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Do what I may, go where I will,
Methinks thou smil'st before me now,
The nursery shows thy pictured wall,
Even to the last thy every word—
We mourn for thee when blind blank night
And though, perchance, a smile may gleam
Snows muffled earth when thou didst go,
'Tis so; but can it be (while flowers
It cannot be: for were it so
Then be to us, O dear, lost child !
Yet 'tis sweet balm to our despair,
Farewell, then—for a while, farewell—
Ten Years Ago. [By Alaric A. Watts.] That time is past, And all its aching joys are now no more, And all its dizzy raptures Not for this Faint I, normourn, nor murmur. Other gifts Have followed for such loss, I would believe, Abundant recompense.-Wordsworth. Ten years ago, ten years ago, Life was to us a fairy scene; And the keen blasts of worldly wo Had seared not then its pathway green. Youth and its thousand dreams were ours, Feelings we ne'er can know again; Unwithered hopes, unwasted powers, And frames unworn by mortal pain: Such was the bright and genial flow Of life with us—ten years ago!
Time has not blanched a single hair
I, too, am changed—I scarce know why—
But look not thus: I would not give
Morn on the waters! and, purple and bright,
Night on the waves!—and the moon is on high, Hung, like a gem, on the brow of the sky, Treading its depths in the power of her might, And turning the clouds, as they pass her, to light!
Look to the waters!—asleep on their breast,
'Tis thus with our life, while it passes along, |
Never, O never on this sacred ground
Ode on the Duke of Wellington, 1814. [By John Wilson Croker.]
Victor of Assaye's orient plain,
Unconquered yet thy honours claim
Thine was the sword which Justice draws;
And we, who in the eastern skies
[The November Fog of London.] [By Henry Luttrel.]
First, at the dawn of lingering day,
If any power can, any how,
In this period many translations from classic and foreign poets have appeared, at the head of which stands the version of Dante by the Rev. H. F. CARY | —universally acknowledged to be one of the most felicitous attempts ever made to transfuse the spirit and conceptions of a great poet into a foreign tongue. The third edition of this translation was published in 1831. Versions of Homer, the Georgics of Wirgil, and the Oberon of the German poet Wieland, have been published by WILLIAM SoTHEBY, whose original poems have already been noticed. The comedies of Aristophanes have been well translated, with all their quaint drollery and sarcasm, by MR MITCHELL, late fellow of Sidney-Sussex college, Cambridge. Lord STRANGFord has given translations from the Portuguese poet Camoens; and DR John BowRING, specimens of Russian, Dutch, ancient Spanish, Polish, Servian, and Hungarian poetry. A good translation of Tasso has been given by J. H. WIFFEN, and of Ariosto by MR STEwART Rose. Lord FRANCIs EGERTON, MR BLAckie, and others, have translated the Faust of Goëthe; and the general cultivation of the German language in England has led to the translation of various imaginative and critical German works in prose. MR J. G. LockHART's translation of Spanish ballads has enriched our lyrical poetry with some romantic songs. The ballads of Spain, like those of Scotland, are eminently national in character and feeling, and bear testimony to the strong passions and chivalrous imagination of her once high-spirited people.
SCOTT IS II POETS. Robert Burns.
After the publication of Fergusson's poems, in a collected shape, in 1773, there was an interval of about thirteen years, during which no writer of eminence arose in Scotland who attempted to excel in the native language of the country. The intellectual taste of the capital ran strongly in favour of metaphysical and critical studies; but the Doric muse was still heard in the rural districts linked to some popular air, some local occurrence or favourite spot, and was much cherished by the lower and middling classes of the people. In the summer of 1786, Robert BURNs, the Shakspeare of Scotland, issued his first volume from the obscure press of Kilmarnock, and its influence was immediately felt, and is still operating on the whole imaginative literature of the kingdom.” Burns was
* The edition consisted of 600 copies. A second was published in Edinburgh in April 1787, no less than 2800 copies being subscribed for by 1500 individuals. After his unexampled popularity in Edinburgh, Burns took the farm of Ellisland, near Dumfries, married his “bonny Jean,’ and entered upon his new occupation at Whitsunday 1788. He had obtained an appointment as an exciseman, but the duties of this office, and his own convivial habits, interfered with his management of the farm, and he was glad to abandon it. In 1791 he removed to the town of Dumfries, subsisting entirely on his situation in
English well, and “by the time he was ten or eleven years of age, he was a critic in substantives, verbs, and particles.’ He was also taught to write, had a fortnight's French, and was one summer-quarter at land-surveying. He had a few books, among which were the Spectator, Pope's Works, Allan Ramsay, and a collection 3. English songs. Subsequently (about his twenty-third year) his reading was enlarged with the important addition of Thomson, Shenstone, Sterne, and Mackenzie. Other standard works soon followed. As the advantages of a liberal education were not within his reach, it is scarcely to be regretted that his library was at first so small. What books, he had, he read and studied thoroughly— his attention was not distracted by a multitude of volumes—and his mind grew up with original and robust vigour. It is impossible to contemplate the life of Burns at this time, without a strong feeling of affectionate admiration and respect. His manly integrity of character (which, as a peasant, he guarded with jealous dignity), and his warm and true heart, elevate him, in our conceptions, almost as much as the native force and beauty of his poetry.
the excise, which yielded L.70 per annum. Here he published, in 1793, a third edition of his poems, with the addition of Tam o' Shanter, and other pieces composed at Ellisland. He died at Dumfries on the 21st of July 1796, aged thirty-seven years and about six months. The story of his life is so well known, that even this brief statement of dates seems unnecessary. In 1798 a fourth edition of his works was published in Edinburgh. Two years afterwards, in 1800, appeared the valuable and complete edition of Dr Currie, in four volumes, containing the correspondence of the poet, and a number of songs, contributed to Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, and Thomson's Select Scottish Melodies. The editions of Burns since 1800 could with difficulty be ascertained; they were reckoned a few years ago at about a hundred. His poems circulate in every shape, and have not yet “gathered all their fame."
when a mere youth, “like a galley-slave,” to support his virtuous parents and their household, yet grasping at every opportunity of acquiring knowledge from men and books—familiar with the history of his country, and loving its very soil—worshipping the memory of Scotland's ancient patriots and defenders, and exploring every scene and memorial of departed greatness—loving also the simple peasantry around him, “the sentiments and manners he felt and saw in himself and his rustic compeers.” Burning with a desire to do something for old Scotland's sake, with a heart beating with warm and generous emotions, a strong and clear understanding, and a spirit abhorring all meanness, insincerity, and oppression, Burns, in his early days, might have furnished the subject for a great and instructive moral poem. The true elements of poetry were in his life, as in his writings. The wild stirrings of his ambition (which he so nobly compared to the “blind gropings of Homer's Cyclops round the walls of his cave'), the precocious maturity of his passions and his intellect, his manly frame, that led him to fear no competitor at the plough, and his exquisite sensibility and tenderness, that made him weep over even the destruction of a daisy's flower or a mouse's nest, these are all moral contrasts and blendings that seem to belong to the spirit of romantic poetry. His writings, as we now know, were but the fragments || of a great mind—the hasty outpourings of a full heart and intellect. After he had become the fashionable wonder and idol of his day—soon to be cast into cold neglect and poverty!—some errors and frailties threw a shade on the noble and affecting image, but its higher lineaments were never destroyed. The column was defaced, not broken; and now that the mists of prejudice have cleared away, its just pro- || portions and exalted symmetry are recognised with pride and gratitude by his admiring countrymen. Burns came as a potent auxiliary or fellow-worker with Cowper, in bringing poetry into the channels of truth and nature. There were only two years between the Task and the Cotter's Saturday Night. No poetry was ever more instantaneously or universally popular among a people than that of Burns in Scotland. It seemed as if a new realm had been added to the dominions of the British muse—a new and glorious creation, fresh from the hand of nature. There was the humour of Smollett, the pathos and tenderness of Sterne or Richardson, the real life of Fielding, and the description of Thomson—all united in delineations of Scottish manners and scenery by an Ayrshire ploughman The volume contained matter for all minds—for the lively and sarcastic, the wild and the thoughtful, the poetical enthusiast and the man of the world. So eagerly was the book sought after, that, where copies of it could not be obtained, many of the poems were transcribed and sent round in manuscript among admiring circles. The subsequent productions of the poet did not materially affect the estimate of his powers formed from his first volume. His life was at once too idle and too busy for continuous study; and, alas! it was too, brief for the full maturity and development of his talents. Where the intellect predominates equally with the imagination (and this was the case with Burns), increase of years generally adds to the strength and variety of the poet's powers; and we have no doubt that, in ordinary circumstances, Burns, like Dryden, would have improved with age, and added greatly to his fame, had he not fallen at so early a period, before his imagination could be enriched with the riper fruits of knowledge and experience. He meditated a national drama; but we might have looked with more
We see him in the veriest shades of obscurity toiling, |