Obrázky stránek

The slow team creeks upon the road,
The noisy whip resounds,
The driver's voice, his carol blithe,
The mower's stroke, his whetting sithe,
Mix with the morning's sounds.

Who would not rather take his seat
Beneath these clumps of trees,
The early dawn of day to greet,

And catch the healthy breeze,
Than on the silken couch of Sloth
Luxurious to lie ?

Who would not from life's dreary waste, Snatch, when he could, with eager haste, An interval of joy?

To him who simply thus recounts

The morning's pleasures o'er,

Fate dooms, ere long, the scene must close

To ope on him no more.
Yet, Morning! unrepining still

He'll greet thy beams awhile;
And surely thou, when o'er his grave
Solemn the whispering willows wave,
Wilt sweetly on him smile;
And the pale glow-worm's pensive light
Will guide his ghostly walks in the drear moonless



Addressed (during Illness) to a Lady.

DEAR Fanny, I mean, now I'm laid on the shelf,
To give you a sketch-ay, a sketch of myself.
Tis a pitiful subject, I frankly confess,
And one it would puzzle a painter to dress;
But however, here goes, and as sure as a gun,
I'll tell all my faults like a penitent nun;
For I know, for my Fanny, before I address her,
She wont be a cynical father confessor.

Come, come, 'twill not do! put that purling brow down;

You can't, for the soul of you, learn how to frown.
Well, first I premise, it's my honest conviction,
That my breast is a chaos of all contradiction;
Religious--Deistic-now loyal and warm;

Then a dagger-drawn democrat hot for reform:
This moment a fop, that, sententious as Titus;
Democritus now, and anon Heraclitus;
Now laughing and pleased, like a child with a rattle;
Then vex'd to the soul with impertinent tattle;
Now moody and sad, now unthinking and gay,
To all points of the compass I veer in a day.

[blocks in formation]

Well, I've told you my frailties without any gloss; Then as to my virtues, I'm quite at a loss! I think I'm devout, and yet I can't say, But in process of time I may get the wrong way. I'm a general lover, if that's commendation, And yet can't withstand, you know whose fascination. But I find that amidst all my tricks and devices, In fishing for virtues, I'm pulling up vices; So as for the good, why, if I possess it,

1 am not yet learned enough to express it.

You yourself must examine the lovelier side, And after your every art you have tried,

[blocks in formation]

Will the cold earth its silence break,

To tell how soft how smooth a cheek Beneath its surface lies?

Mute, mute is all

O'er Beauty's fall;


Her praise resounds no more when mantled in her


The most beloved on earth
Not long survives to-day;
So music past is obsolete,


And yet 'twas sweet, 'twas passing sweet,

But now 'tis gone away.
Thus does the shade
In memory fade,

When in forsaken tomb the form beloved is laid.


[blocks in formation]

Why fly from ill

With anxious skill,

When soon this hand will freeze, this throbbing heart be still ?


Come, Disappointment, come! Thou art not stern to me; Sad Monitress! I own thy sway, A votary sad in early day,

I bend my knee to thee.

From sun to sun
My race will run,

I only bow, and say, My God, thy will be done!

On another paper are a few lines, written probably in the freshness of his disappointment.

I DREAM no more-the vision flies away,
And Disappointment
There fell my hopes-I lost my all in this,
My cherish'd all of visionary bliss.

Now hope farewell, farewell all joys below;
Now welcome sorrow, and now welcome wo.
Plunge me in glooms * **

His health soon sunk under these habits; he became pale and thin, and at length had a sharp fit sickness. On his recovery he wrote the following lines in the church-yard of his favourite village.



On Recovery from Sickness.

HERE would I wish to sleep.-This is the spot
Which I have long mark'd out to lay my bones in;
Tired out and wearied with the riotous world,
Beneath this Yew I would be sepulchred.
It is a lovely spot! The sultry sun,

From his meridian height, endeavours vainly
To pierce the shadowy foliage, while the zephyr
Comes wafting gently o'er the rippling Trent,
And plays about my wan cheek. 'Tis a nook
Most pleasant. Such a one perchance, did Gray
Frequent, as with a vagrant inuse he wanton'd."

Come, I will sit me down and meditate, For I am wearied with my suminer's walk; And here I may repose in silent ease; And thus, perchance, when life's sad journey's o'er, My harass'd soul, in this same spot, may find The haven of its rest-beneath this sod Perchance may sleep it sweetly, sound as death.

I would not have my corpse cemented down With brick and stone, defrauding the poor earth


Of its predestined dues; no, I would lie
Beneath a little hillock, grass-o'ergrown,
Swathed down with oziers, just as sleep the cottiers
Yet may not undistinguished be my grave;
But there at eve may some congenial soul
Duly resort, and shed a pious tear,
The good man's benison-no more I ask.
And, oh! (if heavenly beings may look down
From where, with cherubin, inspired they sit,
Upon this little dim-discover'd spot,
The earth,) then will I cast a glance below,
On him who thus my ashes shall embalm;
And I will weep too, and will bless the wanderer,
Wishing he may not long be doom'd to pine
In this low-thoughted world of darkling wo,
But that, ere long, he reach his kindred skies.

Yet 'twas a silly thought, as if the body, Mouldering beneath the surface of the earth, Could taste the sweets of summer scenery, And feel the freshness of the balmy breeze! Yet nature speaks within the human bosom, And, spite of reason, bids it look beyond His narrow verge of being, and provide A decent residence for its clayey shell, Endear'd to it by time. And who would lay His body in the city burial-place, To be thrown up again by some rude Sexton, And yield its narrow house another tenant, Ere the moist flesh had mingled with the dust, Ere the tenacious hair had left the scalp, Exposed to insult lewd, and wantonness? No, I will lay me in the village ground; There are the dead respected. The poor hind, Unlettered as he is, would scorn to invade The silent resting-place of death. I've seen The labourer, returning from his toil,

Here stay his steps, and call his children round,
And slowly spell the rudely sculptured rhymes,
And, in his rustic manner, moralize.
I've mark'd with what a silent awe he'd spoken,
With head uncover'd, his respectful manner.
And all the honours which he paid the grave,
And thought on cities, where even cemeteries,
Bestrew'd with all the emblems of mortality,
Are not protected from the drunken insolence
Of wassailers profane, and wanton havoc.
Grant, Heaven, that here my pilgrimage may close
Yet, if this be denied, where'er my bones
May lie or in the city's crowded bounds,
Or scatter'd wide o'er the huge sweep of waters
Or left a prey on some deserted shore
To the rapacious cormorant,-yet still,
(For why should sober reason cast away
A thought which soothe the soul?)-yet still m


Shall wing its way to these my native regions,
And hover o'er this spot. Oh, then I'll think
Of times when I was seated 'neath this yew
In solemn rumination; and will smile
With joy that I have got my long'd release.

[blocks in formation]


[blocks in formation]


Right o'er the Euxine, and that gulf which late The rude Massagetæ adored, he bent His northering course, while round, in dusky state, [augment; The assembling fiends their summon'd troops Clothed in dark mists, upon their way they went, While, as they pass'd to regions more severe,

The Lapland sorcerer swell'd with loud lament The solitary gale, and, fill'd with fear, The howling dogs bespoke unholy spirits near.


Where the North Pole, in moody solitude Spreads her huge tracks and frozen wastes around,

There ice-rocks piled aloft, in order rude,

Form a gigantic hall, where never sound Startled dull Silence' ear, save when profound The smoke-frost mutter'd: there drear Cold for [mound,


Thrones him, and, fix'd on his primæval Ruin, the giant, sits; while stern Dismay way. Stalks like some wo-struck man along the desert

[blocks in formation]


High on a solium of the solid wave,

Prank'd with rude shapes by the fantastic frost, He stood in silence ;-now keen thoughts engrave Dark figures on his front; and, tempest-toss'd He fears to say that every hope is lost. Meanwhile the multitude as death are mute: So, ere the tempest on Malacca's coast, Sweet Quiet, gently touching her soft lute, [pute. Sings to the whispering waves the prelude to dis


At length collected, o'er the dark Divan

The arch-fiend glanced, as by the Boreal blaze Their downcast brows were seen, and thus began His fierce harangue:-"Spirits! our better days Are now elapsed; Moloch and Belial's praise Shall sound no more in groves by myriads trod.

Lo! the light breaks !-The astonish'd nations For us is lifted high the avenging rod! For, spirits, this is He,-this is the Son of God! XIV.


"What then!-shall Satan's spirit crouch to fear? Shall he who shook the pillars of God's reign Drop from his unnerved arm the hostile spear? Madness! The very thought would make me fain

To tear the spanglets from yon gaudy plain, And hurl them at their Maker!-Fix'd as fate

I am his Foe!-Yea, though his pride should deign

To soothe mine ire with half his regal state, Still would I burn with fix'd, unalterable hate.


"Now hear the issue of my cursed emprize,

When from our last sad synod I took flight, Buoy'd with false hopes, in some deep-laid dis guise,

To tempt this vaunted Holy One to write His own self-condemnation; in the plight Of aged man in the lone wilderness,


Gathering a few stray sticks, I met his sight, And, leaning on my staff, seem'd much to [cess. What cause could mortal bring to that forlorn reXVI. "Then thus in homely guise I featly framed My lowly speech:-Good Sir, what leads this [blamed Your wandering steps? must hapless chance be That you so far from haunt of mortals stray? Here have I dwelt for many a lingering day, Nor trace of man have seen; but how! me



Thou wert the youth on whom God's holy ray I saw descend in Jordan, when John taught That he to fallen man the saving promise brought.


""I am that man,' said Jesus, "I am He,


But truce to questions-Canst thou point my To some low hut, if haply such there be In this wild labyrinth, where I may meet With homely greeting, and may sit and eat; For forty days I have tarried fasting here,

Hid in the dark glens of this lone retreat, And now I hunger; and my fainting ear Longs much to greet the sound of fountains gushing



"Then thus I answer'd wily:-'If, indeed,

Son of our God thou be'st, what need to seek For food from men ?-Lo! on these flint stones feed,

Bid them be bread! Open thy lips and speak, And living rills from yon parch'd rock will Instant as I had spoke, his piercing eye [break. Fix'd on my face;-the blood forsook my cheek, I could not bear his gaze;-my mask slipp'd by; I would have shunn'd his look, but had not power

to fly.


"Then he rebuked me with the holy word

Accursed sounds! but now my native pride Return'd, and by no foolish qualm deterr'd, I bore him from the mountain's woody side,


Up to the summit, where extending wide Kingdoms and cities, palaces and fanes, Bright sparkling in the sunbeams, were descried,

And in gay dance, amid luxuriant plains, Tripp'd to the jocund reed the emasculated swains. XX.

""Behold,' I cried, these glories! scenes divine!
Thou whose sad prime in pining want decays;
And these, O rapture! these shall all be thine,
If thou wilt give to me, not God, the praise.
Hath he not given to indigence thy days?
Is not thy portion peril here and pain?

Oh! leave his temples, shun his wounding

Seize the tiara! these mean weeds disdain, Kneel, kneel, thou man of wo, and peace and splendour gain.' XXI.

[blocks in formation]

High on the shrouds the spirit that comThe ocean-farer's life; so stiff-so sear [mands Stood each dark power ;-while through their numerous bands

Beat not one heart, and mingling hope and fear Now told them all was lost, now bade revenge ap pear.

XXVI. Bilence crept stilly through the ranks.-The breeze

Spake most distinctly. As the sailor stands, When all the midnight gasping from the seas Break boding sobs, and to his sight expands

[blocks in formation]

"Ye powers of Hell, I am no coward. I proved this of oid: who led your forces against the armies of Jehovah? Who coped with Ithuriel and the thunders of the Almighty? Who, when stunned and confused ye lay on the burning lake, who first awoke, and collected your scattered powers? Lastly, who led you across the unfathomable abyss to this delightful world, and established that reign here which now totters to its base? How, therefore, dares yon treacherous fiend to cast a stain on Satan's bravery? he who preys only on the defencelesswho sucks the blood of infants, and delights only in acts of ignoble cruelty and unequal contention. Away with the boaster who never joins in action, but, like a cormorant, hovers over the field, to feed upon the wounded, and overwhelm the dying. True bravery is as remote from rashness as from hesitation; let us counsel coolly, but let us execute our counselled purposes determinately. In power we have learned, by that experiment which lost us Heaven, that we are inferior to the Thunder-bearer:-In subtlety-in subtlety alone we are his equals. Open war is impossible.


"Thus we shall pierce our Conqueror, through

the race

Which as himself he loves; tnus ir' we rall, We fall not with the anguish, the disgrace

Of falling unrevenged. The stirring call Of vengeance wrings within me! Warriors all, The word is vengeance, and the spur despair. Away with coward wiles!-Death's coal-black Pull

[blocks in formation]



UNHAPPY White! while life was in its spring,
And thy young muse just waved her joyous wing,
The spoiler came; and all thy promise fair
Has sought the grave, to sleep for ever there.
Oh! what a noble heart was here undone,
When science' self destroy'd her favourite son!
Yes! she too much indulg'd thy fond pursuit,
She sow'd the seeds, but death has reap'd the fruit.
'Twas thine own genius gave the final blow,
And help'd to plant the wound that laid thee low.
So the struck eagle, stretch'd upon the plain,
No more through rolling clouds to soar again,
View'd his own feather on the fatal dart,
And wing'd the shaft that quiver'd in his heart.
Keen were his pangs, but keener far to feel,
He nursed the pinion which impell'd the steel;
While the same plumage that had warm'd his nest,
Drank the last life-drop of his bleeding breast.


THE HOMER OF MR. H. K, WHITE, Presented to me by his Brother, J. Neville White.



BARD of brief days, but ah, of deathless fame!

While on these awful leaves my fond eyes rest, On which thine late have dwelt, thy hand late I pause; and gaze regretful on thy name. [press'd,

Of godlike deeds, far loftier than beseem
The lyre which I in early days have strung;
And now my spirits faint, and I have hung
The shell, that solaced me in saddest hour,

On the dark cypress! and the strings which
With Jesus' praise, their harpings now are o er,
Or, when the breeze comes by, moan, and are heard

no more.

Henry Kirke White died at Cambridge in October, 1806, in consequence of too much exertion in the pursuit of studies that would have matured a mind which disease and poverty could not impair, and which death itself destroyed rather than subdued. His poems abound in such beauties as must impress the reader with the liveliest regret that so short a period was allotted to talents, which would have dignified even the sacred functions he was destined to assume.

And must the harp of Judah sleep again?

Shall I no more re-animate the lay? Oh! thou who visitest the sons of men,

Thou who dost listen when the humble pray, One little space prolong my mournful day! One little lapse suspend thy last decree !

I am youthful traveller in the way, And this slight boon would consecrate to thee, Ere I with Death_shake hands, and smile that I am free.


By neither chance nor envy, time nor flame, Be it from this its mansion dispossess'd! But thee, Eternity, clasps to her breast, And celestial splendour thrones thy claim.


No more with mortal pencil shalt thou trace
An imitative radiance: thy pure lyre
Springs from our changeful atmosphere's embrace,
And beams and breathes in empyreal fire:
The Homeric and Miltonian sacred tone
Responsive hail that lyre congenial to their own.
C. L.

Bury, 11th Jan. 1807.




IF worth, if genius, to the world are dear,
To Henry's shade devote no common tear.
His worth on no precarious tenure hung,
From genuine piety his virtues sprung:
If pure benevolence, if steady sense,
Can to the feeling heart delight dispense;
If all the highest efforts of the mind,
Exalted, noble, elegant, refined,

Call for fond sympathy's heart-felt regret,
Ye sons of genius, pay the mournful debt:
His friends can truly speak how large his claim,
And "Life was only wanting to his fame."
Art Thou, indeed, dear youth, for ever fled?
So quickly number'd with the silent dead.
Too sure I read it in the downcast eye,
Hear it in mourning friendship's stifled sigh.
Ah! could esteem, or admiration, save
So dear an object from th' untimely grave,
This transcript faint had not essay'd to tell,
The loss of one beloved, revered so well.
Vainly I try, even eloquence were weak,
The silent sorrow that I feel, to speak.

Alluding to his pencilled sketch of a head surrounded with a glory.

« PředchozíPokračovat »