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TO MY LYR E.
V. THOU simple Lyre !-Thy music wild
These honours, Lyre, we yet may keep, Has served to charm the weary hour,
I, still unknown, may live with thee, And many a lonely night has 'guiled,
And gentle zephyr's wing will sweep When even pain has own'd and smiled,
Thy solemn string, where low I sleep,
Beneath the alder tree.
This little dirge will please me more Will little heed thy simple tones:
Than the full requiem's swelling peal; Them mightier minstrels harping loud
I'd rather than that crowds should sigh Engross,- and thou and I must shroud
For me, that from some kindred eye
The trickling tear should steal.
Yet dear to me the wreath of bay, Well skill'd, I throw with sweep sublin.e
Perhaps from me debarrd: For me, no academic lore
And dear to me the classic zone, Has taught the solemn strain to pour,
Which, snatch'd from learning's labour'd thuone, Or build the polish'd rhyme.
Adorns the accepted bard.
And 0! if yet 'twere mine to dwell Thou know'st to charm the woodland train :
Where um or Isis winds along, The rustic swains believe thy power
Perchance, inspired with ardour chaste, Can hush the wild winds when they roar,
I yet might call the ear of taste And still the billowy main.
To listen to my song.
I'd change to happier luys,
Should swell the note of praise.
A SKETCH IN VERSE.
LO! in the west, fast fades the lingering light, And, fancy-led, beheld the Almighty's form
While happiness evades the busy crowd, Breathes its wild music on the downy gale.
In rural coverts loves the maid to shroud.
And thou too, Inspiration, whose wild flame Now when the rustic wears the social smile, Shoots with electric swiftness through the frame, Released from day and its attendant toil,
Thou here dost love to sit with up-turn'd eye, And draws his household round their evening fire, And listen to the stream that murmurs by, And tells the oft-told tales that never tire;
The woods that wave, the gray owl's silken flight, Or where the town's blue turrets dimly rise, The mellow music of the listening night. And manufacture taints the ambient skies,
Congenial calms more welcome to my breast The pale mechanic leaves the labouring loom, Than maddening joy in dazzling lustre dressid, The air-pent hold, the pestilential room,
To Heaven my prayers, my daily prayers, I raise, And rushes out, impatient to begin
That ye may bless my unambitious days, The stated course of customary sin;
Withdrawn remote, from all the haunts of strife, Now, now my solitary way I bend
May trace with me the lowly vale
of life, Where solemn groves in awful state impend. And when her banner Death shall o'er me wave, And cliffs, that boldly rise above the plain,
May keep your peaceful vigils on my grave. Bespeak, bless'd Clifton! thy sublime domain. . Now as I rove, where wide the prospect grows, Here lonely wandering o'er thy sylvan bower, A livelier light upon my vision flows. I come to pass the meditative hour;
No more above th' embracing branches meet, To bid awhile the strife of passion cease,
No more the river gurgles at my feet, And woo the calms of solitude and peace.
But seen deep, down the cliffs impending side, And oh ! thou sacred Power, who rear'st on high Through hanging woods, now gleams its silver tide. Thy leafy throne where waving poplars sigh ! Dim is my upland path,-across the green Genius of woodland shades! whose mild control Fantastic shadows fling, yet oft between Steals with resistless witchery to the soul,
The chequer'd glooms, the moon her chaste ray Come with thy wonted ardour, and inspire
[heads, My glowing bosom with thy hallowed fire.
Where knots of blue-bells droop their graceful And thou too, Fancy, from thy starry sphere, And beds of violets blooming mid the trees, Where to thy hymning orbs thou lend'st thine Load with waste fragrance the nocturnal breeze.
ear, Do thou descend, and bless my ravish'd sight, Say, why does Man, while to his opening sight Veil'd in soft visions of serene delight.
Each shrub presents a source of chaste delight, At thy command the gale that passes by
And Nature bids for him her treasures flow, Bears in its whispers mystic harmony.
And gives to him alone his bliss to know, Thou war'st thy wand, and lo! what forms appear! Why does he pant for Vice's deadly charms ? On the dark cloud what giant shapes career! Why clasp the syren Pleasure to his arms? The ghosts of Ossian skim the misty, vale,
And suck deep draughts of her voluptuous breath, And hosts of Sylphids on the moon-beams sail. Though fraught with ruin, infamy, and death ?
Could he who thus to vile enjoyment clings, This gloomy alcove darkling to the sight, Know what calm joy from purer sources springs; Where meeting trees create eternal night;
Could he but feel how sweet, how free from strae, Save when, from yonder stream, the sunny ray, The harmless pleasures of a harmless life, Reflected, gives a dubious gleam of day;
No more his soul would pant for joys impure, Recalls, endearing to my alter'd mind,
The deadly chalice would no more allure, Times, when beneath the boxen hedge reclined, But the sweet portion he was wont to sip, I watch'd the lapwing to her clamorous brood; Would turn to poison on his conscious lip. Or lured the robin to its scatter'd food;
Fair Nature! thee, in all thy varied charms, Or woke with song the woodland echo wild, Fain would I clasp for ever in my arms! And at each gay response delighted smiled. Thine are the sweets which never, never sate, How oft, when childhood threw its golden ray Thine still remain through all the storms of fate. Of gay romance o'er every happy day,
Though not for me, 'twas Heaven's divine costo Here would I run, a visionary boy,
mand When the hoarse tempest shook the vaulted sky, To roll in acres of paternal land,
Yet still my lot is bless'd, while I enjoy
Now pass'd, whate'er the upland heights display, Thine opening beauties with a lover's eye.
Down the steep cliff I wind my devious way;
Oft rousing, as the rustling path I beat, Happy is he, who, though the cup of bliss
The timid hare from its accustom'd seat. Has ever shunn'd him when he thought to kiss, And oh! how sweet this walk o'erhung with wood, Who, still in abject poverty or pain,
That winds the margin of the solemn flood! Can count with pleasure what small joys remain : What rural objects steal upon the sight! Though were his sight convey'd from zone to zone, What rising views prolong the calm delight; He would not find one spot of ground his own, The brooklet branching from the silver Trent, Yet, as he looks around, he cries with glee,
The whispering birch by every zephyr bent,
And, frequent interspersed, the woodman's pile.
Rocks, waters, woods, in grand succession rise. Converting all it touches into gold.
High up the cliff the varied groves ascend, Content can soothe, where'er by fortune placed, And mournful larches o'er the wave impend. Can rear a garden in the desert waste.
Around, what sounds, what magic sounds, arise,
What glimmering scenes salute my ravish'd eyes? How lovely, from this hill's superior height, Soft sleep the waters on their pebbly bed, Spreads the wide view before my straining sight! The woods wave gently o'er my drooping head, O'er many a varied mile of lengthening ground, And, swelling slow, comes wafted on the wind, E'en to the blue-ridged hill's remotest boand, Lorn Progne's note from distant copse behind. My ken is borne; while o'er my head serene, Stil, every rising sound of calm delight The silver moon illumes the misty scene :
Stamps but the fearful silence of the night, Now shining clear, now darkening in the glade, Save when is heard, between each dreary rest, In all the soft varieties of shade.
Discordant from her solitary nest,
The owl, dull-screaming to the wandering moon; Behind me, lo! the peaceful hamlet lies,
Now riding, cloud-wrapp'd, near her highest noon: The drowsy god has seal'd the cotter's eyes.
Or when the wild-duck, southering, hither rides, No more, where late the social faggot blazed, And plunges sullen in the sounding tides. The vacant peal resounds, by little raised; But lock'd in silence, o'er Arion's star
How oft, in this sequester'd spot, when youth The slumbering Night rolls on her velvet car: Gave to each tale the holy force of truth, The church-bell tolls, deep-sounding down the Have I long linger'd, while the milk-maid sung glade,
The tragic legend, till the woodland rung! The solemn hour for walking spectres made ; That tale, so sad! which, still to memory dear, The simple plough-boy, wakening with the sound, From its sweet source can call the sacred tear, Listens aghast, and turns him startled round, And (lull'd to rest stem Reason's harsh control) Then stops his ears, and strives to close bis eyes, Steal its soft magic to the passive soul. [wind, Lest at the sound some grisly ghost should rise. These hallow'd shades,-these trees that woo the Now ceased the long, and monitory toll,
Recall its faintest features to my mind.
Since, in yon hamlet's solitary shade,
The beautepus Margaret; for her each swain
Confess'd in private his peculiar pain,
Nor dared to hope to win the peerless fair.
No more entwined the pansied wreath, to deck And in the branch that rears above the rest
His favourite wether's unpolluted neck, The robin unmolested builds its nest.
But listless, by yon bubbling stream reclined, 'Twas here, when hope, presiding o'er my breast, He mix'd his sobbings with the passing wind, In vivid colours every prospect dress'd :
Bemoan'd his helpless love; or, boldly bent, 'Twas here, reclining, I indulged her dreams,
Far from these smiling fields, a rover went, And lost the hour in visionary schemes.
O'er distant lands, in search of ease, to roam,
A self-will'd exile from his native home.
Her Bateman loved, nor loved the youth in vain. Time's sombrous tints have every view o'erspread, Full oft, low whispering o'er these arching boughs And thou too, gay seducer, art thou fled ?
The echoing vault responded to their vows,
Yon bosky dingle, still the rustics name;
That blasted yew, that mouldering walnut bare, Yet some can rise superior to their pain,
Each bears mementos of the fated pair.
One eve, when Autumn loaded every breeze Unmoved, their fairest prospects fade away:
With the fallen honours of the mourning trees, But yet a few there be,-too soon o'ercast !
The maiden waited at the accustom'd bower, Who shrink unhappy from the adverse blast, And waited long beyond the appointed hour, And woo the first bright gleam, which breaks the Yet Batemen came not;-'er the woodland drear, gloom,
Howling portentous, did the winds career; To gild the silent slumbers of the tomb,
And bleak and dismal on the leafless woods, So in these shades the early primrose blows,
The fitful rains rush'd down in sullen floods ; Too soon deceived by suns and melting snows, The night was dark; as, now and then, the gale So falls untimely on the desert waste;
Paused for a moment,-Margaret listen'd, pale; Its blossoms withering in the northern blast. But through the covert to her anxious ear,
No rustling footstep spoke her lover near.
Strange fears now Alld her breast-she knew not • The constellation Delphinus. For authority
why for this appellation, vide Ovid's Fasti, B. xi. 113. She sighd, and Bateman's name was in each sigh.
She hears a noise, 'tis he,- he comes at last, Then rush'd impetuous from the dreadful spot, Alas! 'twas but the gale which hurried past: And sought those scenes, (by memory ne'er fonsol.) But now she hears a quickening footstep sound, Those scenes, the witness of their grow mg fiamt, Lightly it comes, and nearer does it bound;
And now like witnesses of Margaret's shame. Tis Bateman's self,-he springs into her arms, "Twas night-he sought the river's lonely shore, "Tis he that clasps, and chides her vain alarms. And traced again their former wanderings o'er. “Yet why this silence ?-I have waited long, Now on the bank in silent grief he stood, And the cold storm has yell'd the trees among. And gazed intently on the stealing flood, And now thou'rt here my fears are fled-yet speak, Death in his mien and madness in his eye, Why does the salt tear moisten on thy cheek? He watch'd the waters as they murmur'd by ; Say, what is wrong?"-Now, through a parting Bade the base murderess triumph o'er his gravecloud,
Prepared to plunge into the whelming wave.
He knelt...Cool play'd upon his cheek the wind, “Oh, speak, my love !" again the maid conjured, And fann'd the fever of his maddening mind. "Why is thy heart in sullen wo immured
The willows waved, the stream it sweetly swer', He raised his head, and thrice essay'd to tell, The paly moonbeam on its surface slept, Thrice from his lips the unfinish'd accents fell; And all was peace;-he felt the general calm When thus at last reluctantly he broke
O'er his rackid bosom shed a genial balm : His boding silence, and the maid bespoke :
When casting far behind his streaming eye, “Grieve not, my love, but ere the mom advance, He saw the Grove,-- in fancy saw her lie, I on these fields must cast my parting glance; His Margaret, luli'd in Germain's arms to rest, For three long years, by cruel fate's command, And all the demon rose within his breast. I go to languish in a foreign land.
Convulsive now, he clench'd his trembling hand, Oh, Margaret! omens dire have met my view, Cast his dark eye once more upon the land, Say, when far distant, wilt thou hear me true? Then, at one spring he spurn' the yielding bank, Should honours tempt thee, and should riches fee, And in the calm deceitful current sank. Wouldst thou forget thine ardent vows to me, And, on the silken couch of wealth reclined,
Sad, on the solitude of night, the sound, Banish thy faithful Bateman from thy mind? As in the stream he plunged, was heard around:
Then all was still the wave was rough no more, “Oh! why,” replies the maid, “my faith thus The river swept as sweetly as before ; prove,
The willows waved, the moonbeams shone serene, Canst thou ! ah, canst thou, then suspect my love? And peace retuming brooded o'er the scene. Hear me, just God! if from my traitorous heart, Now, see upon the perjured fair one hang My Bateman's fond remembrance e'er shall part, Remorse's glooms and never-ceas.ng pang. If, when he hail again his native shore,
Full well she knew, repentant now too late, He find nis Margaret true to him no more,
She soon must bow beneath the stroke of fate. May fiends of hell, and every power of dread, But, for the babe she bore beneath her breast, Conjoin'd, then drag me from my perjured bed, The offended God prolong'd her life unbless'd. And hurl me headlong down these awful steeps, But fast the fleeting monuents coll'd away, To find deserved death in yonder deeps !"
And near, and nearer drew the dreaded day;
That day, foredoom'd to give her child the light, Thus spoke the maid, and from her finger drew And hurl its mother to the shades of night. A golden ring, and broke it quick in two;
The hour arrived, and from the wretched wife One half she in her lovely bosom hides,
The guiltless baby struggled into life.-The other, trembling, to her love confides, As night drew on, around her bed, a band “ This bind the vow," she said, "this mystic charm, Of friends and kindred kindly took their stand; No future recantation can disarm,
In holy prayer they pass'd the creeping time, The right vindictive does the fates involve,
Intent to expiate her awful crime. No tears can move it, no regrets dissolve."
Their prayers were fruitless As the midnight came,
A heavy sleep oppress'd each weary frame. She ceased. The death-bird gave a dismal cry, In vain they strove against the o'erwhelming load, The river moan'd, the wild gale whistled by, Some power unseen their drowsy lids bestrode. And once again the Lady of the night
They slept, till in the blushing eastern sky Behind a heavy cloud withdrew her light.
The blooming Morning oped her dewy eye : Trembling she view'd these portents with dismay: Then wakening wide they sought the ravish'd bed, But gently Batemen kias'd her fears away:
But lo! the hapless Margaret was fled ; Yet still he felt conceal's a secret smart,
And never more the weeping train were doom'd Still melancholy bodings fill'd his heart
To view the false one, in the deeps intomb'd. When to the distant land the youth was sped, The neighbouring rustics told that in the night A lonely life the moody maiden led.
They heard such screams as froze them with Still would she trace each dear, each well-known
And many an infant, at its mother's breast, Still by the moonlight to her love would talk, Started dismay'd, from its unthinking rest. And fancy, as she paced among the trees,
And even now, upon the heath forlorn, She heard his whispers in the dying breeze. They show the path down which the fair was borne, Thus two years glided on in silent grief;
By the fell demons, to the yawning wave, The third her bosom own'd the kind relief:
Her own, and murder'd lover's, mutual grave. Absence had cool'd her love the impoverish'd flame Was dwindling fast, when lo! the tempter came; Such is the tale, so sad, to memory dear, He offer'd wealth, and all the joys of life,
Which oft in youth has charm'd my listening ear, And the weak maid became another's wife!
That tale, which bade me find redoubled sweets
In the drear silence of these dark retreats, Six guilty months had mark'd the false one's crime, And even now, with melancholy power, When Batemen hail'd once more his native clinie, Adds a new pleasure to the lonely hour. Sure of her constancy, elate he came,
Mid all the charms by magic Nature given The lovely partner of his soul to claim,
To this wild spot, this sublunary heaven, Light was his heart, as up the well-known way With double joy enthusiast Fancy leans He bent his steps and all his thoughts were gay. On the attendant legend of the scenes. Oh! who can paint his agonizing throes,
This sheds a fairy lustre on the floods, When on his ear the fatal news arose !
And breathes a mellower gloom upon the woods; Chill'd with amazement,-senseless with the blow, This, as the distant cataract swells around, He stood a marble monument of wo;
Gives a romantic cadence to the sound; Till call'd to all the horrors of despair,
This, and the deepening glen, the alley green, He smote his brow, and tore his horrent hair; The silver stream, with sedgy tufts between
This part of the Trent is commonly called “The Clifton Deepe."
• Germain is the traditionary name of her hus band.
The massy rock, the wood-encompass'd leas,
Yet still she kept her lonely way, The broom-clad islands, and the nodding trees,
And this was all her cry, The lengthening vista, and the present gloom,
“Oh! tell me but if Bertrand live, The verdant pathway breathing waste perfume
And I in peace shall die."
All in the rock's hard side,
The cavern yawning wide.
The deadly nightshade hung;
The hemlock and the aconite
Across the mouth were flung.
And all without was calm ;
Yet Gondoline enter'd, her soul upheld I'll pause, and think of all thy dear delights,
By some deep-working charm.
And as she enter'd the cavern wide,
The moonbeam gleamed pale, more,
and she saw a snake on the craggy rock, Trace once again old Trent's romantic shore,
It clung by its slimy tail.
Her foot it slipp'd, and she stood aghast,
She trod on a bloated toad;
Yet, still upheld by the secret charm,
She kept upon her road.
Mysterious sounds arose;
So, on the mountain's piny top, My sprite shall wander through this favourite
gloom, The blustering north wind blows. Ride on the wind that sweeps the leafless grove, Sigh on the wood-blast of the dark alcove,
Then furious peals of laughter loud Sit, a lorn spectre on yon well-known grave,
Were heard with thundering sound, And mix its moanings with the desert wave.
Till they died away in soft decay,
Low whispering o'er the ground.
The charm yet onward led,
Though each big glaring ball of sight
Seem'd bursting from her head.
But now a pale blue light she saw,
It from a distance came,
She followed, till upon her sight,
Burst full a flood of flame.
She stood appall'd; yet still the charm
Upheld her sinking soul;
Yet each bent knee the other smote,
And each wild eye did roll.
No mortal saw before,
And such a sight as she saw there,
No mortal shall see more.
A burning cauldron stood in the midst,
The flame was fierce and high,
And all the cave so wide and long,
Was plainly seen thereby.
And round about the cauldron stout
Twelve withered witches stood:
Their waists were bound with living snakes, And many a month had pass'd away,
And their hair was stiff with blood.
Their hands were gory too; and red
And fiercely flamed their eyes :
And they were muttering indistinct
Their hellish mysteries.
And suddenly they join'd their hands,
And utter'd a joyous cry,
And round about the cauldron stout
They danced right merrily.
And now they stopp'd; and each prepured
To tell what she had done,
Since last the Lady of the night But now despair had seized her breast,
Her waning course had run.
Behind a rock stood Gondoline,
Thick weeds her face did veil,
And she lean'd fearful forwarder,
To hear the dreadful tale.
Rare sport since the blind cat mew'd,