Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire ; Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd,

Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre :
But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,

Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll; Chill penury repress'd their noble rage,

And froze the genial current of the soul. Full many a gem of purest ray serene

The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear; Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air. * *

* Th’ applause of list' ning senates to command;

The threats of pain and ruin to despise ; To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,

And read their history in a nation's eyes— Their lot forbade : nor circumscrib'd alone Their growing virtues, but their crimes con

fined ; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,

And shut the gates of mercy on mankind; The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide ;

To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame ; Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride

With incense kindled at the Muse's flame. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,

Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray ;

[blocks in formation]

Along the cool sequester'd vale of life

They kept the noiseless tenour of their way. Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect,

Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture

deck'd, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd

Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply;
And many a holy text around she strews,

That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,

This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,

Nor cast one longing ling’ring look behind ? On some fond breast the parting soul relies ;

Some pious drops the closing eye requires : E'en from the tomb the voice of nature cries ;.

E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires. For thee, who, mindful of th’ unhonour'd dead,

Dost in these lines their artless tale relate, If chance, by lonely contemplation led,

Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate ; Haply some hoary-headed swain shall say,

“Oft have we seen him, at the peep of dawn, Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,

To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

[blocks in formation]

There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,

That wreathes its old fantastic roots on high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch,

And pore upon the brook that babbles by. Him have we seen the greenwood side along,

While o'er the heath we hied, our labour done, Oft as the woodlark piped her farewell song,

With wistful eyes pursue the setting sun. Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,

Mutt'ring his wayward fancies, he would rove; Now drooping, woful-wan, like one forlorn,

Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love. One morn I miss’d him on the 'custom'd hill,

Along the heath, and near his favourite tree : Another came; nor yet beside the rill,

Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he: The next, with dirges due, in sad array, Slow through the churchyard path we saw him

borne : Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay

Gravid on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."

THE EPITAPH.
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,

A youth to fortune and to fame unknown;
Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,

And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.

108

AN ANGEL IN THE HOUSE. Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere

Heaven did a recompense as largely send : He gave to mis’ry (all he had) a tear ; He gain'd from heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a

friend. No farther seek his merits to disclose,

Nor draw his frailties from their dread abode(Where they alike in trembling hope repose)

The bosom of his Father and his God.

GRAY.

AN ANGEL IN THE HOUSE. How sweet it were, if without feeble fright, Or dying of the dreadful beauteous sight, An angel came to us, and we could bear To see him issue from the silent air At evening in our room, and bend on ours His divine eyes,—and bring us from his bowers News of dear friends and children who have never Been dead indeed—as we shall know for ever. Alas! we think not what we daily see About our hearths, angels that are to be, Or may be if they will, and we prepare Their souls and ours to meet in happy air,A child, a friend, a wife, whose soft heart sings In unison with ours, waiting for future wings.

L. HUNT.

ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S

HOMER.
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 never did I 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.

KEATS.

FROM CHAPMAN'S TRANSLATION OF HOMER.

ILIAD I.

The Banquet. The youths crown'd cups with wine Drank off and fill’d to all again : that day was

held divine, Consumed in pæans to the sun; who heard with

pleased ear; When whose bright chariot stoop'd to sea, and

twilight hid the clear,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »