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Wild rose, and roving eglantine; nor spared
To mourn their fading forms with childish tears.
Gray birch and aspen light she loved, that droop
Fringing the crystal stream; the sportive breeze
That wantoned with her brown and glossy locks;
The sunbeam chequering the fresh bank; ere dawn
Wandering, and wandering still at dewy eve,
By Glenderamakin's flower-empurpled marge,
Derwent's blue lake, or Greta's wildering glen.
Rare sound to her was human voice, scarce heard,
Save of her aged nurse or shepherd maid
Soothing the child with simple tale or song.
Hence all she knew of earthly hopes and fears,
Life's sins and sorrows: better known the voice
Beloved of lark from misty morning cloud
Blithe caroling, and wild melodious notes
Heard mingling in the summer wood, or plaint
By moonlight, of the lone night-warbling bird.
Nor they of love unconscious, all around
Fearless, familiar they their descants sweet
Tuned emulous; her knew all living shapes
That tenant wood or rock, dun roe or deer,
Sunning his dappled side, at noontide crouched,
Courting her fond caress; nor fled her gaze
The brooding dove, but murmured sounds of joy.
Even thus amid thy pride and luxury,
Oh earth ! shall that last coming burst on thee,
That secret coming of the Son of Man,
When all the cherub-throning clouds shall shine,
Irradiate with his bright advancing sign:
When that Great Husbandman shall wave his fan,
Sweeping, like chaff, thy wealth and pomp away;
Still to the noontide of that nightless day
Shalt thou thy wonted dissolute course maintain.
Along the busy mart and crowded street,
The buyer and the seller still shall meet,
And marriage-feasts begin their jocund strain:
Still to the pouring out the cup of woe;
Till earth, a drunkard, reeling to and fro,
And mountains molten by his burning feet,
And heaven his presence own, all red with furnace
The hundred-gated cities then, The towers and temples, named of men Eternal, and the thrones of kings; The gilded summer palaces, The courtly bowers of love and ease, Where still the bird of pleasure sings: Ask ye the destiny of them? Go, gaze on fallen Jerusalem ! Yea, mightier names are in the fatal roll, 'Gainst earth and heaven God's standard is unfurled; The skies are shrivelled like a burning scroll, And one vast common doom ensepulchres the world. Oh! who shall then survive? Oh! who shall stand and live? When all that hath been is no more; When for the round earth hung in air, With all its constellations fair In the sky's azure canopy; When for the breathing earth, and sparkling sea, Is but a fiery deluge without shore, Heaving along the abyss profound and darkA fiery deluge, and without an ark?
The dead of all the ages round thee wait:
And when the tribes of wickedness are strewn
Like forest-leaves in the autumn of thine ire:
Faithful and True! thou still wilt save thine own |
The saints shall dwell within the unharming fire,
Each white robe spotless, blooming every palm.
Even safe as we, by this still fountain's side,
So shall the church, thy bright and mystic bride,
Sit on the stormy gulf a halcyon bird of calm.
Yes, 'mid yon angry and destroying signs,
O'er us the rainbow of thy mercy shines;
We hail, we bless the covenant of its beam,
Almighty to avenge, almightiest to redeem :
The REv. GEORGE CROLY, rector of St Stephen's, Walbrook, London, is a voluminous writer in various departments—poetry, history, prose fiction, polemics, politics, &c. He is a native of Dublin, born about 1780, and educated at Trinity College. His principal poetical works are, Paris in 1815, a description of the works of art in the Louvre; The Angel of the World, 1820; Verse Illustrations to Gems from the Antique; Pride shall have a Fall, a comedy; Catiline, a tragedy; Poetical Works, 2 vols., 1830; The Modern Orlando, a satirical poem, 1846 and 1855, &c. His romances of Salathiel, Tales of the Great St Bernard, and Marston, have many powerful and eloquent passages. A certain gorgeousness of imagination, sometimes running into extravagance, is characteristic of most of the versatile doctor's works. The most important of his theological works is The Apocalypse of St John, a new Interpretation, 1827. Dr Croly's historical writings consist of a series of Sketches, a Character of Curran, Political Life of Burke, The Personal History of King George the Fourth, &c.
This was the ruler of the land,
When Athens was the land of fame;
This was the light that led the band,
When each was like a living flame;
The centre of earth's noblest ring,
Of more than men, the more than king.
Yet not by fetter, nor by spear,
His sovereignty was held or won:
Feared—but alone as freemen fear;
Loved—but as freemen love alone;
He waved the sceptre o'er his kind
By nature's first great title-mind!
Resistless words were on his tongue,
Then Eloquence first flashed below;
Full armed to life the portent sprung,
Minerva from the Thunderer's brow!
And his the sole, the sacred hand,
That shook her Egis o'er the land.
And throned immortal by his side,
A woman sits with eye sublime,
Aspasia, all his spirit's bride;
But, if their solemn love were crime,
Pity the beauty and the sage,
Their crime was in their darkened age.
He perished, but his wreath was won; He perished in his height of fame: Then sunk the cloud on Athens' sun, Yet still she conquered in his name. Filled with his soul, she could not die; Her conquest was Posterity !
[The French Army in Russia.] [From Paris in 1815.]
Magnificence of ruin! what has time
In all it ever gazed upon of war,
Of the wild rage of storm, or deadly clime,
Seen, with that battle's vengeance to compare?
How glorious shone the invaders' pomp afar!
Like pampered lions from the spoil they came;
The land before them silence and despair,
The land behind them massacre and flame;
Blood will have tenfold blood. What are they now?
Homeward by hundred thousands, column-deep, Broad square, loose squadron, rolling like the flood When mighty torrents from their channels leap, Rushed through the land the haughty multitude, - Billow on endless billow; on through wood, O'er rugged hill, down sunless, marshy vale, The death-devoted moved, to clangour rude Of drum and horn, and dissonant clash of mail, Glancing disastrous light before that sunbeam pale.
Again they reached thee, Borodino ! still
Upon the loaded soil the carnage lay,
The human harvest, now stark, stiff, and chill,
Friend, foe, stretched thick together, clay to clay;
In vain the startled legions burst away;
The land was all one naked sepulchre;
The shrinking eye still glanced on grim decay,
Still did the hoof and wheel their passage tear,
Through cloven helms and arms, and corpses moulder
The field was as they left it; fosse and fort
Steaming with slaughter still, but desolate;
The cannon flung dismantled by its port;
Each knew the mound, the black ravine whose strait
Was won and lost, and thronged with dead, till fate
Had fixed upon the victor—half undone.
There was the hill, from which their eyes elate
Had seen the burst of Moscow's golden zone;
But death was at their heels; they shuddered and
The hour of vengeance strikes. Hark to the gale! As it bursts hollow through the rolling clouds, That from the north in sullen grandeur sail Like floating Alps. Advancing darkness broods Upon the wild horizon, and the woods, Now sinking into brambles, echo shrill, As the gust sweeps them, and those upper floods Shoot on their leafless boughs the sleet-drops chill, That on the hurrying crowds in freezing showers distil.
They reach the wilderness! The majesty Of solitude is spread before their gaze, Stern nakedness–dark earth and wrathful sky. If ruins were there, they long had ceased to blaze; If blood was shed, the ground no more betrays, Even by a skeleton, the crime of man; Behind them rolls the deep and drenching haze, Wrapping their rear in night; before their van The struggling daylight shews the unmeasured desert wan.
Still on they sweep, as if their hurrying march Could bear them from the rushing of His wheel Whose chariot is the whirlwind. Heaven's clear arch At once is covered with a livid veil; In mixed and fighting heaps the deep clouds reel; Upon the dense horizon hangs the sun, In sanguine light, an orb of burning steel; The snows wheeldownthrough twilight, thick and dun; Now tremble, men of blood, the judgment has begun!
The trumpet of the northern winds has blown, And it is answered by the dying roar Of armies on that boundless field o'erthrown: Now in the awful gusts the desert hoar Is tempested, a sea without a shore, Lifting its feathery waves. The legions fly; Wolley on volley down the hailstones pour; Blind, famished, frozen, mad, the wanderers die, And dying, hear the storm but wilder thunder by.
Such is the hand of Heaven | A human blow Had crushed them in the fight, or flung the chain Round them where Moscow's stately towers were low And all bestilled. But Thou! thy battle-plain Was a whole empire; that devoted train Must war from day to day with storm and gloom— Man following, like the wolves, to rend the slainMust lie from night to night as in a tomb, Must fly, toil, bleed for home; yet never see that home.
LETITIA ELIZABETH LAN DON,
This lady was generally known as ‘L. E. L.,’ in consequence of having first published with her initials only. Her earliest compositions were Poetical Sketches, which appeared in the Literary Gazette t afterwards (1824) she published The Improvisatrice, which was followed by two more volumes of poetry. She also contributed largely to magazines and annuals, and was the authoress of a novel entitled Romance and Reality. , She was born at Hans Place, Chelsea, in 1802, the daughter of Mr Landon, a partner in the house of Adair, armyagent. Lively, susceptible, and romantic, she early commenced writing poetry. Her father died, and she not only maintained herself, but assisted her relations by her literary labours. In 1838 she was married to Mr George Maclean, governor of
one morning, after writing the previous night some cheerful and affectionate letters to her friends in England, she was (October 16) found dead in her
Birthplace of Miss Landon.
room, lying close to the door, having in her hand a bottle which had contained prussic acid, a portion of which she had taken. From the investigation which took place into the circumstances of this melancholy event, it was conjectured that she had undesigningly taken an overdose of the fatal medicine, as a relief from spasms in the stomach. Having surmounted her early difficulties, and achieved an easy competence and a daily extending reputation, much might have been expected from the genius of L. E. L., had not her life been prematurely terminated. Her latter works are more free, natural, and forcible than those by which she first attracted notice.
I would not care, at least so much, sweet Spring,
For the departing colour of thy flowers—
The green leaves early falling from thy boughs—
Thy birds so soon forgetful of their songs—
Thy skies, whose sunshine ends in heavy showers;
But thou dost leave thy memory, like a ghost,
To haunt the ruined heart, which still recurs
To former beauty; and the desolate
Is doubly sorrowful when it recalls
It was not always desolate.
When those eyes have forgotten the smile they wear noW
When care shall have shadowed that beautiful brow;
When thy hopes and thy roses together lie dead,
And thy heart turns back pining to days that are fled
Then wilt thou remember what now seems to pass
Like the moonlight on water, the breath-stain on glass;
Oh! maiden, the lovely and youthful, to thee,
How rose-touched the page of thy future must be !
By the past, if thou judge it, how little is there B:" that flourish, but hopes that are fair;
And what is thy present? a southern sky’s spring, With thy feelings and fancies like birds on the wing.
As the rose by the fountain flings down on the wave
Its blushes, forgetting its glass is its grave;
So the heart sheds its colour on life's early hour;
But the heart has its fading as well as the flower.
The charmèd light darkens, the rose-leaves are gone,
And life, like the fountain, floats colourless on.
Said I, when thy beauty's sweet vision was fled,
How wouldst thou turn, pining, to days like the dead!
Oh! long ere one shadow shall darken that brow,
Wilt thou weep like a mourner o'er all thou lov'st now;
When thy hopes, like spent arrows, fall short of their
Or, like meteors at midnight, make darkness more dark:
When thy feelings lie fettered like waters in frost,
Or, scattered too freely, are wasted and lost:
For aye cometh sorrow, when youth hath passed by-
Ah! what saith the proverb . Its memory's a sigh.
[From ‘The Improvisatrice']
I loved him as young Genius loves,
When its own wild and radiant heaven
Of starry thought burns with the light,
The love, the life, by passion given.
I loved him, too, as woman loves-
Reckless of sorrow, sin, or scorn:
Life had no evil destiny
That, with him, I could not have borne !
I had been nursed in palaces;
Yet earth had not a spot so drear,
That I should not have thought a home
In Paradise, had he been near !
How sweet it would have been to dwell,
Apart from all, in some green dell
Of sunny beauty, leaves and flowers;
And nestling birds to sing the hours!
Our home, beneath some chestnut's shade,
But of the woven branches made:
Our vesper-hymn, the low wone wail
The rose hears from the nightingale;
And waked at morning by the call
Of music from a water-fall.
But not alone in dreams like this,
Breathed in the very hope of bliss,
I loved: my love had been the same
In hushed despair, in open shame.
I would have rather been a slave,
In tears, in bondage by his side,
Than shared in all, if wanting him,
This world had power to give beside :
My heart was withered—and my heart
Had ever been the world to me:
And love had been the first fond dream,
Whose life was in reality.
I had sprung from my solitude,
Like a young bird upon the wing,
To meet the arrow; so I met
My poisoned shaft of suffering.
And as that bird, with drooping crest
And broken wing, will seek his nest,
But seek in vain: so vain I sought
My pleasant home of song and thought.
There was one spell upon my brain,
Upon my pencil, on my strain;
But one face to my colours came;
My chords replied to but one name—
Lorenzo !—all seemed vowed to thee,
To passion, and to misery !
of diction, but few of them have become favourites with vocalists or in the drawing-room. Her poem,
Miss Baillie's House, Hampstead.
entitled The Kitten, which appeared in an early volume of the Edinburgh Annual Register, has a
truth to mature which ranks it among the best pieces of the kind in our language.
Wanton droll, whose harmless play
Beguiles the rustic's closing day,
When drawn the evening fire about,
Sit aged Crone and thoughtless Lout,
And child upon his three-foot stool,
Waiting till his supper cool;
And maid, whose cheek outblooms the rose,
As bright the blazing fagot glows,
Who, bending to the friendly light,
Plies her task with busy sleight;
Come, shew thy tricks and sportive graces,
Thus circled round with merry faces.
Backward coiled, and crouching low,
With glaring eyeballs watch thy foe,
The housewife's spindle whirling round,
Or thread, or straw, that on the ground
Its shadow throws, by urchin sly
Held out to lure thy roving eye;
Then, onward stealing, fiercely spring
Upon the futile, faithless thing.
Now, wheeling round, with bootless skill,
Thy bo-peep tail provokes thee still, 400
The featest tumbler, stage-bedight,
To thee is but a clumsy wight,
Who every limb and sinew strains
To do what costs thee little pains;
For which, I trow, the gaping crowd
Requites him oft with plaudits loud.
But, stopped the while thy wanton play,
Applauses, too, thy feats repay:
For then beneath some urchin's hand,
With modest pride thou tak'st thy stand,
While many a stroke of fondness glides
Along thy back and tabby sides.
Dilated swells thy glossy fur,
And loudly sings thy busy pur,
As, timing well the equal sound,
Thy clutching feet bepat the ground,
And all their harmless claws disclose,
Like prickles of an early rose;
While softly from thy whiskered cheek
Thy half-closed eyes peer mild and meek.
But not alone by cottage-fire
Do rustics rude thy feats admire;
The learned sage, whose thoughts explore
The widest range of human lore,
Or, with unfettered fancy, fly
Through airy heights of poesy,
Pausing, smiles with altered air
To see thee climb his elbow-chair,
Or, struggling on the mat below,
Hold warfare with his slippered toe.
The widowed dame, or lonely maid,
Who in the still, but cheerless shade
Of home unsocial, spends her age,
And rarely turns a lettered page;
Upon her hearth for thee lets fall
The rounded cork, or paper-ball,
Nor chides thee on thy wicked watch
The ends of ravelled skein to catch,
But lets thee have thy wayward will,
Perplexing oft her sober skill.
Even he, whose mind of gloomy bent,
In lonely tower or prison pent,
Reviews the coil of former days,
And loathes the world and all its ways;
What time the lamp's unsteady gleam
Doth rouse him from his moody dream,
Feels, as thou gambol'st round his seat,
His heart with pride less fiercely beat,
And smiles, a link in thee to find
That joins him still to living kind.
Whence hast thou, then, thou witless Puss,
The magic power to charm us thus?
Is it, that in thy glaring eye,
And rapid movements, we descry,
While we at ease, secure from ill,
The chimney-corner snugly fill,
A lion, darting on the prey,
A tiger, at his ruthless play?
Or is it, that in thee we trace,
With all thy varied wanton grace,
An emblem viewed with kindred eye,
Of tricksy, restless infancy?
Ah! many a lightly sportive child,
Who hath, like thee, our wits beguiled,
To dull and sober manhood grown,
With strange recoil our hearts disown.
Even so, poor Kit ! must thou endure,
When thou becomest a cat demure,
Full many a cuff and angry word,
Chid roughly from the tempting board.
And yet, for that thou hast, I ween,
So oft our favoured playmate been,
Soft be the change which thou shalt prove,
When time hath spoiled thee of our love;
Still be thou deemed, by housewife fat,
A comely, careful, mousing cat,
Whose dish is, for the public good,
Replenished oft with savoury food.
Nor, when thy span of life is past,
Be thou to pond or dunghill cast;
But gently borne on good man's spade,
Beneath the decent sod be laid,
And children shew, with glistening eyes,
The place where poor old Pussy lies.
[From Addres to Mis Ama Baiute on her Birthday.'
[In order thoroughly to understand and appreciate the following verses, the reader must be aware that the author and her sister, daughters of a former minister of Bothwell on the Clyde, in Lanarkshire, lived to an advanced age constantly in each other's society. Miss Agnes Baillie still (1859) survives.]
Dear Agnes, gleamed with joy and dashed with tears
O'er us have glided almost sixty years
Since we on Bothwell's bonnybraes were seen,
By those whose eyes long closed in death have been-
Two tiny imps, who scarcely stooped to gather
The slender harebell on the purple heather;
No taller than the foxglove's spiky stem,
That dew of morning studs with silvery gem.
Then every butterfly that crossed our view
With joyful shout was greeted as it flew;
And moth, and lady-bird, and beetle bright,
In sheeny gold, were each a wondrous sight.
Then as we paddled barefoot, side by side,
Among the sunny shallows of the Clyde,”
Minnows or spotted parr with twinkling fin,
Swimming in mazy rings the pool within.
A thrill of gladness through our bosoms sent,
Seen in the power of early wonderment.
A long perspective to my mind appears, Looking behind me to that line of years; And yet through every stage I still can trace Thy visioned form, from childhood's morning grace To woman's early bloom-changing, how soon! To the expressive glow of woman's noon; And now to what thou art, in comely age, Active and ardent. Let what will engage Thy present moment—whether hopeful seeds In garden-plat thou sow, or noxious weeds From the fair flower remove, or ancient lore In chronicle or legend rare explore, Or on the parlour hearth with kitten play, Stroking its tabby sides, or take thy way To gain with hasty steps some cottage door, On helpful errand to the neighbouring poor— Active and ardent, to my fancy's eye Thou still art young, in spite of time gone by. Though oft of patience brief, and temper keen, Well may it please me, in life's latter scene, To ' what now thou art and long to me hast