Изображения страниц
PDF

was inspired by “the wish to please” this lady. The fact is, however, that it was produced (and probably about this time) on a request she made to the poet one day, when he was in company with Mr. Walpole, that she might possess something from his pen, written on the subject of love. We collect from the Memoirs by Mason, that the society of neighbourhood between the lady and the poet must have closed about the year 1758, at which time the death of his aunt, Mrs. Rogers, determined the final departure of the latter from Stoke. A circumstance connected with that occasion contributes some evidence of the general activity of his mind. The Rev. Mr. Duckworth, who held the living of Stoke until his death in the year 1794, remarked that the difficulty experienced by Gray in relinquishing the tenure of the premises to which he had succeeded, and from the concern of wbich he was anxious to relieve himself, was finally surmounted by means of his own knowledge of law.

The local poems by which Gray has impressed a classical stamp apon Stoke are, The Elegy written in a Country Churchyard, The Long Story, both written in 1750, and his Ode to Eton College, written before, in the year 1742; in which year were also written the Ode to Spring, the Hymn to Adversity, and the Sonnet on the Death of Mr. West, (the first certainly, and the two last probably) at Stoke.

It was in the year 1780 that (Miss Speed, now) Countess de Viry enabled the lover of poetry to see in print the Rondeau, and another small amatory poem of Gray, called Thyrsis, by presenting them to the Rev. Mr. Leman, of Suffolk, while on a visit at her castle in Savoy. She died there in 1783.

POSTHUMOUS POEMS AND FRAGMENTS.

ODE
ON THE PLEASURE ARISING FROM

VICISSITUD E.

Left unfinished by Mr. Gray. With additions by Mr. Mason,

distinguished by inverted commas.

Now the golden morn aloft

Waves her dew-bespangled wing,
With vermeil check and whisper soft

She wooes the tardy spring :
Till April starts, and calls around
The sleeping fragrance from the ground;
And lightly o'er the living scene
Scatters his freshest, tenderest green.

New-born flocks, in rustic dance,

Frisking ply their feeble feet;
Forgetful of their wintry trance

The birds his presence greet:

But chief, the sky-lark warbles high
His trembling thrilling ecstasy;
And, lessening from the dazzled sight,
Melts into air and liquid light.

Rise, my soul! on wings of fire,

Rise the rapt'rous choir among; Hark! 'tis nature strikes the lyre,

And leads the gen'ral song: “ Warm let the lyric transport flow, " Warm as the ray that bids it glow; “ And animates the vernal grove “ With health, with harmony, and love."

Yesterday the sullen year

Saw the snowy whirlwind fly;
Mute was the music of the air,

The herd stood drooping by:
Their raptures now that wildly flow,
No yesterday, nor morrow know;
'Tis man alone that joy descries
With forward and reverted eyes.

Smiles on past misfortune's brow

Soft reflection's hand can trace; And o'er the cheek of sorrow throw

A melancholy grace; While hope prolongs our happier hour Or deepest shades, that dimly lower, And blacken round our weary way, Gilds with a gleam of distant day.

Still, where rosy pleasure leads,

See a kindred grief pursue ;
Behind the steps that misery treads,

Approaching comfort view:
The hues of bliss more brightly glow,
Chastis'd by sabler tints of woe;
And blended form, with artful strife,
The strength and harmony of life.

See the wretch, that long has toss'd

On the thorny bed of pain,
At length repair bis vigour lost,

And breathe and walk again:
The meanest floweret of the vale,
The simplest note that swells the gale,
The common sun, the air, the skies,
To him are opening paradise.

Humble quiet builds her cell,

Near the source whence pleasure flows; She eyes the clear crystalline well,

And tastes it as it goes. • While' far below the madding' crowd • Rush headlong to the dangerous flood,' Where broad and turbulent it sweeps, * And' perish in the boundless deeps.

Mark where indolence, and pride,

* Sooth'd by flattery's tinkling sound," Go, softly rolling, side by side,

Their dull but daily round:

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »