« EelmineJätka »
His drink the living water from the rock:
The milky dams supplied his board, and lent
Their kindly fleece to baffle winter's shock;
And he, though oft with dust and sweat besprent,
Did guide and guard their wanderings, wheresoe'er they went.
Description of Edwin.
And yet poor Edwin was no vulgar boy.
Deep thought oft seemed to fix his infant eye
Dainties he heeded not, nor gaud, nor toy,
Save one short pipe of rudest minstrelsy;
Silent when glad ; affectionate, though shy;
And now his look was inost demurely sad,
And now he laughed aloud, yet none knew why.
The neighbours stared and sighed, yet blessed the lad;
Some deeined him woudrous wise, and some believed him mad.
But why should I his childish feats display?
Concourse, and noise, and toil he ever fled;
Nor cared to mingle in the clamorous fray
Of squabbling imps; but to the forest sped,
Or roamed at large the lonely mountain's head,
Or where the maze of some bewildered stream
To deep untrodden groves his footsteps led,
There would he wander wild, till Phobus' beam,
Shot from the western cliff, released the weary team.
The exploit of strength, dexterity, or speed,
To him nor vanity nor joy could briug:
His heart. from cruel sport estranged, would bleed
To work the woe of any living thing,
By trap or net, by arrow or by sling;
These he detested, those he scorned to wield;
He wished to be the guardian, not the king,
Tyrant far less, or traitor of the field,
And sure the sylvan reign unbloody joy might yield.
Lo! where the strippling, rapt in wonder roves,
Beneath the precipice o'erhung with pine ;
And sees on high, amidst the encircling groves,
From cliff to cliff the foaming torrents shine;
While waters, woods, and winds, in concert join,
And echo swells the chorus to the skies,
Would Edwin this majestic scene resign
For aught the huntsman's puny craft supplies ?
Ah, no! he better knows great Nature's charms to prize.
And oft he traced the uplands to survey,
When o'er the sky advanced the kindling dawn,
The crimson cloud, blue main, and mountain gray,
And lake, dim-gleaming on the smoky lawn.
Far to the west, the long, long vale withdrawn,
Where twilight loves to linger for a while,
And now he faintly kens the bounding fawn,
And villager abroad at early toil:
But lo! the sun appears, and heaven, earth, ocean smile
And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb,
When all in mist the world below was lost-
What dreadful pleasure there to stand suplime,
Like shipwrecked mariner on desert coast,
And view the enormous waste of vapour, tost
In billows lengthening to the horizon round,
Now scooped in gulfs, with mountains now embossed !
And hear the voice of mirth and song rebound,
Flocks, herds, and waterfalls, along the hoar profound !
In truth he was a strange and wayward wight,
Fond of each gentle and each dreadful scene.
In darkness and in storm he found delight;
Nor less than when on ocean-wave serene,
The southern sun diffused his dazzling sheen.
Even sad vicissitude amused his soul;
And if a sigh would sometimes intervene,
Aud down his cheek a tear of pity roll,
A sigh, a tear, so sweet, he wished not to control.
Even now his eves with smiles of rapture glow,
As on he wanders through the scenes of morn,
Where the fresh flowers in living lustre blow,
Where thousand pearls the dewy lawns adorn,
A thousand notes of joy in every breeze are borne.
But who the melodies of morn can tell ?
The wild brook babbling down the mountain side ;
The lowing herd ; the sheepfold's simple bell ;
The pipe of early shepherd dim descried
In the lone valley ; echoing far and wide
The clamorous horn along the cliffs above;
The hollow murmur of the ocean-tide;
The hum of bees, the lipnet's lay of love,
And the full choir that wakes the universal grove.
The cottage-curs at early pilgriin bark;
Crowned with her pail the tripping milkmaid sings;
The whistling ploughman stalks afield : and, hark !
Down the rough slope the ponderous wagon rings;
Through rustling corn the hare astonished springs ;
Slow tolls the village-clock the drowsy hour;
The partridge bursts away on whirring wings;
Deep mourns the turtle in sequestered bower,
And shrill lark carols clear from her aërial tower.
Life and Immortality.
O ye wild groves, O where is now your blooi!-
The Muse interprets thus his tender thought-
Your flowers, your verdure, and your balmy gloom,
Of late so grateful in the hour of drought?
Why do the birds, that song and rapture brought
To all your bowers, their mansions now forsake ?
Ah! why has fickle chance this ruin wrought ?
For now the storm howls mournful through the brake, And the dead foliage flies in many a shapeless flake.
Where now the rill, melodious, pure, and cool,
And meads, with life, and mirth, and beauty crowned ?
Ah! see, the unsightly slime, and sluggish pool,
Have all the solitary vale embrowned ;
Fled each fair form, and mute each melting sound,
The raven croaks forlorn on paked spray.
And hark! the river, bursting every mound,
Down the vale thunders, and with wasteful sway Uproots the grove, and rolls the shattered rocks away.
Yet such the destiny of all on earth :
So flourishes and fades majestic man.
Fair is the bud his vernal morn brings forth,
And fostering gules a while the nursling fan.
O smile, ye heavens, serene; ye mildews wan,
Ye blighting whirlwinds, spare his balmy prime,
Nor lessen of his life the little span.
Borne on the swift, though silent wings of Time,
Old age comes on apace to ravage all the clime.
And be it so. Let those deplore their doom
Whose hope still grovels in this dark sojourn;
But lofty souls, who look beyond the tomb,
Can smile at Fate, and wonder how they mourn.
Shall Spring to these sad scenes no more return ?
Is yonder wave the sun's eternal bed?
Soon shall the orient with new lustre burn,
And Spring shall soon her vital influence shed,
Again attune the grove, again adoru the mead.
Shall I be left forgotten in the dust,
When Fate, relenting, lets the flower revive ?
Shall Nature's voice, to man alone unjust,
Bid him, though doomed to perish, hope to live?
Is it for this fair Virtue oft must strive
With disappointment, penury, and pain ?
No: Heaven's immortal Spring shail yet arrive,
And man's majestic beauty bloom again,
Bright through the eternal year of Love's triumphant reign.
When in the crimson cloud of even Whence the scared owl on pinions gray
The lingering light decays,
Breaks from the rustling boughs, And Heeper on the front of Heaven And down the lone vale sails away His glittering gem displays;
To more profound repose.
Deep in the silent vale, unseen,
Beside a lulling stream,
Oh, while to thee the woodland pours A pensive youth, of placid mien,
Its wildly warbling song, Indulged this tender theme :
And balmy from the bank of flowers
T e zephyr breathes along;
"Ye cliffs, in hoary grandeur piled Let no rude sound invade from far,
High o'er the glimmering dale;
No vagrant foot be nigh,
Ye woods, along whose windings wild No ray froin Grandeur's gilded car
Murmurs the solemn gale:
Flash on the startled eye.
Where Melancholy strays forlorn,
And Woe retires to weep,
*But if some pilgrim through the glade What time the way moon's yellow horn Thy hallowed bowers explore, Gleams on the western deep:
O gnard from harm his hoary head,
And listen to his lore; • To you, ye wastes, whose artless charms For he of joys divine shall tell, Ne'er drew Ambition's eye,
That wean from earthly woe,
'Scaped a tumultuous world's alarms, And triumph o'er the mighty spell
To your retreats I fly.
Tiut chains his heart below.
Deep in your most sequestered bower
Let me at last recline,
'For me, no more the path invites Where Solitude, mild, modest power,
Ambition loves to tread ; Leans on her ivied shrine.
No more I climb those toilsome heights,
By guiloful Hope misled; 'Thy shades, thy silence now be mine, Leaps my fond fluttering heart no more Thy charms my only theme;
To Mirth's enlivening strain ; My haunt the hollow cliff, whose pine For present pleasure soon is o'cr, Waves o'er the gloomy stream.
And all the past is vain.'
At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
And mortals the sweets of forgetfuluess prove,
When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill,
And nought but the nightingale's song in the grove:
'Twas thus, by the cave of the mountain afar,
While his harp rung symphonious, a hermit began:
No more with hijnself or with nature at war,
He thought as a sage, though he felt as a man.
"Ah! why, all abandoned to darkness and woe,
Why, lone Philomela, that languishing fall ?
For spring shall return, and a lover bestow,
And sorrow no longer thy bosom inthral :
But, if pity inspire thee, renew the sad lay,
Mourn, sweetest complainer, man calls thee to mourn;
o soothe him, wliose pleasures like thine pass away :
Full quickly they pass—but they never return.
'Now gliding remote on the verge of the sky,
The moon half extinguished her crescent displays;
But lately I marked, when majestic on high
She shone, and the planets were lost in her blaze.
Roll on, thou fair orb, and with gladness pursue
The path that conducts thee to splendour again ;
But man's faded glory what change shall renew?
Ah, fool! to exult in a glory so vain !
• 'Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more;
I mourn, but, ye woodlands, I mourn not for you;
For morn is approaching, your charins to restore,
Perfumed with fresh fragrance, and glittering with dew:
Nor yet for the ravage of winter I mourn;
Kind nature the embryo blossom will save.
But when shall spring visit the mouldering urn-
O when shall it dawn on the night of the grave ?
'Twas thus, hy the glare of false science betrayed,
That leads, to bewilder; and dazzles, to blind ;
My thoughts wont to roam, from shade onward to shade,
Destruction before me, and sorrow behind
“O pity, great Father of Light," then I cried,
“ Thy creature, who fain would not wander from thee;
Lo, humbled in dust, I relinquish my pride:
From doubt and froin darkness thou only canst free !"
. And darkness and doubt are now flying away,
No longer I roam in conjecture forlorn.
So breaks on the traveller, faint, and astray,
The bright and the balmy effulgence of morn.
See Truth, Love, and Mercy in triumph descendiug,
And Nature all glowing in Eden's first bloom !
On the cold cheek of death smiles and roses are blending,
And beauty immortal awakes from the tomb.'
An admirable translation of the 'Lusiad' of Camoens, the most distinguished poet of Portugal, was executed by WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE, himself a poet of taste and fancy, but of no great originality or energy. Mickle was son of the minister of Langholm, in Dumfriesshire, where he was born in 1734. He was engaged in trade in Edinburgh as conductor, and afterwards partner, of a brewery; but he failed in business, and in 1764 went to London, desirous of literary distinction. Lord Lytielton noticed and encouraged his poetical efforts, and Mickle was buoyed up with dreams of patronage and celebrity. Two years of increasing destitution dispelled this vision, and the poet was glad to accept the situation of corrector of the Clarendon press at Oxford. Here he published · Pollio,' an elegy, and the Concubine,' a moral poem in the manner of Spenser, which he afterwards reprinted with the title of 'Syr Martyn.' Mickle adopted the obsolete phraseology of Spenser, which was too antiquated even for the age of the 'Faery Queen, and which Thomson had almost wholly discarded in his Castle of Indolence. The first stanza of this poem has been quoted by Sir Walter Scott-divested of its antique spelling -in illustration of a remark made by him, that Mickle, with a vein of great facility, united a power of verbal melody, which might have been envied by bards of much greater renown:
Awake, ye west winds, through the lonely dale,
Aud Fancy to thy faery bower betake;
Even now, with balmy sweetness, breathes the gale,
Dimpling with downy wing the stilly lake;
Through the pule willows faltering whispers wake,
And Evening comes with locks bedropped with dew;
On Desmond's mouldering turrets slowly shake,
The withered rye-grass and the harebell blue,
And ever and anon sweet Mulla's plaints renew.
Sir Walter adds, that Mickle, being a printer by profession, frequently put his lines into types without previously taking the trouble to put them into writing. This is mentioned by none of the poet's biographers, and is improbable. The office of a corrector of the press is quite separate from the mechanical operations of the printer. Mickle's poem was highly successful-not the less perhaps, because it was printed anonymously, and was ascribed to different authors—and it went through three editions. In 1771, he published the first canto of his great translation, which was completed in 1776; and being supported by a long list of subscribers, was highly advantageous both to his fame and fortune. In 1779, he went out to Portugal as secretary to Commodore Johnston, and was received with much distinction in Lisbon by the countrymen of Camoens. On the return of the expedition, Mickle was appointed joint-agent for the distribution of the prizes. His own share was considerable; and having received some money by his marriage with a lady whom he had known in his obscure sojourn at Oxford, the latter days of the poet were spent in ease and leisure. He died at Forest Hill, near Oxford, in 1788.
The most popular of Mickle's original poems is his ballad of. Cumnor Hall' which has attained additional celebrity by its having suggested to Sir Walter Scott the groundwork of his romance of 'Kenil