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The sparkling grotto can delight you still, Oh cull their choicest tints, their softest
light, Weave all these spells into one dream of
night, And, while the lovely artist slumbering
lies, Shed the warm picture o'er her mental
eyes; Take for the task her own creative spells, And brightly show what song but faintly
Some elfin mansion sparkled through the
shade; And, while the foliage interposing played, Lending the an ever-changing
grace, Fancy would love, in glimpses vague, to The flowery capital, the shaft, the porch, And dream of temples, till her kindling
torch Lighted me back to all the glorious days Of Attic genius; and I seemed to gaze On marble, from the rich Pentelic mount, Gracing the umbrage of some Naiad's
fount. Then thought I, too, of thee, most
sweet of all The spirit race that come at poet's call, Delicate Ariel ! who, in brighter hours, Lived on the perfume of these honied
bowers, In velvet buds, at evening, loved to lie, And win with music every rose's sigh. Though weak the magic of my humble
strain To charm your spirit from its orb again, Yet, oh, for her, beneath whose smile I
sing, For her (whose pencil, if your rainbow
wing Were dimmed or ruffled by a wintry sky. Could smooth its feather and relume its
dye,) Descend a moment from your starry
sphere, And, if the lime-tree grove that once was
dear, The sunny wave, the bower, the breezy
TO GEORGE MORGAN, ESQ.
OF NORFOLK, VIRGINIA.2
FROM BERMUDA, JANUARY, 1804. κείνη δ' ήνεμόεσσα και άτροπος οία θ' αλίπληξ, αιθυλης και μάλλον επίδρομος ήεπερ ίπποις, πόντο ενεστήρικται.
CALLIMACH. Hymn, in Del. v. 11. Oh, what a sea of storm we ’ve past ! High mountain waves and foamy show
ers, And battling winds whose savage blast
But ill agrees with one whose hours
Have past in old Anacreon's bowers, Yet think not poesy's bright charm Forsook me in this rude alarm : 3. When close they reefed the timid sail,
1 This is an illusion which, to the few who are fanciful enough to indulge in it, renders the scenery of Bermuda particularly interesting. In the short but beautiful twilight of their spring evenings, the white cottages, scattered over the islands, and but partially seen through the trees that surround them, assume often the appearance of little Grecian temples; and a vivid fancy may embellish the poor fisherman's hut with columns such as the pencil of a Claude might imitate. I had one favorite object of this kind in my walks, which the hospitality of its owner robbed me of, by asking me to visit him. He was a plain good man, and received me well and warmly, but I could never turn his house into a Grecian temple again.
2 This gentleman is attached to the British consulate at Norfolk. His talents are worthy of a much higher sphere; but the excellent dispositions of the family with whom he resides, and the cordial repose he enjoys amongst some of the kindest hearts in the world, should be almost enough to atone to him for the worst caprices of fortune. The consul himself, Colonel Hamilton, is one among the very few instances of a man, ardently loyal to his king, and yet beloved by the Americans. His house is the very temple of hospitality, and I sincerely pity the heart of that stranger who, warm from the welcome of such a board, could sit down to write a libel on his host, in the true spirit of a modern philosophist. See the Travels of the Duke de la Rouchefoucault. Liancourt, vol. ii.
3 We were seven days on our passage from Norfolk to Bermuda, during three of which we were forced to lay-to in a gale of wind. The Driver sloop of war, in which I went, was built at Bermuda of cedar, and is accounted an excellent sea-boat. She was then commanded by my very regretted friend Captain Compton, who in July last was killed aboard the Lilly in an action with a French privateer. Poor Compton! he fell a victim to the strange im policy of allowing such a miserable thing as the Lilly to remain in the service : so small, crank, and unmanageable, that a well-manned merchantman was at any time a match for her.
When, every plank complaining loud, We labored in the midnight gale, And even
our haughty main-mast bowed, Even then, in that unlovely hour, The Muse still brought her soothing
power, And, midst the war of waves and wind, In song's Elysium lapt my mind. Nay, when no numbers of my own Responded to her wakening tone, She opened, with her golden key,
The casket where my memory lays Those gems of classic poesy, Which time has saved from ancient
Such, while in air I floating hung,
Such was the strain, Morgante mio! The muse and I together sung,
With Boreas to make out the trio. But, bless the little fairy isle !
How sweetly after all our ills,
Serenely o’er its fragrant hills;
Take one of these, to Lais sung, I wrote it while my hammock swung, As one might write a dissertation Upon “ Suspended Animation !"
Sweet 1 is your kiss, my Lais dear, But, with that kiss I feel a tear Gush from your eyelids, such as start When those who've dearly loved must
part. Sadly you lean your head to mine, And mute those arms around me twine, Your hair adown my bosom spread, All glittering with the tears you shed. In vain I 've kist those lids of snow, For still, like ceaseless founts they
flow, Bathing our cheeks, whene'er they meet. Why is it thus? Do, tell me, sweet ! Ah, Lais! are my bodings right? Am I to lose you? Is to-night Our last -go, false to heaven and me! Your very tears are treachery.
Could you but view the scenery fair,
That now beneath my window lies, You 'd think, that nature lavished there
Her purest wave, her softest skies, To make a heaven for love to sigh in, For bards to live and saints to die in. Close to my wooded bank below,
In glassy calm the waters sleep, And to the sunbeam proudly show
The coral rocks they love to steep.? The fainting breeze of morning fails;
The drowsy boat moves slowly past, And I can almost touch its sails
As loose they flap around the mast. The noontide sun a splendor pours That lights up all these leafy shores; While his own heaven, its clouds and
beams, So pictured in the waters lie, That each small bark, in passing, seems
To float along a burning sky.
Oh for the pinnace lent to thee,3
Blest dreamer, who, in vision bright, Didst sail o'er heaven's solar sea
And touch at all its isles of light.
1 This epigram is by Paul the Silentiary, and may be found in the Analecta of Brunck, vol. iii. p. 72. As the reading there is somewhat different from what I have followed in this translation, I shall give it as I had it in my memory at the time, and as it is in Heinsius, who, I believe,
I first produced the epigram. See his “Poemata. ηδύ μέν έστι φίλημα το Λαιδός: ηδυ δε αυτών
ήπιοδινητων δάκρυ χέεις βλεφάρων, και πολύ κιχλίζουσα σοβείς ευβόστρυχον αίγλην,
ημέτερα κεφαλήν δηρόν έρεισαμένη. μυρομένην δ' εφίλησα τα δ' ως δροσερής από
πηγής, δάκρυα μιγνυμένων πίπτε κατά στoμάτων: είπε δ' ανειρομένω, τίνος oύνεκα δάκρυα λείβεις;
δείδια μή με λιπής: εστε γαρ ορκαπάται.
2 The water is so clear around the island, that the rocks are seen beneath to a very great depth; and, as we entered the harbor, they appeared to us so near the surface that it seemed impossible we should not strike on them. There is no necessity, of course, for heaving the lead; and the negro pilot, looking down at the rocks from the bow of the ship, takes her through this difficult navigation, with a skill and confidence which seem to astonish some of the oldest sailors.
3 In Kircher's “Ecstatic Journey to Heaven,” Cosmiel, the genius of the world, gives Theodidactus a boat of asbestos, with which he embarks into the regions of the sun. “Vides (says Cos. miel) hanc asbestinam naviculam commoditati tuæ præparatam.'
" I. Dial. i. сар. 5.
This work of Kircher abounds with strange fancies.
Sweet Venus, what a clime he found Within thy orb's ambrosial round! 1. There spring the breezes, rich and
warm, That sigh around thy vesper car; And angels dwell, so pure of form
That each appears a living star.2 These are the sprites, celestial queen!
Thou sendest nightly to the bed Of her I love, with touch unseen
Thy planet's brightening tints to shed; To lend that eye a light still clearer, To give that cheek one rose-blush
more, And bid that blushing lip be dearer,
Which had been all too dear before.
LINES, WRITTEN IN A STORM
Of her he loves —
That rapture moves.
But, whither means the muse to roam? 'Tis time to call the wanderer home. Who could have thought the nymph would
perch her Up in the clouds with Father Kircher? So, health and love to all your mansion ! Long may the bowl that pleasures
Yet do I feel more tranquil far
In this dark hour,
To Julia's bower.
To pleasure's thrill;
Lies mute and still. 'T is true, it talks of danger nigh, Of slumbering with the dead to-morrow
In the cold deep, Where pleasure's throb or tears of sorrow No more shall wake the heart or eye,
But all must sleep.
The flow of heart, the soul's expansion,
Mirth and song, your board illumine. At all your feasts, remember too,
When cups are sparkling to the brim, That here is one who drinks to you,
And, oh! as warmly drink to him.
Well!- there are some, thou stormy bed, To whom thy sleep would be a treasure;
Oh! most to him, Whose lip hath drained life's cup of
pleasure, Nor left one honey drop to shed
Round sorrow's brim.
1 When the Genius of the world and his fellow-traveller arrive at the planet Venus, they find an island of loveliness, full of odors and intelligences, where angels preside, who shed the cosmetic influence of this planet over the earth ; such being, according to astrologers, the “vis influxiva" of Venus. When they are in this part of the heavens, a casuistical question occurs to Theodidactus, and he asks," Whether baptism may be performed with the waters of Venus?”
an aquis globi Veneris baptismus institui possit?" to which the Genius answers, tainly.”
2 This idea is Father Kircher's: “tot animatos coles dixisses.” — “Itinerar.” I. Dial. i. cap. 5.
Yes -- he can smile serene at death: Kind heaven, do thou but chase the
Of friends who love him; Tell them that he lies calmly sleeping Where sorrow's sting or envy's breath
No more shall move him.
EURIPID. “ Medea," v. 967. Nay, tempt me not to love again,
Till even this heart should burn with There was
a time when love was shame, sweet;
And be thy own more fixt than ever ? Dear Nea! had I known thee then, No, no — on earth there 's only one
Our souls had not been slow to meet. Could bind such faithless folly fast; But, oh, this weary heart hath run, And sure on earth but one alone
So many a time, the rounds of pain, Could make such virtue false at last !
For thee were but a worthless shrine
Must thrill a soul more pure than Where man may pass his loveless nights, mine. Unfevered by her false delights,
Oh! thou shalt be all else to me, Thither my wounded soul would fly, That heart can feel or tongue can feign; Where rosy cheek or radiant eye
I'll praise, admire, and worship thee, Should bring no more their bliss, or pain, But must not, dare not, love again. Nor fetter me to earth again. Dear absent girl! whose eyes of light, Though little prized when all my own,
tale iter omne cave.
Propert. lib. iv. eleg. 8. Now float before me, soft and bright As when they first enamouring I PRAY you, let us roam no more shone,
Along that wild and lonely shore, What hours and days have I seen glide,
Where late we thoughtless strayed; While fixt, enchanted, by thy side, ’T was not for us, whom heaven intends Unmindful of the fleeting day,
To be no more than simple friends, I've let life's dream dissolve away.
Such lonely walks were made. O bloom of youth profusely shed ! O moments! simply, vainly sped, That little Bay, where turning in Yet sweetly too — for Love perfumed From ocean's rude and angry din, The flame which thus my life consumed; As lovers steal to bliss, And brilliant was the chain of flowers, The billows kiss the shore, and then In which he led my victim-hours.
Flow back into the deep again,
As though they did not kiss. Say, Nea, say, couldst thou, like her, When warm to feel and quick to err, Remember, o'er its circling flood Of loving fond, of roving fonder, In what a dangerous dream we stood – This thoughtless soul might wish to wan- The silent sea before us, der,
Around us, all the gloom of grove, Couldst thou, like her, the wish reclaim, That ever lent its shade to love, Endearing still, reproaching never, No eye but heaven's o'er us!
Did not a frown from you reprove, You read it in these spell-bound eyes,
Myriads of eyes to me were none; And there alone should love be read;
Enough for me to win your love, You hear me say it all in sighs,
And die upon the spot, when won. And thus alone should love be said.
A DREAM OF ANTIQUITY. Then dread no more; I will not speak; I just had turned the classic page,
Although my heart to anguish thrill, And traced that happy period over, I'll spare the burning of your cheek, When blest alike were youth and age, And look it all in silence still.
And love inspired the wisest sage,
And wisdom graced the tenderest lover. Heard you the wish I dared to name,
To murmur on that luckless night, Before I laid me down to sleep When passion broke the bonds of shame, Awhile I from the lattice gazed And love grew madness in your sight? | Upon that still and moonlight deep,
With isles like floating gardens raised, Divinely through the graceful dance, For Ariel there his sports to keep;
You seemed to float in silent song, While, gliding 'twixt their leafy shores Bending to earth that sunny glance, The lone night-fisher plied his oars. As if to light your steps along.
I felt, - so strongly fancy's power Oh! how could others dare to touch Came o'er me in that witching hour, That hallowed form with hand so As if the whole bright scenery there free,
Were lighted by a Grecian sky, When but to look was bliss too much, And I then breathed the blissful air
Too rare for all but Love and me! That late had thrilled to Sappho's sigh. With smiling eyes, that little thought Thus, waking, dreamt I, - and when
How fatal were the beams they threw, Sleep My trembling hands you lightly caught, Came o'er my sense, the dream went And round me, like a spirit, flew.