Obrázky stránek



By Allan Cunningham.

O, NATURE ! holy, meek, and mild,
Thou dweller on the mountain wild;
Thou haunter of the lonesome wood;
Thou wanderer by the secret flood;
Tbou lover of the daisied sod,
Where Spring's white foot hath lately trod;
Finder of flowers fresh-sprung and new,
Where sunshine comes to seek the dew;
Twiner of bowers for lovers meet;
Smoother of sods for poets' feet;
Thrice-sainted matron! in whose face,
W ho looks in love will light on grace;
Far-worshipp'd goddess ! one who gives
Her love to him who wisely lives;
0! take my hand, and place me on
The daisicd foutstool of thy throne;
And pass before my darkcn'd sight
Thy hand, which lets in charmed light;
And touch my soul, and let me see
The ways of God, fair dame, in thee.

of the artist in either department. The means which imitative art employs are twofold ; peculiar to individual modes of imitation, and dependent on the precepts of universal taste. In the first, the colouring, the drawing. the management of light and shaile, the grandeur of the masses, the breadth of parts—all the essentials, in short, of the grand in practical art, a portrait, admi. rable as a work of genius, exhibits the same excellences, and these procluced by observance of ihe same principles, as a piece of history. An opinion opposite to this fact, and which confounis greatness of extent with grandeur of effzci, appears to be ai ilie boitom of much of the ir. relevant remark on the subject now considered. True grandeur in a work of art, lowever, is a principle pure and in lependent, which mustezist, and will be found, in every work of excellence, of whatever magnitude.

In those beauties, again, common to all the modes of imitation, which in all constitute the “ to rade nat ayador" of universal art, portrait, in its true excellence, must partaké equally with historical works. If intellectuality and expression-the animating, the inforining principles of painting—be regarded, where are these more finely developed, than in the countenance of genius or feeling, when touched by the hand of a master ? Such a picture is the portraiture of the soul the nearest approach which the material can make to the intellectual world. Here the pencil must be guided by the most exquisite science, and the loftiest enthusiasm. Perhaps even more acute discernment, more refined knowledge, of the human heart, is required, thus to embody the calm havi. tudes of the mind in screnity and reposc, than to express the more turbulent effects of passion, the frequent theme of history.

But, after all, what is historical painting? Is it not portraiture ? and are not its merits in proportion to the lidelity of the delineation in the manners, the characters, the general spirit of the times to which it belongs ? Does fancy claim the subject ? still the constituents are portraits of nature, and the whole is combined by the laws of this very imitation. Here, intleed, in the composition and arrangement of his materials, the historical painter exerts a greater laiitude of creative power. This, however, arises from the greater variety, not the superior excellence, of materials or of his principles. Grace more frequently bounds the simple composition of the porirait. Both, however, are essentially the same art--the art of representing nature, and each attains this, its scope and aim, as this incitation is accomplished. And it is more immediate intercourse with this, the sole and primitive source of all beauty and truth, which renders the science of portrait painting the most valuable corrective of all conventional art—ihe best preparative for the loftiest exercises of imagination. This the whole history of art evinces. The only approaches to nature, in the arts of Egypt, are to be found in the colossal heads-as that of Memnon-which there is every reason to believe were portraits. In Greece, their theory of the ideal, and their canons of proportion, were deduced from the study of individual nature, as in portraits. Sculpture, in fact, began to advance with ease and certainty only after the introduction of Iconic statues, or portraits. The Roman school attained originality, and came in contact with truth and beauty, only in portraits. In modern times, with the exception of Michael Angelo, the best portrait have been the best historical painters. Raphael's Transfiguration belongs not more to the grand style of art, than his portrait of Julius. In the schools, now, of France and Italy, we find every thing which theory and the antique can give-fine drawing, correct proportion --but that which portrait could give, feeling and the graces of natural expression are wanting. In the Eng. lish school there is feeling—there is truth-characterall the inexpressible charms of nature. Let patrons do the rest, and we shall have historical paintings, like our portraits, superior to every thing in living art.

Or lead me forth o'er dales and meads,
Even as her child the mother leads;
Where corn, yet milk in its green ears,
The dew upon its shot blade bears;
Where blooming clover grows, and where
She licks her scented foot, the hare;
Where twin-nuts cluster thick, and springs
The thistle with ten thousand stings;
Untrodden flowers and unpruned trees,
Gladden'd with songs of birds and bees;
The ring where last the fairies danced-
The place where dank Will latest glanced-
The tower round which the magic shell
Of minstrel threw its lasting spell-
The stream that steals its way along,
To glory consecrate by song :
And while we saunter, let thy speech
God's glory and his goodness preach.

Or, when the sun sinks, and the bright
Round moon sheds down her lust'rous light;
When larks leave song, and men leave toiling ;
And hearths burn clear, and maids are smiling ;
When hoary hinds, with rustic saws,
Lay down to youth thy golden laws;
And beauty is her wet cheek laying
To her sweet child, and silent praying:
With Thee in hallow'd mood I'll go,
Through scenes of gladness or of woe;
Thy looks inspired, thy chasten'd speech,
Me more than man hath taught, shall teach
And much that's gross, and more that's vain,
As chaff from corn, shall leave my strain.

[ocr errors]

I feel thy presence and thy power,
As feels the rain yon parched flower ;
It lifts its head, spreads forth its bloom,
Smiles to the sky, and sheds perfume.
A child of woe, sprung from the clod,
Through Thee seeks to ascend to God.


By John Malcolm, Esq.
When Reason sleeps, and Fancy wakes,

Far over mount and sea,
My soul-a nightly wanderer-takes

Her lonely walks with thee;-
And meets thee, as we met of yore,

By whispering woods and silvery streams, Upon the calm and shadowy shore

That rises on my dreams.
There--while in visions of the night

With thee my spirit strays,
Amid the land, and in the light

Of long-lost yesterdays
Fair things that fled life's early path,

And left a desert gap around-
The flowers and feelings sunk in death,

And mourn'd as lost-are found.

And there, thy sad sweet smile still glows,

And doth thy cheek illume, That wears the image of the rose,

Now blench'd within the tomb ; And thy soft voice, to silence long

Gone down from earth, my spirit hearsLike the sweet memory of a song,

Echoed from other years.
Oh, why are dreams so blissful given

To charm the hours of sleep
To soothe us with a gleam of Heaven,

Then leave to wake and weep?
Why is the lost one's memory dear,

If it but haunts the heart in vainIf friends by death are sever'd here,

Never to meet again?

THE VALE OF PEACE! and it was Sabbath-morn! And at my side, pausing whene'er I paused, And moving on whene'er I moved, a Spirit Lovelier than Nymph or Goddess of the Dawn, Created in his sleep by some young Greek, Beside that famous fount of Castaly Stretched in day-dreams beneath the olive shade 0! lovelier far that Spirit! For her face, Composed of mortal beauty, seemed immortal! So felt her father, as the holy light Of that still Sabbath-morn, so sad and sweet, Visited her eyes, her cheeks, her brow, her hair, And, to my heart, seemed all reflected back On the green earth, and on the blue profound Of God's own gracious skies !

« THE VALE OF PEACE!" Breathed she, with that low voice so musical, That voice of hers, so like an echo brought From far,—yet as familiarly distinct As words ot' fancy-fraught soliloquy By wandering poet murmured in the woods To his own ear, -none other by to hear The fragments of his song, but forest-birds, The rustling robin redbreast near his nest, In spring and summer shy of human life By the sweet ingrate through the snows beloved ! Or cushat moaning, is it joy or grief?) Ilid in some yew-tree many centuries old ! “ THE Vale of Peace!" my rose-lipped Margaret

breathed Once more, so close unto my heart I felt The fine faint fragrant sigh from Paradise ; Nor ever floated up and down the air, In sunshine shivering to the zephyr's wing, Rose-leaves more lightly, in their balminess, Than did the tones of her repeated voice, Rising and falling,-wavering and away, Each time more eloquent of innocent bliss ! On a soft sofa of the unhewn rock We sat us down, within a natural niche, O'ergrown with emerald velvet,-such a depth Of moss had gathered there from year to year,While overhead, and but few yards aside, Kept dinning ceaseless in the solitude, The tiny cataract of a lucid rill Breathed from a clear loch, up among the braes,Whose spray, like pearls in mist, empurpled bright The flowers, on which the mountain-bees hung mute Amid that watery murmur,-or at once Capriciously forsaking their sweet prisons In the many-celled foxglove, boomed away, Through sunshine, like to fairy humming-birds, To their ground hives, or other balmier wilds.



By Professor Wilson. DIVINELY silent as a picture steep'd In dewy morning-prime, by heavenly art Of some great poet-painter, while he wooed, As if she were a spirit who felt his love, Hush'd Nature, as she slumber'd beautiful Dreaming, or waking beautiful from dreams! Even so divinely silent in the sun, Who had dropt his cloud-retinue in the sea, And up the blue vault journey'd lingeringly, Mild as the moon to homeward reapers dear, And all undazzling, though the dawn grew day, As unto lover's eyes the evening-star ! Even so divinely silent, while my soul Lived in mine eyes, all other senses shut In short oblivion, with its Sabbath-calin Of lights and shadows lay the VALE OF PEACE!

THE VALE OF PEACE! A tranquillizing sound ! Haply so named in the old forgotten time, By pensive minstrel, harping his glad way Through the thin solitudesnow at the door Of hut or shieling on the mountain-side, With verse to some romantic roundelay Accordant, voice and hand in unison, Charming the solitary mother, left With her mute infant, while her husband plied His work in far-off woods ;-now in the inidst Of numerous merriment on the village green, Throned, a magician, on the topmost step Of all the flight, beneath the old Stone-Cross That grandly cleaved in twain the golden mass Of sunset, with a deeper mystery Than hangs round all the luminous orbs of Heaven !

With her, the loved, the good, the beautiful,
Sitting by my side, -almost within my arms,-
A desert had been Eden, and the spring
Buried the winter in a flush of flowers;
But Sabbath-morn shone on The Vale of Peace;
Nor in broad Scotland a more pleasant place
Wakes to the rising sun; nor, as he sets,
Fades lovelier in the fading light--though wind
Away away ten thousand glorious glens
With their long sounding hollows up among
The regions of the everlasting snow,
Enclosing many a nameless nook, unknown
But to the hunter, as he stalks the deer,
Or poet seeking in the farthest depth
Of solitude remoteness farther still
Nooks of such perfect beauty, that one tree,
One rock where broom and heather glow together,
One grove of the wide-waving lady-fern,
Would there be missed, if by some magic wand
Wafted off dreamily from his musing eyes,
And the whole spirit of the wilderness
Changed, because that was gone!

She gazed and gazed
My happy child, and, in her happiness
Deepend the beauty of THE VALE OF PEACE!

Not many tears, and they were tears of joy,
Or pity,-for her fellow-Christians seen
Smiling or weeping, or for creatures dumb
In their mysterious passion, had her eyes
Ever bedimm'd; and then the dewy rays,
In their large orbs, a more delightful kiss
Diffused upon her father's lips, that touch'd
Those holy shrines of feeling and of thought.
But now fast fell her tears, she knew not why,
And a long sigh betray'd th' excess of bliss
Disturbing her young heart! Up rose the lark,
And with it carried Margaret's hymns to heaven,
While she herself was mute! Watching the bird,
She held her pale face up to the blue skies,
Bright in its paleness, as the sunshine fell
Lovingly on those delicate lineaments;
And I might be forgiven, if then I saw
In that her trance of rapt beatitude,
A radiant angel in a child of clay.

With the descending lark her soul return'd
To earth; and, as beneath a tufted clod
Of the young braird, alighting by its nest,
The song of that aèrial chorister
Ceased on a sudden, to the homes of earth
My Margaret's heart, with all its sympathies,
Went yearning, while her glistening eyes did range
THE VALE OF PEACE, from the first house that smiled
On the green mount beneath it's sheltering tree,
A few gay fields beyond the light-railed bridge,
To the dim hut, that, almost like a haze
Of steady vapour, ʼmid the heathery copse,
Speck'd the far mountain side.

“ Yes, my dear child!
To your young eyes that farm is beautiful,
That Farm-house cresting there the sunny knoll
With its old ivied chimneys, its green roof
Shelter'd beneath a roof far greener still,
The Plane-tree's roof, whose honied umbrage hums
(We hear it now) with many a hive of bees,
Come from afar; yet loud as is the hum,
Like soften'd thunder, hark! you hear the cooing
Of the glad doves, and lo! you see them move
With purpling necks, and bosoms swelling proud
Upon the shaded thatch! The streamlet Hows
Round and all round that sweet Peninsula,
Bathing the low holms in undying green,
Where the slow cattle feed; or needful grain,
Greener than greenest herbage, soothes the eye
And heart together, promising to man,
Who prays for it to God, his daily bread!
Yet sorrow visiteth this world of Sin
In the most peaceful places; and the dews,
At morn and evening dropping from that tree
On the rich mosses of that burnish'd roof,
Have fallen not so frequent or so fast
As human tears, around the dying beds
Spread on those lowly floors! The mother brought
Consumption in her blood, while yet a Bride,
To that delightful dwelling; and the veins
Of all her family kept the mortal taint,
Both sons and daughters, hid beneath a skin
As pure as snow, while auburn ringlets waved
O'er every manly, every feminine brow,
A household, by the

heartb or in the air,
The Glory and the Beauty of the Vale!
For many years she linger'd still reviving
As the wild flowers revived, but every spring
Beheld her weak and weaker, as she walked
Down to the kirk with her bright family,
On the mild Sabbaths, or on working days
Tending the house-affairs, or sitting calm
Among her offspring round the blinking hearth,
At evening, with the Bible on her knees !
She died ! and of her duteous children grown
To prime of life's estate, one every year,
For five years following, to the same lown spot,
In the eastern nook of the small burial-place,
Where all their kindred slept, were duly borne !
Three stately sons, two daughters fair as morn,
As glad May-day came round! A Festival,

Long, long ago, still held with dance and song,
When they were girls and boys! The father lives,
A grey-hair'd man, but yet not miserable,
Say rather happy, for two sons survive,
And one meek daughter, meek as summer eve
When dews are falling, and the linnet sings,
Beyond his hour, to hail the Evening Star!
The old man looks unto a lonely life
In th' unbefriended future! Say it not!
Not unbefriended-since, for such as he,
And others who in guilt have found their grief,
(His life has still been blameless before men,
Though frail in purer eyes,) that Infant lay
Within the lowly manger, while from the East
The wise men came with offerings, and the voice
Of angels sang o'er holy Bethlehem!
And often as they walk across the graves,
Unto the house of God, the sickly Three,
To stranger's eye they all look beautiful
In health, for nought deceitful as decay,–
Will steal a look, all unobserved by him
Whose heart quakes ever for his children dear,
At the low mounds, where many a daisy grows,
Ere long to smile in dew above their heads,
Laid by their brothers' and their sisters' sides,
Their mother in the midst! And if a tear
Will sometimes fall, it is not for themselves,
But the grey head then stooping 'neath the porch
Of the small kirk soon fill'd with sound of psalms!
Transient that trance! for holier hopes arise
The kirk is fill’d with worship Jesus speaks
And all vain sorrow dies beneath the Cross !"

I ceased, and a low sobbing by my side
Was all I heard, when, turning round her head,
My Margaret strove to hide her face; then rising,
She walk'd towards the waterfall, and dipp'd
Her small hands in the murmur, o'er her brow
Pouring the liquid coolness; then came back,
With a faint smile, and sat down on the rock
Beside me bappy in her sweet return;
A smile that in its faintness seem'd to say,
“O Father! and is this The Vale of Peace ?"

I laid my arm around my daughter's neck,
And then the natural tears began to flow
Faster than ever,-but her grief was gone,
And she was weeping in strong filial love;
Happy as the young linnet in the broom,
On leaving first its nest, and on the spray
Swinging in sunshine near its parent-bird.

“ Look, Margaret, towards the sun- -the joyous east !
Lo ! on the birken brink of yonder rill
So rocky, that no larger tree may grow
On the thin soil, though sweetest pasturage
Creeps round each crevice of the cliffs, and sheep,
Goatlike, are passing to and fro the heights,
Even as wild creatures. Lo! an airy hut,
Perched on the very summit, one huge stone
Alone behind it, and some stunted shrubs,
Poor shelter-so it seems to the green plat
Before the door; and yet, when storms are up,
And winds are piping loud, the soften'd blast
Strikes through these shrubs upon the little pane
In the clay wall,—and that gigantic pillar
Becalms the roof, even as a little skiff
From tempests sacred in some waveless bay.
There dwells a crone—the oldest of the old !
Her life has past its hundredth year-how long
No one can tell-not she herself-the grave-stones
Of all her children, and her children's children,
In green obliteration long have lain
Sunk in the kirk-yard, and no chronicler
Can point the place—no chronicler but one,
Even she herself, who, bed-rid long ago,
With dim eyes sometimes visits in her dreams
The headstone of the husband of her youth,
And reads the text thereon, for long long years
Still legible, till over all that pook
The matted brambles and rank hemlock rose;
And in the midst a bird-sown seedling thorn,

Growing for generations, now a tree
With gnarled bole, towers higher than the kirk,
In flowering July like a hill of snow!
For listy years have her thin locks been grey,
And deaf her ears as the deaf stones that lie
Scatter'd around, on which the small birds sing
When spring awakes the woods; she hears them not,
Nor yet the winter-night, when all the cliffs
Are torn by cataracts tumbling down the hills,
And heaven is in an uproar! Silence shrouds
Her spirit, and her passied body lies
Stirless upon the pallct, although sleep
Seems ne'er to seal her eyes, still dimly open
In their deep hollow suckets, like a flame
Aye dying, never dead!

“ Beside her sits
A little guardian angel at her wheel,
Singing as cheerful in that hovel dim,-
The smoky roof of rafters almost touching
Her golden head, when rising suddenly
To tend that ancient phantom on her bed,
To turn her palsied side, or from the well,
That fears no summer drought, no winter frost,
To bring that purest medicine to bedew
Her shrivellid lips, or wet the crumbled bread,
Received religiously in those bony hands
Hell up in mute thanksgiving !- Aye she sings,
In that dim hovel the glad orphan sings
As cheerfully as soaring lark that flutters'
At heaven's own gates, yea, with a voice as sweet
As thou dost sing, my Margaret, when our house
Is hush'd at night, and none but thou awake,
Thon, and thy parents praying they may waft
Thy hymnings with them to the world of dreams!”

Gently she laid the lustre of her head
On my paternal bosom, and I kiss'd
My daughter's eyes, and pray'd no bitterer tears
Might ever overllow those lids beloved,
Than the pure drops that fell like dew from heaven
Upon her lilied heart; and as they fell
Seem'd to assuage the sympathies that bind
All nature to the heart of innocence !

But soon the happy creature found her voice,
And, smiling, thank'd me for my narrative.
Then, starting from her seat close to my side,
As quickly escaping from my folding arms,
And flying back as quickly as a dove,
As a tame dove, that, slipping out of hand,
Wheels 'mid the sunshine in a narrow flight,
But soon returns to hover o'er the head
Of one who feeds it, and preserves its plumes
Safe from all beaked birds that hunt the air,
Again my Margaret underneath the cliff
Sat down beside me, and without a word,
Seem'd listening to the cheerful waterfall,
Then bless'd in murmur sweet the VALE OF PEACE!

“ Lo, up the Vale the light-blue heron floats!
And though almost as slowly as a cloud
He seems to float, and o'er yon grove of elms
To pause as if his nest were there-on-on
He wings his way unwearied, till he reach
The moorland loch, upon whose reedy marge
The patient fisher-bird will stand for hours,
With his long bill depending on his breast,
Till the fry-shoal swim by, then arrow-swift
Shot through the clearness on his tinny prey.
Follow his labouring flight-you see him now,
Uncertain speck ! ascending the blue hills
In the far distance, just above a Hut,
Remotest Dwelling in the Vale of Peace!
For not a sheep-fold or a cattle-shed
Beyond_and up among yon shivered cliffs
Kennels the fox, the raven higher still
Croaks sullenly, and many a year ago
'Tis said the eagle had an eyry there,
But the king of birds is dead, or to some isle
Hath flown of the wide sea.

“ You see the hut!

At least you see its smoke! How narrow there The vale, and how profound! Yon streak like snow Is a precipitous waterfall! Yon gloom A wood! Yon seeming sunlight is a lake! A lake too little even for one small boat. So thinks the skilful angler, who, with line Like gossamer, can, with the breeze, command The curling waters, even from shore to shore, From that lake issuing, joined as it flows on By many a feeder-rill, the Avon grows, Soon to a stately stream, till lo! the kirk That standeth midway up the Vale or PEACE Is seen reflected with its downward tower In the clear pool, a stationary sight Among the veering clouds !

“ But to yon hut Let all our thoughts return. Though far remote In its seclusion from the noisy world, The spirit of the noisy world found out Its simple inmates, and the shepherd-life Seem'd'dull to one who, in strange books, had read Of great ships voyaging through unknown seas All round the globe, and touching at fair isles By fairest forms inhabited, and blest With umbrage beauteous in perpetual spring, So he became a sailor, never more, Except in dreams, to see his father's roof; And many a thousand homebound ships returned, Year after year, and many a rumour wild Oft reach'd this inland solitary vale, Of whole crews saved from wrecks, and in fierce lands At last escaping from captivity; Sometimes of one poor sailor from a rock Taken by wandering bark—perhaps their son ! But finally the heart of hope lay cold; And his old parents, when the tempests roared, No longer wept upon their midniglit beds, Nor wearied heaven with unavailing prayers. Smit with the same wild passion, in the prime Of life, another son went to the wars, A doomed man, so every tongue declared, And fell when leading on a " Hope forlorn," Flung headlong from the battlement! Stranger still ! The meek-eyed maiden, who, with quiet steps, Had walked in this retirement all her days, Nor pass'd beyond the circle of these hills, The stay and solace of her parents' age, Was woo'd and won by one who came from far With plumes that waved in military glee, And with her husband in a foreign land Perish’d, 'twas said, in earthquake that heaved up A city shrieking with its thousand towers. Wild fate! for one who had been born and bred In a shepherd's hut on Scotia's flowery braes ! One child remain'd-of rarest beauty she,And all the love belonging to the dead Came back from their far graves, and in her breast Was pour'd, and lodged like sunshine in a cloud, On some calm spot of heaven. One night at prayers Her eyes look'd troubled, and she read the Book Asif its holy meanings threaten'd her, Her who was guiltless in thought, word, and deed, Even as the little children whom our Lord Took in his arms and bless'd. The morning rose, Silent, serene, and sweet,—but never cell Where on the cold stones the chained maniac raves, Heard shriekings sadder or more terrible Than those that from yon solitary hut Disturbåd the Sabbath dawn. Dim years went by, And her old parents watched their only child, Oftenest together, but sometimes by turns, For they were poor, and had to toil for bread, Hour after hour, nor was she left alone One single moment either day or night, For all those years ; till God, at last was pleased, In his exceeding mercy, to dispel The horrid mystery that besieged her brain, And earth, and heaven, and human faces wore The same sweet aspect to her quiet eyes, That they had worn in youth-ere she had wept O’er uncommitted sing. It was in spring

Her senses were restored; and o'er the braes,

verse compressed within the compass of a human bosom. One Sabbath-day she walked into the kirk,

It is the very soul of man rendered susceptible to feel. Between her parents, to their little pew,

ing,-made all but visible. To write poetry, the eye And with them prayed to God in perfect peace,

must dart through infinity,-grasp at a mountain,-and As happy as a child. Returning home,

gaze upon a molehill. It may be spoken,-it may be She laid her down, and never rose again!

read in the eye,-it may be acted, --it may be felt. In But, on her death-bed, to her face returned Her former beauty, so her parents thought,

a word, Poetry is a glowing, an unrestrainable, and resto And something more than beauty, so profound

less emanation from the very essence of man's divinity. The bliss that shone within her closing eyes,

Numbers, elegance, and harmony no more constitute it, While like a very angel's was her voice

than a man's garments constitute the man himself. The That breathed the last farewell !".

one is of the earth, the other is from heaven; they are

necessary habiliments,-- graceful adornments; they have A clear-toned bell

this extent,—no more. Was now heard tinkling through the silent sky,

Servility and sycophantic adulation are degradations And groups of people in their best attire

to which the poet cannot bend. He may be bowed down, Came trooping out into the open light,

he may be broken ; blasted in prospects, ruined, and From hidden pathways in the coppice-woods, :

without hope; he may be made the foot-ball of misfor. Or wending soberly adown the braes,

tune and disappointment,-hurled into a vortex of mi. Startling the linnet froin the broom--or hare That glinted through the whins, in vain pursued

sery, into which, by every cffort to extricate himself, he By barking colley ;-now one figure crossd

is engulfed decper, till he is barked at by the veriest The light-rail'd bridge—and now another ;-Lo!

dogs which fawn upon others. Yet he is not defeated. The dingy coach of some old family,

He may be poor, but he cannot be mean. Despised, but Haply the patron's of the parish, dared

he will despise in return. Proud he will be, but not preThe gravelly ford, and, having pass'd the flood

sumptuous. Encircled with the consciousness of his own In safety lumber'd 'long the rutted road,

superiority, he stands invulnerable to the contempt of Jolting most waggon-like; while stately stood

wealth, and the insinuations of envy ; extracting a me. A liveried lacquey, six feet tall, behind,

lancholy pleasure from the cup of his sufferings, and cull. With long staff in his hand—a sight of pomp

ing flowers of varied fragrance and colouring from the Still view'd with admiration by the child,

wilderness of his own miseries. Superior, however, as Peeping from road-side cottage-door, too young To sit grave in the kirk, so left at home

he is, to complaint, and the noisy grief of little minds To rock the cradle, or the crowing babe

and of weak hearts, he is not the less susceptible of feel. To toss up in the sunshine. All her tears,

ing the evils of the world in their gall and in their viru. Like dew-drops shook from dancing flowers, were shook lence. His very soul is surrounded with a susceptibility From my dear Margaret's eyes; from our rock-seat delicate and sensitive as the organs of vision ; and while Of mossy velvet, in the natural niche

prudence and experience temper him to conceal it, there Within the precipice we rose, and bidding

are a thousand every day occurrences, which, on the maA farewell to the fairy waterfall,

jority of mankind, pass unheeded and unfelt, but which Down the green slope we glided, and ere long

rend the inmost strings of his heart, and rage in his bo. With the church-goers mingling, kindly talked

som like a smothered volcano. And to this men owe With many a new acquaintance and some old;

the knowledge of the minutest operations of their nature, Before the second bell ceased chiming, saw

which are common to all, but felt by few. The minister approaching from the manse ; And ere we entered that low house of God,

Genius is a wild, an unsettled, and a wayward thing; Unto my sweet companion bending down,

and perhaps there never was an instance where it has not I breathed into her ear—“ My Margaret,

cost the father of its possessor a groan, or his mother a With all its woes_this is THE VALE OF Peace!” tear. And, while they on whom it is bestowed, experi.

ence the bitterness of life more keenly than others, on the one hand; they plunge into every pleasure attainable, on

the other, with a strong, an almost destructive zest. Un. POETRY AND POETS.

til the knowledge acquired has tempered excitement,

chilled desire, and placed the reins of a heated imagina. Poets are a raw material, not a manufacture. The tion into the hands of a matured judgment. Though it art of rhyming, smoothness of versification, and har. were presumptuous to affirm that genius is chartered in

mony of numbers, may be acquired : but the strength its levities and irregularities, it is not the less certain that a d the energy, the soul and the fire,—the boundless there are associated with, and diffused throughout its grandeur, and the faculty of discerning the siinple fact follies and its imperfections, a nobleness and strength of which is obvious to all, but unperceived till we wonder mind, and, with its reriest vices, a misdirected virtue.at our ignorance, when, for the first time, it flashes upon But while its wit may illumine, and its information our senses, through the page of the poet, are natural,- lighten, the flattering circle of its would-be associates, let inherent. "Rhyme, it is true, has rushed in like a flood, them not approach too near, lest their garments be conand smooth, beardless ver-ification has choked up the sumed; for while the eagle glances proudly on the midentrance to, and inundated the very market-place of li- day sun, the setting rays of evening may blind the darkterature. Yet, notwithstanding this influx of petty son. ling owl. nets, and the countless volumes of insipid doggrel which Poets, like paintings, to be seen to advantage, must annually stream from the press, true, genuine, nervouis, be viewed froni a distance. Not that they are more wickand thrilling poetry is equally rare in the nineteenth cen ed or vicious than the grosser part of mankind ; but the tury as in the days of Mæonides or Shakspeare. In frequent variance between habit and principle, brings these days, the name of a poet sounds contemptible in the them down to the level of the merest mechanical sinner. ears of the merest blockhead, and is offensive to the nos. The charm of genius is lost, when we find it incorporated trils of genius. We have so long been familiar and tor with mere flesh and blood.' Enveloped in a shroud of mented with the trashy lucubrations of pretenders, tha humanity,—subject to all the ills and the follies which it requires a stretch of fortitude to venture upon the pro- afflict and degrade our nature, we do not find them worse ductions of a new author; and from this cause, many a than others; but we expect to find them better. Victims gem lies buried amidst this mountain-heap of rubbish. to the snares of soliciting society, and thereby dev a ing

Poetry is the dissection of the human heart. It is the from the dray-horse track of sober rectitude, we find them impress, the power, and extension of nature and the uni, living in the love and admiration of the immediate circle

« PředchozíPokračovat »