greatest possible enjoyment was to pass whole days and many a summer night in solitude, where, undisturbed, I might contemplate the silent grandeur of the forest, and the ever-varying beauty of the scenes around. Long before I proceeded to Eton, I took pride in the goodly array of hunting trophies which hung around my room." In 1839 he sailed for India to join his regiment_4th Madras light cavalry. The climate did not agree with him, and he returned home to engage again in his early and much-loved pursuits. Growing weary, however, of hunting in a country where the game was strictly preserved, and longing for the glorious liberty of the
hunter in countries where no such absurd restriction exists, he resolved to visit the rolling prairies and rocky mountains of the Far West, where his nature would find congenial sport with the bison, the wapiti, and the elk. To accomplish this object he obtained a commission in the Royal Veteran Newfoundland Companies; but he speedily discovered that little opportunity would be granted him in his new position to gratify his deeply-rooted desires. Our hero consequently effected an exchange into the Cape Riflemen. In 1843 he found himself again in the country (he had touched at the Cape on his way to India) upon whose frontiers ranged those vast herds of game which had so often fired his imagination, and made him long to revisit it. But although, immediately upon landing, he marched with his division of the army of occupation, into the country of the Caffres, he was again disappointed in his expectations. The fact was, that, with his love of liberty, and roaming, and natural history, and sport with noble game, it was impossible to combine subjection to a master and permanency in any locality. He accordingly sold out, and became free; and was now at liberty to penetrate into the far interior—to visit those vast regions which would afford abundant food for the gratification of the passion of his youth—the collection of hunting trophies, and objects of interest in science and natural history. This passion he gratified to the full; these objects he largely realised.
* A Hunter's Life in South Africa. London : Murray.
Mr Cumming now returned to Grahamstown to make preparations for his hunting expedition. A waggon, a number of cattle (for the travelling and trading waggons are all drawn by cattle), a few horses and dogs for the chase, and a set of servants, being procured, and the necessary provisions and articles for barter being laid in, Nimrod sets out for the regions of the antelope, the rhinoceros, the elephant, and the lion. The numberless annoyances, and delays, and provocations to which he was exposed on his journey we cannot attempt to recount. Neither can we linger over the graphic description of the countries and tribes through which he passed in his course ; and the dangers and hardships which he endured so submissively, and battled with so perseveringly and 50 successfully. All these, not without interest in themselves, we pass, and introduce our hero in the field, indulging in sporting to his heart's content. Our first extract shall be in connection with antelope-hunting. There are several species of this graceful creature in the regions where Mr Cumming was at this time—the neighbourhood of the Orange River—and in all the country to the far north. The following extract will give some idea of their numbers :
“On the 28th I had the satisfaction of beholding, for the first time, what I had often heard the Boers allude to-viz., a“ trek-bokken," or grand migration of springboks. This was, I think, the most extraordinary and striking scene, as connected with beasts of the chase, that I have ever beheld. For about two hours before the day dawned, I had been lying awake in my waggon, listening to the grunting of the bucks within two hundred yards of me, imagining that some large herd of springboks was feeding beside my camp; but on my rising when it was clear, and looking about me, I beheld the ground to the northward of my camp actually covered with a dense living mass of springboks, marching slowly and steadily along, extending from an opening in a long range of hills on the west, through which they continued pouring, like the flood of some great river, to a ridge about a mile to the north-east, over which they disappeared. The breadth of the ground they covered might have been sone. where about half a mile. I stood upon the fore chest of my waggon for nearly two hours, lost in wonder at the novel and wonderful scene which was passing before me, and had some difficulty in convincing myself that it was reality which I beheld