Obrazy na stronie

'If earth must change as on we go,

If life, and loveliness, and truth'
Must pass from every thing below,

With the delightful days of youth?
'Alas, alas, as we move on,

If thus the heart from bliss must sever,
Better were manhood not begun

Better we children be for ever!'

The only thing like Wordsworth here, is that it is poetry. It would be well for some of the writer's critics, if they were 'tinctured' with a little of the same folly.

We give Mr. Bacon great credit, likewise, for the vividness and power of his imagination. We would select the last half of. Thanatos,' a poem of much power and beauty, and the · Vision of War,' as undeniable proofs of his claims, in this regard, to general admiration.

We give Mr. Bacon credit, also, for that which is the best test of poetic genius ; power of description. Here he must speak for himself. The following is from ‘A Forest Noon Scene :'

“This is indeed a sacred solitude,
And beautiful as sacred. Here no sound,
Save such as breathes a soft tranquillity,
Falls on the ear; and all around, the eye
Meets nought bui hath a moral. These deep shades,
With here and there an upright trunk of ash,
Or beech, or nut, whose branches interlaced
O'ercanopy us, and, shutting out the day,
A twilight make-- they press upon the heart
With force amazing and unutterable.
These trunks enormous, from the mountain side
Ripp'd roots and all by whirlwinds; those vast pines
Athwart the ravine's melancholy gloom
Transversely cast; these monarchs of the wood,
Dark, gnarld, centennial oaks, that throw their arms
So proudly up; those monstrous ribs of rock
That, shiver'd by the thunder-stroke, and hurl'd
From yonder cliff, their bed for centuries,
Here crushed and wedged; all by their massiveness,
And silent strength, iinpress us with a sense
Of Deity. And here are wanted not
More delicate forms of beauty. Numerous tribes
Of natural flowrets blossom in these shades,
Meet for the scene alone. At ev'ry step,
Some beauteous combination of soft hues,
Less brilliant though than those that deck the field,
The eye attracts. Mosses of softest green,
Creep round the trunks of the decayed trees;
And mosses, hueless as the mountain snow,
Inlay the turf. Here, softly peeping forth,
The eye detects the little violet,
Such as the city boasts - of paler hue,
Yet fragrant more. The simple forest flower,
And that pied gem, the wind-tower, sweetly named,
Here greet the cautious search ; while, bending down
Right o'er the forest walk, the wild syringa
Displays its long and tufted flower, and swings
In the soft breeze. And these soft delicate forms,
And breaths of perfume, send th’unwilling heart
And all its aspirations to the source
of life and light. Nor woodland sounds are wanting,
Such as the mind to that soft melancholy
The poet feels, lull soothingly. The winds
Are playing with the forest tops in glee,
And music make. Sweet rivulets
Slip here and there from out the crevices

of rifted rocks, and, welling 'mid the roots
Of prostrate trees, or blocks transversely cast,
Form jets of driven snow. The housing bee,
The plunderer of the uplands, has come out
Into these cooler haunts, and sweetly fills
The void air with his murmurings. Soft symphonies
Of birds unseen, on every side swell out,
As if the spirit of the wood complained,
Harmonious and most prodigal of sound;
And these can woo the spirit with such power,
And tune it to a mood so exquisite,
That the enthusiast heart forgets the world,
Its strifes and follies, and seeks only here

"To satisfy its thirst for happiness.' We extract, also, The Indian Summer :'

• The Indian summer has come again,
With its mellow fruits and its ripened grain :
The sun pours round on the hazy scene,
His rays half shorn of their golden sheen,
And the birds in the thicks seem too sad to sing,
And sad is the sound of the wild wind's wing.

' And hither and thither, an ash leaf sear
Goes slowly off through the atmosphere -
And there may be heard, when the breeze steals out,
The hum of the bee and the torrent's shout
And the caw of the crow wakes the solitudes,
And the hill fox barks in the faded woods.

*And over the hill to his patch of grain,

The reaper goes with his empty wain
His lash resounds, his wagon rings,
The steep re-echoes the catch he sings-
And the long drawn vales seem to take the strain,
And send it up to the hill again.

' And here where late the dog-wood threw
Its berries forth of a crimson hue -
And deep in the dell where the birch was seen,
With its fragrant bark and tassels green -
The colors are gone, the leaves are gray,
They fall, and are swept by the brook away.

"The daisy low on the bank is lying,
The leaves of the brier are dead and dying,
The lea has never a blossom blue,
Where late the rose and violet grew,
And life is passing from glade and glon :

The Indian summer has come again.' The following passage from · A Fragment of an Epistle,' we offer with unaffected pleasure. There is painting by words in it, which will win all suffrages :

"I sat me where the window threw And, as the flashing sun rose bright, The distant landscape in to view.

They seemed like crystals in the light. The enow was on each living thing, Where wound the maple colonnade, The birds were mute nor moved a wing, The leafless boughs still cast a shade, And 'neath a garment clear and cold, Curious, for on the crust of snow Each flower slept locked in frozen mould. They vipers seemed toss'd to and fro. Here long drawn vales in silver white Where ran the rill in early spring, Glistening, were offered to the sight. Beneath those maples glittering, Where ran the hedge, or old stone wall, Singing and dancing as the wave The icy sheet had covered all,

Went bickering o'er its sandy pave, And all along the rails and hung

And catching on it, shadows dim Downward, the icicles were strung, Of violets along its brim,

Or lily fair or water-cress,

A fane as by some artist reared, That stooped its cheek for a caress, With polished shaft, and architrave, Now o'er that gentle stream was cast And glittering porch, and crystal nave, The snow ridge by the mountain blast, And gleaming as the light shone on, Till all the valley level seemed

It seemed a palace of the sun. Save here and there the ice-bridge gleamed. Where spread the lake all sheeted wide But farther down that valley glen, Sheer to the ragged cliff's steep side, The brouk burst up to light again; Whose hoary summits glitter'd there, For there, pitch'd from its dizzy edge, Like giants in the frosty air, The wave shol down a rocky ledge, [brake, The light laugh came upon the wind, And foamed and thundered through the And all that spake the vacant mind.' Until its waters joined the lake.

There, like a young and metiled horse, And there, no Fairy in her cell

The skilful skaiter plies his force. Had dreamed or fancied half so well, Anon he shoots, and wheels, and turns, Or half so beautiful a thing,

As if the element he spurns, Or given it teint and coloring,

As if, a glorious thing of air, As that wild brook had fancied there, His own proud will sustained him there: And fashion'd in the frosty air.

And now again he circles neat, That brook had flung on either side, And wheels and wheels again more fleet, Its fairy frost-work far and wide,

Till far across the lake he swings, Till upward ʼmid the rocks appeared, While loud and shrill his iron rings."

One extract more, and we have done. The public have received this book as the work of a young man. We suppose it is such ; and yet we may err here. There is a maturity of thought in some of these poems, not common with young men. Take, for example, the following from. Thoughts in Solitude :

‘But there's a half-way virtue in the world
Which is the world's worst enemy its bane,
Its withering curse. Ii cheats it with a show -
But offers naught of substance, when is sought
Its peaceful fruits. It suffers men in power
To let the young aspirant rise or fall,
As chance directs. The rich man fosters it,
And for the favor, it shuts up his ears
Against the cry of virtuous penury;
Or bids him dole out with a miserly hand,
A farthing, where a thousand should be thrown,
And protser'd kindly. The lone orphan's cries,
The widow's wail in impotence, perchance
Secure a few unmeaning tears, but not
The pity which adininisters relief.
Words flow, as freely as a parrot talks,
At tales of suffering; and lears may fall
As Niobe's; but not a sacrifice
The heart accepts, nor pleasure is forgone,
Which marks the principle of virtue there,
Or such as finds acceptance in the skies.
Who pays with pity, all my debt of love,
Who weeps for me, yet never sees my lack,
Who says be clothed, yet never proffers aught,
He's not my fellow, nor deserves the name.

"A feeble virtue is a vice, adorn'd
In virtue's semblance. 'Tis a liegative
And useless quality. It exempts from wo
Insufferable, yet grudges perfect blies;
And he but tricks him in a knave's attire,
Who boaste no other. He's but half the man,
Who, when temptation stares him in the face,
Assents, yet trembles to be overcome!
Such men do things by halves, and never do
Aught with an earnest soul. They fool away
A life, in which the good and evil mix
So equal, that the sum is neutralized ;
And Justice on their sepulchres inscribes
No sterner truth, than when she writes - a blank.

Why linger then betwixt the two extremes
The passive puppet of each circumstance?
Why' pure and dev’lish – mortal and immortal -
Too good for earth, and yet unfit for Heaven?
Why not at once dispel these baneful mists,
Thrust from our paths the arts and blandishments
Which win to wickedness — and rise at once
With a proud, moral freedom, until we
Can stand upon the stars, and see to Heaven ?'

The reader will agree with us when we say, that if this is the work of a boy, he is a promising child.

We cannot extract farther; although 'Other Days,' • Life,' the *Lines to a Little Boy,' Morning,' 'Fanny Willoughby,' and · Lines in Dejection,' are well worthy to be transplanted. But we leave the rest to the reader.

To sum up our notions of Mr. Bacon, we are deceived if his talents do not secure for him a prominent place among our future poets; and we cannot forbear thinking, that the specimens we have given, take from this remark every appearance of extravagance. We do not think there has been a first work presented by any of our young poets, of fairer promise than this ; and though we do not assert that this volume raises the writer at once to the front rank, yet we do assert, and will maintain, that there are poems in it worthy to place him in a station of honor, among his contemporaries. His language has strength and simplicity; his style clearness and force. His thoughts are elevated; his habits are those of serious contemplation ; and for these we award him praise. In a day wben we have so many vicious models, it seems to us a proof that a man must have something superior in himself, who steers clear of them. Of his susceptibility to beauty, and of the correctness of his taste, we have not heard a dissenting voice; and, moreover, Mr. Bacon is a Christian.

Before we close, we have a word to say, lest our notice lose its authority. We do not think the volume without faults. There are inequalities in it. The metre is sometimes faulty; the author does not, in some instances, refine and polish enough; and his own judg. ment will no doubt suggest these things in a future collection, should he make one. But faults were to be expected in a first work; and nothing surely can be more unbecoming a judicious critic, than to seize on an initial effort, and attempt, by exaggerating its faults, to throw contempt upon the whole. This we think has been done, in some instances, with Mr. Bacon ; and this is the reason we have stepped forward to do him justice, and cordially offer him the hand of encouragement,

0. P, Q


Dost think those gilt and hollow cones
That front an organ, cause the tones?
Ah, no! those pealing notes proceed
From tubes of baser metal hid.
This same remark, we might advance,
Holds good in life's mysterious dance ;
In front the pompous pretext find,
But the mean motive skulks behind.



There is a sweetness in those up-turned eyes,
A tearsul lustre - such as fancy lends
To the Madonna- and a soft surprise,
As if they saw strange beauty in the air ;
Perchance a bird, whose little pinion bends
To the same breeze that litts that flowing hair.
And, 0, that lip, and cheek, and forehead fair,
Reposing on the canvass ! -- that bright smile,
Casting a mellow radiance over all !
Say, didst thou strive, young artist, to beguile
The gazer of his reason, and to ibrall
His every sense in meshes of delight ?
When thou, unconscious, made this phantom bright?

Sure nothing real lives, which thus can charm the sight!
Nero-York, December, 1837.

P. B.



The winter had passed — the time of the singing of birds had come, and the voice of the turtle was heard in the land — when we, as if obeying these awakening instincts of nature, weighed our anchors from the safe bed in which they had long been planted, and in company with the flag-ship which had first caught the moving infection, floated quietly from the harbor of Mahon, with recollections that endeared the past, and anticipations that brightened the future. The last voice I heard was that of a bird singing from a tree that shades an extreme cliff, and where it would seem as if the little warbler had come to give us his parting cheer. I admired that bird for several reasons; for its plumage — it was gay as hope; for its voice — it was full of sweetest melody; for its courage it was one of the few that had escaped the shot and snares of our wicked pastimes; for its spirit of forgiveness — we had been all winter picking the bones of its fellows, and perhaps had deprived it of its vernal mate; yet it came forth to breathe its farewell, with the forgiving, clinging affection of the female heart for the one no longer worthy of her love and confidence. If the doctrine of the Samian sage be true, I would ask that at death my spirit may pass into the form of such a beautiful bird as this : not that I would, in that event, sing to those who bad plotted my death ; but I would fly to the convent of Santa Clara, and perching close to the grated window of the imprisoned Maria, relieve with my notes the solitude of her cell; and so sweet and impassioned should be the strain I would sing, that the wondering nun should every night murmur in her very dreams :

"A lovely bird with azure wings,
And song that says a thousand things,
And seems to say them all for me!'

« PoprzedniaDalej »