Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Lo! once again our feet we set
On still green wood-paths, twilight wet,
By lonely brooks, whose waters fret

The roots of spectral beeches;
Again the hearth-fire glimmers o'er
Home's whitewashed wall and painted floor,
And young eyes widening to the lore

Of faery-folks and witches.

But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful dawn –
A dancing shape, an image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.
I saw her upon nearer view,
A spirit, yet a woman too:
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet ;
A creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food —
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveller between life and death ;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill ;
A perfect woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a spirit still, and bright
With something of an angel light.

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

Dear heart !- the legend is not vain Which lights that holy hearth again; And, calling back from care and pain,

And death's funereal sadness, Draws round its old familiar blaze The clustering groups of happier days, And lends to sober manhood's gaze

A glimpse of childish gladness.

And, knowing how my life hath been
A weary work of tongue and pen,
A long, harsh strife, with strong-willed men,

Thou wilt not chide my turning
To con, at times, an idle rhyme,
To pluck a flower from childhood's clime,
Or listen, at life's noonday chime,
For the sweet bells of morning!

John GREENLEAF WHITTIER.

to my Sister,

WITH A COPY OF “SUPERNATURALISM OF NEW

ENGLAND."

Mother Margery.

On a bleak ridge, from whose granite edges

Sloped the rough land to the grisly north; And whose hemlocks, clinging to the ledges,

Like a thinned banditti staggered forth In a crouching, wormy-timbered hamlet

Mother Margery shivered in the cold, With a tattered robe of faded camlet

On her shoulders - crooked, weak, and old.

DEAR sister! while the wise and sage
Turn coldly from my playful page,
And count it strange that ripened age

Should stoop to boyhood's folly -
I know that thou wilt judge aright
Of all that makes the heart more light,
Or lends one star-gleam to the night

Of clouded melancholy.
Away with weary cares and themes !
Swing wide the moonlit gate of dreams!
Leave free once more the land which teems

With wonders and romances !
Where thou, with clear discerning eyes,
Shalt rightly read the truth which lies
Beneath the quaintly-masking guise

Of wild and wizard fancies.

Time on her had done his cruel pleasure;

For her face was very dry and thin, And the records of his growing measure

Lined and cross-lined all her shrivelled skin. Scanty goods to her had been allotted,

Yet her thanks rose oftener than desire; While her bony fingers, bent and knotted,

Fed with withered twigs the dying fire.

Raw and weary were the northern winters;

Winds howled piteously around her cot,
Or with rude sighs made the jarring splinters

Moan the misery she bemoaned not.
Drifting tempests rattled at her windows,

And hung snow-wreaths round her naked bed; While the wind-flaws muttered on the cinders,

Till the last spark fluttered and was dead.

So she walked while feeble limbs allowed her,

Knowing well that any stubborn grief She might meet with could no more than crowd

her To that wall whose opening was relief.

Life had fresher hopes when she was younger,

But their dying wrung out no complaints ; Chill, and penury, and neglect, and hunger

These to Margery were guardian saints. When she sat, her head was, prayer-like, bending;

When she rose, it rose not any more; Faster seemed her true heart graveward tending

Than her tired feet, weak and travel-sore.

So she lived, an anchoress of sorrow,

Lone and peaceful, on the rocky slope ;
And, when burning trials came, would borrow

New fire of them for the lamp of hope.
When at last her palsied hand, in groping,

Rattled tremulous at the grated tomb, Heaven flashed round her joys beyond her hoping, And her young soul gladdened into bloom.

GEORGE S. BURLEIGH.

An Epitaph on the Admirable Wramatic

Poet, W. Shakespeare.

She was mother of the dead and scattered —

Had been mother of the brave and fair ; But her branches, bough by bough, were shattered,

Till her torn breast was left dry and bare. Yet she knew, though sadly desolated,

When the children of the poor depart, Their earth-vestures are but sublimated,

So to gather closer in the heart.

With a courage that had never fitted

Words to speak it to the soul it blessed, She endured, in silence and unpitied,

Woes enough to mar a stouter breast. Thus was born such holy trust within her,

That the graves of all who had been dear, To a region clearer and serener,

Raised her spirit from our chilly sphere.

What needs my Shakespeare for his honored

bones The labor of an age in piled stones! Or that his hallowed reliques should be hid Under a starry-pointing pyramid ? Dear son of memory, great heir of fame, What need'st thou such weak witness of thy

name Thou in our wonder and astonishment Hast built thyself a live-long monument. For whilst to the shame of slow-endeavoring art Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book Those Delphic lines with deep impression took, Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving, Dost make us marble with too much conceiv

ing: And, so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.

JOHN Mulrox.

They were footsteps on her Jacob's ladder ;

Angels to her were the loves and hopes Which had left her purified, but sadder;

And they lured her to the emerald slopes Of that heaven where anguish never flashes

Her red fire-whips - happy land, where flowers Blossom over the volcanic ashes

Of this blighting, blighted world of ours.

On Anacreon.

All her power was a love of goodness;

All her wisdom was a mystic faith That the rough world's jargoning and rudeness

Turns to music at the gate of death.

AROUND the tomb, O bard divine,

Where soft thy hallowed brow reposes, Long may the deathless ivy twine,

And summer pour her waste of roses !

[blocks in formation]

And many a fount shall there distil,

And many a rill refresh the flowers; But wine shall gush in every rill,

And every fount yield milky showers.

Thus — shade of him whom nature taught

To tune his lyre and soul to pleasure Who gave to love his warmest thought,

Who gave to love his fondest measure

And sees the heroic brood of his creation
Teach larger life to his ennobled nation.
O shaping brain! O flashing fancy's hues!
O boundless heart, kept fresh by pity's dews!
O wit humane and blithe! O sense sublime !
For each dim oracle of mantled time!
Transcendant form of man! in whom we read
Mankind's whole tale of impulse, thought, and

deed !
Amid the expanse of years, beholding thee,
We know how vast our world of life may be;
Wherein, perchance, with aims as pure as thine,
Small tasks and strengths may be no less divine.

JOHN STERLING.

Thus, after death if spirits feel,

Thou may'st from odors round thee streaming, A pulse of past enjoyment steal, And live again in blissful dreaming.

ANTIPATER OF SIDON. (Greek.) Paraphrase of Thomas MOORE.

The Shepherd's Hunting.

Shakespeare.

AN ECLOGUE.

[blocks in formation]

How little fades from earth when sink to rest
The hours and cares that move a great man's

breast ! Though nought of all we saw the grave may

spare, His life pervades the world's impregnate air; Though Shakespeare's dust beneath our footsteps

lies, His spirit breathes amid his native skies ; With meaning won from him for ever glows Each air that England feels, and star it knows; His whispered words from many a mother's voice Can make her sleeping child in dreams rejoice; And gleams from spheres he first conjoined to

earth Are blent with rays of each new morning's birth. Amid the sights and tales of common things, Leaf, flower, and bird, and wars, and deaths of

kings, Of shore, and sea, and nature's daily round, Of life that tills, and tombs that load, the ground, His visions mingle, swell, command, And haunt with living presence heart and eye; And tones from him, by other bosoms caught, Awaken flush and stir of mounting thought : And the long sigh, and deep impassioned thrill, Rouse custom's trance and spur the faltering will. Above the goodly land, more his than ours, He sits supreme, enthroned in skyey towers,

PRYTHEE, Willy! tell me this -
What new accident there is
That thou, once the blithest lad,
Art become so wondrous sad,
And so careless of thy quill,
As if thou hadst lost thy skill ?
Thou wert wont to charm thy flocks,
And among the massy rocks
Hast so cheered me with thy song
That I have forgot my wrong.
Something hath thee surely crost,
That thy old wont thou hast lost.
Tell me — have I aught mis-said,
That hath made thee ill-apaid i
Hath some churl done thee a spite !
Dost thou miss a lamb to-night?
Frowns thy fairest shepherd's lass!
Or how comes this ill to pass

pace by,

Is there any discontent
Worse than this my banishment i

Tom the piper doth not play
Till he wears his pipe away -
There's a time to slack the string,
And a time to leave to sing.

WILLY.

PHILARETE.

Why, doth that so evil seem
That thou nothing worse dost deem ?
Shepherds there full many be
That will change contents with thee;
Those that choose their walks at will,
On the valley or the hill –
Or those pleasures boast of can
Groves or fields may yield to man -
Never come to know the rest,
Wherewithal thy mind is blest.
Many a one that oft resorts
To make up the troop at sports,
And in company some while
Happens to strain forth a smile,
Feels more want and outward smart,
And more inward grief of heart,
Than this place can bring to thee,
While thy mind remaineth free.
Thou bewail'st my want of mirth -
But what find'st thou in this earth
Wherein aught may be believed
Worth to make me joy or grieved 1
And yet feel I, naitheless,
Part of both I must confess.
Sometime I of mirth do borrow -
Otherwhile as much of sorrow;
But my present state is such
As nor joy nor grieve I much.

Yea! but no man now is still
That can sing, or tune a quill.
Now to chaunt it were but reason
Song and music are in season.
Now, in this sweet jolly tide,
Is the earth in all her pride;
The fair lady of the May,
Trimmed up in her best array,
Hath invited all the swains,
With the lasses of the plains,
To attend upon her sport
At the places of resort.
Coridon, with his bold rout,
Hath already been about
For the elder shepherd's dole,
And fetched in the summer-pole;
Whilst the rest have built a bower
To defend them from a shower —
Coiled so close, with boughs all green,
Titan cannot pry between.
Now the dairy wenches dream
Of their strawberries and cream ;
And each doth herself advance
To be taken in to dance;
Every one that knows to sing
Fits him for his carolling;
So do those that hope for meed
Either by the pipe or reed;
And, though I am kept away,
I do hear, this very day,
Many learned grooms do wend
For the garlands to contend :
Which a nymph, that hight Desert,
Long a stranger in this part,
With her own fair hand hath wrought —
A rare work, they say, past thought,
As appeareth by the name,
For she calls them wreaths of fame.
She hath set in their due place
Every flower that may grace;
And among a thousand moe,
Whereof some but serve for show,

PHILARETE.

Why hath Willy then so long
Thus forborne his wonted song!
Wherefore doth he now let fall
His well-tuned pastoral,
And my ears that music bar
Which I more long after far
Than the liberty I want ?

WILLY.

That were very much to grant. But doth this hold alway, lad Those that sing not must be sad ? Didst thou ever that bird hear Sing well that sings all the year

THE SHEPHERD'S HUNTING.

681

Then I with the rest was free,
When, unknown, I noted thee,
And perceived the ruder swains
Envy thy far sweeter strains.
Yea, I saw the lasses cling
Round about thee in a ring,
As if each one jealous were
Any but herself should hear;
And I know they yet do long
For the residue of thy song.
Haste thee then to sing it forth;
Take the benefit of worth;
And Desert will sure bequeath
Fame's fair garland for thy wreath.
Hie thee, Willy ! hie away.

WILLY.

She hath wove in Daphne's tree, That they may not blasted be; Which with time she edged about, Lest the work should ravel out; And that it might wither never, Intermixed it with live-ever. These are to be shared among Those that do excel for song, Or their passions can rehearse In the smooth'st and sweetest verse. Then for those among the rest That can play and pipe the best, There's a kidling with the dam, A fat wether and a lamb. And for those that leapen far, Wrestle, run, and throw the bar, There's appointed guerdons too: He that best the first can do Shall for his reward be paid With a sheep-hook, fair inlaid With fine bone of a strange beast That men bring out of the west; For the next a scrip of red, Tasselled with fine colored thread ; There's prepared for their meed That in running make most speed. Or the cunning measures foot, Cups of turned maple-root, Whereupon the skilful man Hath engraved the loves of Pan; And the last hath for his due A fine napkin wrought with blue. Then, my Willy, why art thou Careless of thy merit now? What dost thou here, with a wight That is shut up from delight In a solitary den, As not fit to live with men ! Go, my Willy! get thee gone — Leave me in exile alone; Hie thee to that merry throng, And amaže them with thy song ! Thou art young, yet such a lay Never graced the month of May, As, if they provoke thy skill, Thou canst fit unto thy quill. I with wonder heard thee sing At our last year's revelling.

Phila! rather let me stay,
And be desolate with thee,
Than at those their revels be.
Naught such is my skill, I wis,
As indeed thou deem'st it is;
But whate'er it be, I must
Be content, and shall I trust.
For a song I do not pass
'Mongst my friends; but what, alas !
Should I have to do with them
That my music do contemn?
Some there are, as well I wot,
That the same yet favor not;
Yet I cannot well avow
They my carols disallow;
But such malice I have spied,
'Tis as much as if they did.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »