Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Till he starting cried, from his dream awake,
• Oh! when shall I see the dusky Lake,

And the white canoe of my dear?'
He saw the Lake, and a meteor bright

Quick over its surface played -
*Welcome,' he said, 'my dear-one's light !
And the dim shore echoed, for many a night,

The name of the death-cold maid !
Till he hollowed a boat of the birchen bark,

Which carried him off from shore;
Far he followed the meteor spark,
The wind was high and the clouds were dark,

And the boat returned no more.
But oft, from the Indian hunter's camp,

This lover and maid so true
Are seen, at the hour of midnight damp,
To cross the lake by a fire-fly lamp,

And paddle their white canoe !

EPISTLE III.
TO THE MARCHIONESS DOWAGER OF D-LL.

FROM BERMUDA, JANUARY, 1804.
LADY, where'er you roam, whatever beam
Of bright creation warms your mimic dream ;
Whether you trace the valley's golden meads,
Where mazy Linth his lingering current leads ;
Enamoured catch the mellow hues that sleep,
At eve, on Meillerie's immortal steep :
Or, musing o'er the Lake, at day's decline,
Mark the last shadow on the holy shrine,
Where, many a night, the soul of Tell complains
Of Gallia's triumph and Helvetia's chains;
Oh ! lay the pencil for a moment by,
Turn from the tablet that creative eye,
And let its splendour, like the morning say
Upon a shepherd's harp, illume my lay!
Yet, Lady! no-for song so rude as mine,
Chase not the wonders of your dream divine ;
Still, radiant eye! upon the tablet dwell;
Still, rosy finger ! weave your pictured spell ;
And, while I sing the animated smiles
Of fairy nature in these sun-born isles,

I Lady D., I supposed, was at this time till in 2 The chapel of William Tell, on the Lake as Switzerland, where the powers of her pencil must | Lucerne, have been frequently awakened.

Oh! might the song awake some bright design,
Inspire a touch, or prompt one happy line,
Proud were my soul to see its humble thought
On painting's mirror so divinely caught,
And wondering genius, as he leaned to trace
The faint conception kindling into grace,
Might love my numbers for the spark they threw,
And bless the lay that lent a charm to you !

Have you not oft, in nightly vision, strayed
To the pure isles of ever-blooming shade,
Which bards of old, with kindly magic, placed
For happy spirits in the Atlantic waste ?
There, as eternal gales, with fragrance warm,
Breathed from Elysium through each shadowy form
In eloquence of eye, and dreams of song,
They charmed their lapse of nightless hours along!
Nor yet in song that mortal ear may suit,
For every spirit was itself a lute,
Where Virtue wakened, with elysian breeze,
Pure tones of thought and mental harınonies !
Believe me, Lady, when the zephyrs bland
Floated our bark to this enchanted land,
These leafy isles upon the ocean thrown,
Like studs of emerald o'er a silver zone;
Not all the charm that ethnic fancy gave
To blessed arbours o'er the western wave,
Could wake a dream more soothing or sublime,
Of bowers ethereal and the spirit's clime !

The morn was lovely, every wave was still,
When the first perfume of a cedar-hill
Sweetly awaked us, and with smiling charms
The fairy harbour wooed us to its arms.
Gently we stole before the languid wind,
Through plantain shades that like an awning twined,
And kissed on either side the wanton sails,
Breathing our welcome to these vernal vales ;
While far reflected, o'er the wave serene,
Each wooded island sheds so soft a green,
That the enamoured keel, with whispering play,
Thrvugh liquid herbage seemed to steal its way!
Never did weary bark more sweetly glide,
Or rest its anchor in a lovelier tide!
Along the margin many a brilliant dome,
White as the palace of a Lapland gnoine,
Brightened the wave; in every myrtle grove
Secluded bashful, like a shrine of love,

Nothing can be more romantic than the little gliding for ever between the islands, and seer !i39 harbour or St. George. The number of beautiful to sail from

one cedar-grove into another, orm inlets, the singular clearness of the water, and altogether the sweetest miniaturu of nature that the animated play of the graceful little boats, ( can be imagined

7

Some elfin mansion sparkled through the shade ;
And, while the foliage interposing played,
Wreathing the structure into various grace,
Fancy would love in many a form to trace
The flowery capital, the shaft, the porch,1
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.

Sweet airy being ! who, in brighter hours,
Lived on the perfume of those honeyed 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),
A moment wander from your starry sphere,
And if the lime-tree grove that once was dear,
The sunny wave, the bower, the breezy hill,
The sparkling grotto, can delight you still,
Oh! take their fairest tint, their softest light,
Weave all their beauty into dreams of night,
And, while the lovely artist slumbering lies,
Shed the warm picture o'er her mental eyes;
Borrow for sleep her own creative spells,
And brightly show what song but faintly tells!

t

[blocks in formation]

Echoed the breath that warbling sea-maids breathed;

This is an allusion 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 fancy may embellish the poor fisherman's hut with columns which the pencil of Claude might imitate. I had one favourite 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 never could turn his house into a Grecian temple again.

Ariel. Among the many charms which Bermuda,' the still vexed Bermoothes,' has for a poetic eye, we cannot for an instant forget that it is the scene of Shakspeare's Tempest, and that here he conjured up the 'delicate Ariel.'

[blocks in formation]

Upon its shining side, the mystic notes
Of those entrancing airs1

The Genii of the deep were wont to swell,

When Heaven's eternal orbs their midnight music rolled ! Oh! seek it, wheresoe'er it floats;

[blocks in formation]

The planets through their maze of song,
To the small rill, that weeps along

Murmuring o'er beds of pearl;
From the rich sigh

Of the sun's arrow through an evening sky,
To the faint breath the tuneful osier yields
On Afric's burning fields;"

Oh! thou shalt own this universe divine
Is mine!

That I respire in all and all in me,

One mighty mingled soul of boundless harmony!

Welcome, welcome, mystic shell!
Many a star has ceased to burn,"
Many a tear has Saturn's urn

is an account of some curious shells, found at spheres originated with this poet, who, in repreIn the Histoire naturelle des Antilles there conjectures that the idea of the harmony of the Curaçoa, on the back of which were lines filled senting the solar beams as arrows, supposes them with musical characters so distinct and perfect, to emit a peculiar sound in the air.

was sung from one of them.

5 In the account of Africa which d'Ablancourt has translated, there is mention of a tree in that

that, the writer assures us, a very charming trio Macrobius, the lunar tone is the gravest and hand produce very sweet sounds. (The singing According to Cicero, and his commentator country, whose branches when shaken by the faintest on the planetary heptachord.

tree' of the Arabian Nights. It is found in The musical sounds proceed from two

6 Alluding to the extinction, or at least the

that the heavens are animal, attributes their har- half shells like an opened walnut, which, struck Leone Hebreo, pursuing the idea of Aristotle, India. mony to periect and reciprocal love. This 're- by the air, sound like castanets.] ciproco amore' o; Leone is the diλorns of the ancient Empedocles, who seems, in his Love and disappearance, of some of those fixed stars which Hate of the Elements, to have given a glimpse we are taught to consider as suns, attended of the principles of attraction and repulsion. Leucippus, the atomist, imagined a kind of earth might formerly have been a sun, which Anaxagoras and possibly suggested to Descartes. surface. This probably suggested the idea of a vortices in the heavens, which he borrowed from became obscured by a thick incrustation over its Heraclides, upon the allegories of Homer, central fire,

each by its system. Descartes thought that our

O'er the cold bosom of the ocean wept,
Since thy aerial spell

Hath in the waters slept !

I fly,

With the bright treasure to my choral sky,
Where she, who waked its early swell,
The syren, with a foot of fire,

Walks o'er the great string of my Orphic Lyre.
Or guides around the burning pole

The winged chariot of some blissful sou!!
While thou!

Oh, son of earth! what dreams shall rise for thee;
Beneath Hispania's sun,

Thou'lt see a streamlet run,

Which I have warmed with dews of melody;
Listen!-when the night wind dies
Down the still current, like a harp it sighs!
A liquid chord is every wave that flows,
An airy plectrum every breeze that blows!
There, by that wondrous stream,
Go, lay thy languid brow,

And I will send thee such a god-like dream,
Such-mortal! mortal! hast thou heard of him,1
Who, many a night, with his primordial lyre,"
Sate on the chill Pangaan mount,3

And, looking to the orient dim,

3

Watched the first flowing of that sacred fount,
From which his soul had drunk its fire!
Oh! think what visions, in that lonely hour,
Stole o'er his musing breast!

What pious ecstasy

Wafted his prayer to that eternal Power,
Whose seal upon this world imprest
The various forms of bright divinity!

Or, dost thou know what dreams I wove,
'Mid the deep horror of that silent bower,6
Where the rapt Samian slept his holy slumber?

1 Orpheus

They call his lyre apxacorpoтоv énтaxорdov Ophews. See a curious work by a professor of Greek at Venice, entitled Hebdomades, sive septem de septenario libri, lib. 4, cap. 3, p. 177.

Eratosthenes, telling the extreme veneration of Orpheus for Apollo, says that he was accustomed to go to the Pangwan mountain at daybreak, and there wait the rising of the sun, that he might

It is thought by some, that these are to be reckoned amongst the fabrications which were frequent in the early times of Christianity. Still it appears doubtful to whom we should impute them; they are too pious for the Pagans, and too poetical for the Fathers.

a

5 In one of the hymns of Orpheus, he attributes figured seal to Apollo, with which he ima gines that deity to have stamped a variety of forms upon the universe.

be the first to hail its beams.

There are some verses of Orpheus preserved to us, which contain sublime ideas of the unity and magnificence of the Deity. As those which Justin Martyr has produced:

Ούτος μεν χαλκείον ες ουρανον ἐστηρικται
Χρυσείῳ ενί θρονῳ, κ.τ.λ.
Ad. Græc, cohortat.

Alluding to the cave near Samos, where Pythagoras devoted the greater part of his days and nights to meditation and the mysteries of his philosophy. Jamblich. de Vit. This, as Holstenius remarks, was in imitation of the Magi.

« PoprzedniaDalej »