Obrazy na stronie
PDF
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

'Snowdon was a name given by the Saxons to that mountainous tract which the Welsh themselves call Craigian-eryri. It included all the highlands of Caernarvonshire and Merionethshire, as far east as the river Conway. R. Hygden, speaking of the castle of Conway, built by King Edward I., says, “Ad ortum amnis Conway ad clivum montis Erery;' and Matthew of Westminster (ad ann. 1283), “Apud Aberconway ad pedes montis Snowdoniae feciterigi castrum forte.”

* Gilbert de Clare, surnamed the Red, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, son-in-law to King Edward.

* Edmond de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore. They both were Lords-Marchers, whose lands lay on the borders of Wales, and probably accompanied the king in this expedition.

‘Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hushed the stormy main:
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topped head.
On dreary Arvon's shorel they lie,
Smeared with gore, and ghastly pale:
Far, far aloof the affrighted ravens sail;
The famished eagle” screams, and passes by.
Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes,
Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
Ye died amidst your dying country's cries-
No more I weep. They do not sleep.
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band, .
I see them sit; they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land:
With me in dreadful harmony they join, -
And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.'

‘Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
The winding-sheet of Edward's race.
Give ample room, and verge enough
The characters of hell to trace.
Mark the year, and mark the night,
When Severn shall re-echo with affright,
The shrieks of death through Berkeley's" roof that ring,
Shrieks of an agonising king!
She-wolf4 of France, with unrelenting fangs,
That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled mate,
From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs, ..
The scourge of Heaven I What terrors round him
wait !
Amazement in his van, with Flight combined,
And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.
Mighty victor, mighty lord,
Low8 on his funeral couch he lies 1
No pitying heart, no eye afford
A tear to grace his obsequies.
Is the sable warriors fled?
Thy son is gone. He rests amon
The swarm, that in thy noontide
Gone to salute the rising morn.
Fair laughs the morn,” and soft the zephyr blows,
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm,
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm ;
Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway,
That, hushed in grim repose, expects his evening prey.
Fill high the sparkling bowl,”
|

the dead. am were born ?

The rich repast prepare;
Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast:

Close by the regal chair
Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
A baleful smile upon their baffled guest.

1 The shores of Caernarvonshire, opposite to the Isle of Anglesey. * Camden and others observe, that eagles used annually to build their eyry among the rocks of Snowdon, which from thence (as some think) were named by the Welsh Craigianeryri, or the crags of the eagles. At this day, I am told, the highest point of Snowdon is called the eagle's nest. That bird is certainly no stranger to this island, as the Scots and the people of Cumberland, Westmoreland, &c., can testify; it has even built its nest in the Peak of Derbyshire.—(See Willoughby's Ornithology, published by Ray). * Edward II., cruelly butchered in Berkeley Castle. * Isabel of France, Edward II.'s adulterous queen. 5 Alluding to the triumphs of Edward III. in France. 6 Alluding to the death of that king, abandoned by his children, and even robbed in his last moments by his courtiers and his mistress. 7 Edward, the Black Prince, dead some time before his father. 8 Magnificence of Richard II.'s reign. See Froissart, and other contemporary writers. " Richard II. (as we are told by Archbishop ** the

------

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

ENGLISH LITERATURE.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Bright Rapture calls, and soaring as she sings,
Waves in the eye of Heaven her many-coloured wings.

The verse adorn again
Fierce War, and faithful Love,
And Truth severe, by fairy Fiction dressed.
In buskined] measures move
Pale Grief, and pleasing Pain,
With Horror, tyrant of the throbbing breast.
A voice” as of the cherub-choir,
Gales from blooming Eden bear;
And distant warblings” lessen on my ear,
That, lost in long futurity, expire.
Fond, impious man, think'st thou yon sanguine cloud,
Raised by thy breath, has o: the orb of day;
To-morrow he repairs the golden flood,
And warms the nations with redoubled ray.
Enough for me: with joy I see
The different doom our Fates assign.
Be thine Despair, and sceptred Care;
To triumph, and to die, are mine.’
He spoke, and headlong from the mountain's height,
Deep in the roaring tide he plunged to endless night.

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.

Stoke Pogeis Church, and Tomb of Gray.

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, |
The lowing herds wind slowly o'er the lea,

The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:

| Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower, | The moping owl does to the moon complain | Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, Molest her ancient solitary reign. | |

|

tury. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in high veneration among his countrymen.

confederate lords in their manifesto, by Thomas of Walsing-
ham, and all the older writers) was starved to death. The
story of his assassination by Sir Piers, of Exon, is of much
later date. -
| Ruinous civil wars of York and Lancaster.
* Henry VL., George, Duke of Clarence, Edward W., Richard,
Duke of York, &c., believed to be murdered secretly in the
Tower of London. The oldest part of that structure is vul-

garly attributed to Julius Caesar.

* Margaret of Anjou, a woman of heroic spirit, who struggled hard to save her husband and her crown.

* Henry W. * Henry VI., very near been canonised. The line of Lancaster had no right of inheritance to the

crown.

* The white and red roses, devices of York and Lancaster. 7 The silver boar was the badge of Richard III. ; whence he was usually known, in his own time, by the name of the Boar. *Eleanor of Castile died a few years after the conquest of Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection for her lord is well-known. The monuments of his regret and sorrow for the loss of her, are still to be seen at Northampton, Geddington, Waltham, and other places. "It was the common belief of the Welsh nation, that King Arthur was still alive in Fairy Land, and should return again to reign over Britain. * Both Merlin and Taliessin had prophesied, that the Welsh should regain their sovereignty over this island, which seemed to be accomplished in the house of Tudor. *Speed, relating an audience given by Queen Elizabeth to Paul Dzialinski, ambassador of Poland, says, “And thus she,

| lion-like, rising, daunted the malipert orator no less with her

stately port and majestical deporture, than with the tartnesse of her princelie checkes."

*Taliessin, chief of the bards, flourished in the sixth cen

1 Shakspeare. 2 Milton.

a The succession of poets after Milton's time.

[graphic]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

And seater with a free, though frugal hand, Light golden showers of plenty o'er the land; But tyranny has fixed her empire there, To check their tender hopes with chilling fear, And blast the blooming promise of the year. The spacious animated scene survey, From where the rolling orb that gives the day, His sable sons with nearer course surrounds, To either pole, and life's remotest bounds. How rude soe'er the exterior form we find, Howe'er opinion tinge the varied mind, Alike to all the kind impartial Heaven The sparks of truth and happiness has given: | With sense to feel, with memory to retain, They follow pleasure, and they fly from pain; Their judgment mends the plan their fancy draws, The event presages, and explores the cause; The soft returns of gratioude they know, By fraud elude, by force repel the foe; | While mutual wishes mutual woes endear, The social smile and sympathetic tear. Say, then, through ages by what fate confined, | To different climes seem different souls assigned : Here measured laws and philosophic ease Fix and improve the polished arts of peace. | There industry and gain their vigils keep, Command the winds, and tame the unwilling deep. | Here force and hardy deeds of blood prevail; | There languid pleasure sighs in every gale. Oft o'er the trembling nations from afar | Has Scythia breathed the living cloud of war; | And, where the deluge burst, with sweepy sway, Their arms, their kings, their gods were rolled away. As oft have issued, host impelling host, The blue-eyed myriads from the Baltic coast, The prostrate south to the destroyer yields | Her boasted titles, and her golden fields; with i. delight the brood of winter view | A brighter day, and heavens of azure hue, | Scent the new fragrance of the breathing rose, And quaff the pendent vintage as it grows. Proud of the yoke, and pliant to the rod, Why yet does Asia dread a monarch's nod, While European freedom still withstands The encroaching tide that drowns her lessening lands, | And sees far off, with an indignant groan, | Her native plains and empires once 'her own? Can opener skies and suns of fiercer flame O'erpower the fire that animates our frame; As lamps, that shed at eve a cheerful ray, | Fade and expire beneath the eye of day? | Need we the influence of the northern star To string our nerves and steel our hearts to war? And where the face of nature laughs around, | Must sickening virtue fly the tainted ground? | Unmanly thought ! what seasons can control, | What fancied zone can circumscribe the soul, Who, conscious of the source from whence she springs, By reason's light, on resolution's wings, Spite of her frail companion, dauntless goes | O'er Lybia's deserts and through Zembla's snows? She bids each slumbering energy awake, Another touch, another temper take, | Suspends the inferior laws that rule our clay; The stubborn elements confess her sway; || Their little wants, their low desires, refine, | And raise the mortal to a height divine. | Not but the human fabric from the birth | Imbibes a flavour of its parent earth. As various tracts enforce a various toil, The manners speak the idiom of their soil. | An iron race the mountain-cliffs maintain, Foes to the gentle genius of the plain; For where unwearied sinews must be found, With side-long plough to quell the flinty ground,

To turn the torrent's swift-descending flood,
To brave the savage rushing from the wood, |
What wonder, if to patient valour trained,
They guard with spirit what by strength they gained?
And while their rocky ramparts round they see,
The rough abode of want and liberty,
(As lawless force from confidence will grow), |
Insult the plenty of the vales below?
What wonder, in the sultry climes that spread,
Where Nile, redundant o'er his summer bed,
From his broad bosom life and verdure flings,
And broods o'er Egypt with his watery wings,
If with adventurous oar and ready sail, |
The dusky people drive before the gale;
Or on frail floats to neighbouring cities ride,
That rise and glitter o'er the ambient tide.

WillIAM MASON.

WILLIAM MAsoN, the friend and literary executor of Gray, long survived the connection which did him so much honour, but he appeared early as a Fo He was the son of the Rev. Mr Mason, vicar of St. Trinity, Yorkshire, where he was born in 1725. At Pembroke college, Cambridge, he became acquainted with Gray, who assisted him in obtaining his degree of M.A. His first literary production was an attack on the Jacobitism of Oxford, to which Thomas Warton replied in his “Triumph of Isis. In 1753 appeared his tragedy of Elfrida, “written,’ says Southey, “on an artificial model, and in a gorgeous diction, because he thought Shakspeare had precluded all hope of excellence in any other form of drama.” The model of Mason was the Greek drama, and he introduced into his play the classic accompaniment of the chorus. A second drama, Caractacus, is of a higher cast than ‘Elfrida: more noble and spirited in language, and of more sustained dignity in scenes, situations, and character. Mason also wrote a series of odes on Independence, Memory, Melancholy, and The Fall of Tyranny, in which his gorgeousness of diction swells into extravagance and bombast. His other poetical works are his English Garden, a long descriptive poem in blank verse, extended over four books, and an ode on the Commemoration of the British Revolution, in which he asserts those Whig principles which he steadfastly maintained during the trying period of the American war. As in his dramas Mason had made an innovation on the established taste of the times, he ventured, with equal success, to depart from the practice of English authors, in writing the life of his friend Gray. Instead of presenting a continuous narrative, in which the biographer alone is visible, he incorporated the journals and letters of the poet in chronological order, thus making the subject of the memoir in some degree his own biographer, and enabling the reader to judge more fully and correctly of his situation, thoughts, and feelings. The plan was afterwards adopted by Boswell in his Life of Johnson, and has been sanctioned by subsequent usage, in all cases where the subject is of importance enough to demand copious information and minute personal details. The circumstances of Mason's life are soon related. After his career at college, he entered into orders, and was appointed one of the royal chaplains. He held the living of Ashton, and was precentor of York cathedral. When politics ran high, he took an active part on the side of the Whigs, but was respected by all parties. He died in 1797.

Mason's poetry cannot be said to be popular, even with poetical readers. His greatest want is simplicity, yet at times his rich diction has a fine effect. In his “English Garden,' though verbose ano, lan

wo

FROM 1727

CYCLOPAEDIA OF

to 1780,

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Mona on Snowdon calls: Hear, thou king of mountains, hear ; Hark, she speaks from all her strings: Hark, her loudest echo rings ; King of mountains, bend thine ear: Send thy spirits, send them soon, Now, when midnight and the moon Meet upon thy front of snow; See, their gold and ebon rod, Where the sober sisters nod, And greet in whispers sage and slow, Snowdon, mark I 'tis magic's hour, Now the muttered spell hath power ; Power to rend thy ribs of rock, And burst thy base with thunder's shock: But to thee no ruder spell Shall Mona use, than those that dwell In music's secret cells, and lie Steeped in the stream of harmony. Snowdon has heard the strain: Hark, amid the wondering grove Other harpings answer clear, Other voices meet our ear, Pinions flutter, shadows move, Busy murmurs hum around, Rustling vestments brush the ground; Round and round, and round they go, Through the twilight, through the shade, Mount the oak's majestic head, And gild the tufted misletoe. Cease, ye glittering race of light, Close your wings, and check your flight; Here, arranged in order due, Spread your robes of saffron hue ; For lo! with more than mortal fire, Mighty Mador smites the lyre: Hark, he sweeps the master-strings; Listen all—

Epitaph on Mrs Mason, in the Cathedral of Bristol.

Take, holy earth! all that my soul holds dear:
Take that best gift which heaven so lately gave:
To Bristol's fount I bore with trembling care
Her faded form; she bowed to taste the wave,
And died Does youth, does beauty, read the line
Does sympathetic fear their breasts alarm!
Speak, dead Marial breathe a strain divine;
Even from the grave thou shalt have power to charm.
Bid them be chaste, be innocent, like thee;
Bid them in duty's sphere as meekly move;
And if so fair, from vanity as free;
As firm in friendship, and as fond in love.
to die,

('Twas even to thee) yet the d ath once trod,

| Heaven lifts its everlasting portals high,

And bids “the pure in heart behold their God.”

OLIVER GOLDSMITH.

OLIVER GoLDs.MITH, whose writings range over every department of miscellaneous literature, challenges attention as a poet chiefly for the unaffected ease, grace, and tenderness of his descriptions of rural and domestic life, and for a certain vein of pensive philosophic reflection. His countryman Burke said of himself, that he had taken his ideas of liberty not too high, that they might last him through life. Goldsmith seems to have pitched his poetry in a subdued under tone, that he might luxuriate at will among those images of quiet beauty, comfort, benevolence, and simple pathos, that were most congenial to his own character, his hopes, or his experience. This popular poet was born at Pallas, a small village in the parish of Forney, county of Longford, Ireland, on the 10th of November F28. He was the sixth of a family of nine children, and his father, the Rev. Charles Goldsmith, was a poor curate, who eked out the scanty funds which he derived from his profession, by renting and cultivating some land. The poet's father afterwards succeeded to the rectory of Kilkenny West, and removed to the house and farm

Ruins of the house at Lissoy, where Goldsmith spent his youth.

of Lissoy, in his former parish. Here Goldsmith's youth was spent, and here he found the materials for his Deserted Village. After a good country education, Oliver was admitted a sizer of Trinity college, Dublin, June 11, 1745. The expense of his education was chiefly defrayed by his uncle, the Rev. Thomas Contarini, an excellent man, son to an Italian of the Contarini family at Venice, and a clergyman of the established church. At college, the poet was thoughtless and irregular, and always in want. His tutor was a man of fierce and brutal passions, and having struck him on one occasion before a party of friends, the poet left college, and wandered about the country for some time in the utmost poverty, His brother Henry clothed and carried him back to college, and on the 27th of February 1749, he was admitted to the degree of B.A. Goldsmith now

gladly left the university, and returned to Lissoy.

[graphic][graphic]
« PoprzedniaDalej »