« PředchozíPokračovat »
Greek Patriot,' and 'Grecian Liberty,' breathe a stern feeling of patriotism, and contain much spirited and glowing description.
Italy, a Conference,' has some passages of great luxuriance and beauty. But we can afford no more extracts.
Among the contributions furnished to this volume by others, there is much good poetry, and we are gratified with their appearance, not merely as they serve to swell our stock of native poetry, but as they hold out the promise of better things hereafter. There is, in particular, a good deal of poetical feeling and imagery in the pieces contributed by Mr Longfellow. He is generally flowing, manly, and correct; but he occasionally allows a feeble line, or negligent expression, to have place. We do not think that the two lines,
• Why comes he not? Alas! I should
Reclaim him still, if weeping could,' p. 114. are in the best style of versification. The auxiliaries should and could, employed as rhyming words, give the couplet an appearance of poverty and feebleness. We could point to other occasional blemishes, but these weigh little in comparison with the author's prevailing merits. The following stanzas purporting to have been a - Hymn of the Moravian Nuns, at the Consecration of Pulaski's Banner,' have been much and justly admired.
When the dying flame of day
Through the chancel shot it ray,
Far the glimmering tapers shed
Faint light on the cowled head,
And the censer burning swung,
Where before the altar hung
That proud banner, which with prayer
Had been consecrated there.
And the nuns' sweet hymn was heard the while,
Sung low in the dim, mysterious aisle.
Take thy banner !-may it wave
Proudly o'er the good and brave,
When the battle's distant wail
Breaks the sabbath of our vale,-
When the clarion's music thrills
To the hearts of these lone hills,-
When the spear in conflict shakes,
And the strong lance shivering breaks.
Take thy banner and beneath
The war cloud's encircling wreath,
Guard it-till our homes are free
Guard it-God will prosper thee!
In the dark and trying hour,
In the breaking forth of power,
In the rush of steeds and men,
His right hand will shield thee then.
Take thy banner! But when night
Closes round the ghastly fight,
If the vanquished warrior bow,
Spare him! -- by our holy vow,
By our prayers and many tears,
By the mercy that endears,
Spare him-he our love hath shared-
Spare him—as thou wouldst be spared !
Take thy banner !—and if e'er
Thou shouldst press the soldier's bier,
And the muffled drum should beat
To the tread of mournful feet,
Then this crimson flag shall be
Martial cloak and shroud for thee!
And the warrior took that banner proud,
And it was his martial cloak and shroud. pp. 58–60. Mr Jones's versification is generally easy and correct, and his conceptions sprightly, and sometimes vigorous, His - Autumnal Hymn of the Husbandman’ is characterized by great simplicity of language. Much plainness, and perhaps occasional homeliness of thought and expression, are permitted or required by the subject. We think, however, that in his attempt to attain the utmost degree of simplicity, this writer has been occasionally betrayed into the use of expressions, which good taste would modify or reject. As a specimen of Mr Jones's manner, we quote the hymn entire.
Now we rest from our toils, Lord, our labors are done,
Our meadows are bared to the kiss of the sun;
We have winnowed the wheat,-well our toil it repays,
And our oxen have eaten the husks of the maize.
We gathered our harvests; with strength in each limb
Toiled the mower; the ripe grass bowed prostrate to him;
And the reaper, as nimbly he felled the proud grain,
Was blither than those who wear sceptres and reign.
And the wheat blade was tall, and the full, golden ear
Proclaimed that the months of rejoicing were near;
The grape in rich clusters hung, promising mirth,
And the boughs of the apple tree slept on the earth.
Did we thank thee, then, God of the seasons ? Oh no!
We were prompt in accepting thy favors, but slow
Were our lips to give thanks for the rich gifts, thy hand
Showered thick on the maize littered vales of our land.
Thou hast rained on us manna, Lord,-yet we are mute;
Though summers, all smiles, of thy love are the fruit,
Springs and autumns, as fair as the Orient boasts,
Dawn on us,-yet faint are our tongues, Lord of Hosts !
Now we raise our glad voices-in gratitude raise,
And we waft on the beams of the morning our praise ;
We thank thee for golden grain gathered in shock,
And the milk of the kine, and the fleece of the flock.
And we thank thee for limbs moving light to the task,
For hearts beating high, though unwarmed of the fask,
Fill us, Lord, with just sense of thy bounty, and give
Health to us, and to all in the land where we live.
pp. 110, 111. The following stanzas by Mr Dawes will be enough to prove, that he has the imagination and taste of a poet.
THE SPIRIT OF BEAUTY.
The Spirit of Beauty unfurls her light,
And wheels her course in a joyous flight;
I know her track through the balmy air,
By the blossoms that cluster and whiten there;
She leaves the tops of the mountains green,
And gems the valley with crystal sheen.
At morn, I know where she rested at night,
For the roses are gushing with dewy delight;
Then she mounts again, and around her flings
A shower of light from her purple wings,
Till the spirit is drunk with the music on high,
That silently fills it with ecstacy!
At noon, she hies to a cool retreat,
Where bowering elms over waters meet;
She dimples the wave, where the green leaves dip,
That smiles, as it curls, like a maiden's lip,
When her tremulous bosom would hide, in vain,
From her lover, the hope that she loves again.
At eve, she hangs o'er the western sky
Dark clouds for a glorious canopy ;
And round the skirts of each sweeping fold,
She paints a border of crimson and gold,
Where the lingering sunbeams love to stay,
When their god in his glory has passed away.
She hovers around us at twilight hour,
When her presence is felt with the deepest power;
She mellows the landscape, and crowds the stream
With shadows that flit like a fairy dream ;-
Still wheeling her flight through the gladsome air,
The Spirit of Beauty is everywhere! pp. 54, 55. Mr Mellen's fancy appears to delight in scenes of grandeur and wildness. The following lines on Mount Washington, the loftiest peak of the White Mountains in New Hampshire,' are not destitute of spirit and energy. We refer to the two first stanzas and the last; the third, which speaks of the dim forms of the mighty dead,' we do not profess to understand, and consider it an essential defect in a description, otherwise striking and natural.
Mount of the clouds; on whose Olympian height
The tall rocks brighten in the ether air,
And spirits from the skies come down at night,
To chant immortal songs to Freedom there!
Thine is the rock of other regions ; where
The world of life which blooms so far below
Sweeps a wide waste; no gladdening scenes appear,
Save where with silvery flash the waters flow
Beneath the far off mountain, distant, calm, and slow.
Thine is the summit where the clouds repose,
Or eddying wildly round thy cliffs are borne;
When Tempest mounts his rushing car, and throws
His billowy mist amid the thunder's home!
Far down the deep ravines the whirlwinds come,
And bow the forests as they sweep along ;
While roaring deeply from their rocky womb
The storms come forth—and hurrying darkly on,
Amid the echoing peaks the revelry prolong!
And when the tumult of the air is fled,
And quenched in silence all the tempest flame,
There come the dim forms of the mighty dead,
Around the steep which bears the hero's name.
The stars look down upon them—and the same
Pale orb that glistens o'er his distant grave,
Gleams on the summit that enshrines his fame.
And lights the cold tear of the glorious brave-
The richest, purest tear, that memory ever gave!
Mount of the clouds ! when winter round thee throws
The hoary mantle of the dying year,
Sublime amid thy canopy of snows,
Thy towers in bright magnificence appear !
'Tis then we view thee with a chilling fear,
Till summer robes thee in her tints of blue ;
When lo! in softened grandeur, far, yet clear,
Thy battlements stand clothed in Heaven's own hue,
To swell as Freedom's home on man's unbounded view!
pp. 128, 129. Some of the anonymous pieces in this collection have merits, that would bear a critical examination. But we choose to refer our readers to the volume itself, and this we do with the entire conviction, that all lovers of poetry will find abundance in its pages to reward a diligent perusal.