Imagens da página
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

BRook and road Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy pass, And with them did we journey several hours At a slow step. The immeasurable height of woods decaying, never to be decayed, The stationary blasts of waterfalls, And in the narrow rent, at every turn, Winds thwarting winds bewildered and forlorn, The torrents shooting from the clear blue sky, The rocks that muttered close upon our ears, Back drizzling crags that spake by the wayside As if a voice were in them, the sick sight And giddy prospect of the raving stream, The unfettered clouds and region of the heavens, Timult and peace, the darkness and the light— Where all like workings of one mind, the features Of the same face, blossoms upon one tree, Characters of the great Apocalypse, The types and symbols of Eternity, 0 first, and last, and midst, and without end.

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

Han this effulgence disappeared
With flying haste, I might have sent,
Among the speechless clouds, a look
Of blank astonishment;
But its endued with power to stay,
And sanctify one closing day,
That rail mortality may see —
What is!—ah no, but what can be:
Time was when field and watery cove
With modulated echoes rang,
While choirs of fervent angels sang
Their vespers in the grove;
Ot, crowning, star-like, each some sovereign height,
Warbled, for heaven above and earth below,
$nins suitable to both. —Such holy rite,
M-thinks, if audibly repeated now
From hill or valley, could not move

Sooner transport, purer love,
Tan oth this silent spectacle — the gleam—
The so-ow—and the peace supreme:

[ocr errors]

Of beamy radiance, that imbues,
Whate'er it strikes, with gem-like hues:
In vision exquisitely clear,
Herds range along the mountain side;
And glistening antlers are descried;
And gilded flocks appear.
Thine is the tranquil hour, purpureal Eve:
But long as god-like wish, or hope divine,
Informs my spirit, ne'er can I believe
That this magnificence is wholly thine:
—From worlds not quickened by the sun
A portion of the gift is won;
An intermingling of Heaven's pomp is spread
On ground which British shepherds tread!


And if there be whom broken ties
Afflict, or injuries assail,
Yon hazy ridges to their eyes”
Present a glorious scale,
Climbing suffused with sunny air,
To stop— no record hath told where!
And tempting fancy to ascend,
And with immortal spirits blend
— Wings at my shoulders seem to play; f
But, rooted here, I stand and gaze
On those bright steps that heaven-ward raise
Their practicable way.
Come forth, ye drooping old men, look abroad,
And see to what fair countries ye are bound !
And if some traveller, weary of his road,
Hath slept since noon-tide on the grassy ground,
Ye Genii! to his covert speed;
And wake him with such gentle heed
As may attune his soul to meet the dower
Bestowed on this transcendant hour!


Such hues from their celestial Urn
Were wont to stream before mine eye,
Where'er it wandered in the morn
Of blissful infancy.
This glimpse of glory, why renewed!
Nay, rather speak with gratitude;
For, if a vestige of those gleams
Survived, 't was only in my dreams.

* The multiplication of mountain-ridges described at the commencement of the third Stanza of this Ode, as a kind of Jacob's Ladder, leading to Heaven, is produced either by watery vapours, or sunny haze;—in the present instance by the latter cause. Allusions to the Ode, entitled ‘Intimations of Immortality,' pervade the last stanza of the foregoing Poem.

t In these lines I am under obligation to the exquisite picture of “Jacob's Dream,” by Mr. Allston, now in America. It is pleasant to make this public acknowledgment to a man of genius, whom I have the honour to rank among my friends.

Dread Power whom peace and calmness serve
No less than nature's threatening voice,
If aught unworthy be my choice,
From THEE if I would swerve;
O, let thy grace remind me of the light
Full early lost, and fruitlessly deplored;
Which, at this moment, on my waking sight
Appears to shine, by miracle restored;
My soul, though yet confined to earth,
Rejoices in a second birth !
—'T is past, the visionary splendour fades;
And night approaches with her shades.


ARMY of Clouds: ye wingéd Host in troops
Ascending from behind the motionless brow
Of that tall rock, as from a hidden world,
O whither with such eagerness of speed
What seek ye, or what shun ye! of the gale
Companions, fear ye to be left behind,
Or racing o'er your blue ethereal field
Contend ye with each other of the sea
Children, thus post ye over vale and height
To sink upon your mother's lap — and rest?
Or were ye rightlier hailed, when first mine eyes
Beheld in your impetuous march the likeness
of a wide army pressing on to meet
Or overtake some unknown enemy? —
But your smooth motions suit a peaceful aim;
And Fancy, not less aptly pleased, compares
Your squadrons to an endless flight of birds
Aerial, upon due migration bound
To milder climes; or rather do ye urge
In caravan your hasty pilgrimage
To pause at last on more aspiring heights
Than these, and utter your devotion there
With thunderous voice Or are ye jubilant,
And would ye, tracking your proud lord the Sun,
Be present at his setting; or the pomp
Of Persian mornings would ye fill, and stand
Poising your splendours high above the heads
Of worshippers kneeling to their up-risen God?
Whence, whence, ye clouds ! this eagerness of speed
Speak, silent creatures. – They are gone, are fled,
Buried together in yon gloomy mass
That loads the middle heaven; and clear and bright
And vacant doth the region which they thronged
Appear; a calm descent of sky conducting
Down to the unapproachable abyss,
Down to that hidden gulf from which they rose
To vanish – fleet as days and months and years,
Fleet as the generations of mankind,
Power, glory, empire, as the world itself,

The lingering world, when time hath ceased to be.
But the winds roar, shaking the rooted trees,
And see : a bright precursor to a train
Perchance as numerous, overpeers the rock
That sullenly refuses to partake
Of the wild impulse. From a fount of life
Invisible, the long procession moves

Luminous or gloomy, welcome to the vale
| Which they are entering, welcome to mine eye
That sees them, to my soul that owns in them,
And in the bosom of the firmament
O'er which they move, wherein they are contained,
A type of her capacious self and all
Her restless progeny.

A humble walk Here is my body doomed to tread, this path, A little hoary line and faintly traced, Work, shall we call it, of the shepherd's foot Or of his flock 4–joint vestige of them both. I pace it unrepining, for my thoughts Admit no bondage and my words have wings. Where is the Orphean lyre, or Druid harp, | To accompany the verse? The mountain blast Shall be our hand of music; he shall sweep The rocks, and quivering trees, and billowy lake, | And search the fibres of the caves, and they | Shall answer, for our song is of the clouds And the wind loves them; and the gentle gales— Which by their aid re-clothe the naked lawn With annual verdure, and revive the woods, And moisten the parched lips of thirsty flowers— Love them; and every idle breeze of air Bends to the favourite burthen. Moon and stars Keep their most solemn vigils when the clouds Watch also, shifting peaceably their place Like bands of ministering spirits, or when they lie, As if some Protean art the change had wrought, In listless quiet o'er the ethereal deep Scattered, a Cyclades of various shapes And all degrees of beauty. O ye lightnings: Ye are their perilous offspring; and the sunSource inexhaustible of life and joy, And type of man's far-darting reason, therefore In old time worshipped as the god of verse, A blazing intellectual deity— Loves his own glory in their looks, and showers Upon that unsubstantial brotherhood Visions with all but beatific light Enriched — too transient were they not renewed From age to age, and did not while we gaze In silent rapture, credulous desire Nourish the hope that memory lacks not power To keep the treasure unimpaired. Vain thought Yet why repine, created as we are For joy and rest, albeit to find them only | Lodged in the bosom of eternal things”

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

The Ear addressed, as occupied by a spiritual functionary, in rommunion with sounds, individual, or combined in studied annony. —Sources and effects of those sounds (to the close of fill Stania),—The power of music, whence proceeding, exemshird in the idiot—Origin of music, and its effect in early *-how produced (to the middle of 10th Stanza). —The mid recalled to sounds acting casually and severally.—Wish *ddlth Stanza) that these could be united into a scheme **tem for moral interests and intellectual contemplation.— Sanza 12th) The Pythagorean theory of numbers and music, with their supposed power over the motions of the universe— *** *nant with such a theory.—wish expressed on Ilh Sanza) realized, in some degree, by the representhon of all sounds under the form of thanksgiving to the Creator. -*Santa, the destruction of earth and the planetary syson-the survival of audible harmony, and its support in the Divine Nature, as revealed in Holy Writ.

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

3. Ye Voices, and ye Shadows, And Images of voice—to hound and horn From rocky steep and rock-bestudded meadows Flung back, and, in the sky's blue caves, reborn, On with your pastime till the church-tower bells A greeting give of measured glee 3. And milder echoes from their cells Repeat the bridal symphony. Then, or far earlier, let us rove Where mists are breaking up or gone, And from aloft look down into a cove Besprinkled with a careless quire, Happy Milk-maids, one by one Scattering a ditty each to her desire, A liquid concert matchless by nice Art, A stream as if from one full heart.

4. Blest be the song that brightens The blind Man's gloom, exalts the Veteran's mirth. Unscorned the Peasant's whistling breath, that lightens His duteous toil of firrowing the green earth. For the tired Slave, Song lists the languid oar, And bids it aptly fall, with chime That beautifics the fairest shore, And mitigates the harshest clime. Yon Pilgrims see— in lagging file They move; but soon the appointed way A choral Ave Marie shall beguile, And to their hope the distant shrine Glisten with a livelier ray: Nor friendless He, the Prisoner of the Mine, Who from the well-spring of his own clear breast Can draw, and sing his griefs to rest.

5. When civic renovation Dawns on a kingdom, and for needful haste Best eloquence avails not, Inspiration Mounts with a tune, that travels like a blast Piping through cave and battlemented tower; Then starts the Sluggard, pleased to meet That voice of Freedom, in its power Of promises, shrill, wild, and sweet! Who, from a martial pageant, spreads Incitements of a battle-day, Thrilling the unweaponed crowd with plumeless heads, Even She whose Lydian airs inspire Peaceful striving, gentle play Of timid hope and innocent desire Shot from the dancing Graces, as they move Fanned by the plausive wings of Love.


How oft along thy mazes,
Regent of Sound, have dangerous Passions trod!

O Thou, through whom the Temple rings with praises,
And blackening clouds in thunder speak of God,
Betray not by the cozenage of sense
Thy Votaries, wooingly resigned
To a voluptuous influence
That taints the purer, better mind;
But lead sick Fancy to a harp
That hath in noble tasks been tried;
And, if the Virtuous feel a pang too sharp,
Soothe it into patience, — stay
The uplifted arm of Suicide;
And let some mood of thine in firm array
Knit every thought the impending issue needs,
Ere Martyr burns, or Patriot bleeds !

7. As Conscience, to the centre Of Being, smites with irresistible pain, So shall a solemn cadence, if it enter The mouldy vaults of the dull Idiot's brain, Transmute him to a wretch from quiet hurled – Convulsed as by a jarring din; And then aghast, as at the world Of reason partially let in By concords winding with a sway Terrible for sense and soul . Or, awed he weeps, struggling to quell dismay. Point not these mysteries to an Art Lodged above the starry pole; Pure modulations flowing from the heart Of divine Love, where Wisdom, Beauty, Truth, With Order dwell, in endless youth 3

8. Oblivion may not cover All treasures hoarded by the Miser, Time. Orphean Insight! Truth's undaunted Lover, To the first leagues of tutored passion climb, When Music deigned within this grosser sphere Her subtle essence to enfold, And Voice and Shell drew forth a tear Softer than Nature's self could mould. Yet strenuous was the infant Age: Art, daring because souls could feel, Stirred nowhere but an urgent equipage Of rapt imagination sped her march Through the realms of woe and weal: Hell to the lyre bowed low; the upper arch Rejoiced that clamorous spell and magic verse Her wan disasters could disperse.

9. The Girt to King Amphion That walled a city with its melody Was for belief no dream; thy skill, Arion: Could humanise the creatures of the sea, Where men were monsters. A last grace he craves, Leave for one chant; — the dulcet sound Steals from the deck o'er willing waves,

And listening Dolphins gather round.
Self-cast, as with a desperate course,
"Mid that strange audience, he bestrides
A proud One docile as a managed horse;
And singing, while the accordant hand
Sweeps his harp, the Master rides;
So shall he touch at length a friendly strand,
And he, with his Preserver, shine star-bright
In memory, through silent night.


The pipe of Pan, to Shepherds
Couched in the shadow of Menalian Pines,
Was passing sweet; the eyeballs of the Leopards,
That in high triumph drew the Lord of vides,
How did they sparkle to the cymbal's clang!
While Fauns and Satyrs beat the ground
In cadence,—and Silenus swang
This way and that, with wild-flowers crowned.
To life, to life give back thine Ear:
Ye who are longing to be rid
Of Fable, though to truth subservient, hear
The little sprinkling of cold earth that fell
Echoed from the coffin lid;
The Convict's summons in the steeple knell
“The vain distress-gun,” from a leeward shore,
Repeated — heard, and heard no more :


For terror, joy, or pity,
Vast is the compass, and the swell of notes:
From the Babe's first cry to voice of regal City,
Rolling a solemn sea-like bass, that floats
Far as the woodlands— with the trill to blend
Of that shy Songstress, whose love-tale
Might tempt an Angel to descend,
While hovering o'er the moonlight vale.
O for some soul-affecting scheine
Of moral music, to unite
Wanderers whose portion is the faintest dream
Of memory!—O that they might stoop to bear
Chains, such precious chains of sight
As laboured minstrelsies through ages wear!
O for a balance fit the truth to tell
Of the Unsubstantial, pondered well ?


By one pervading Spirit
Of tones and numbers all things are controlled,
As Sages taught, where faith was found to merit
Initiation in that mystery old
The Heavens, whose aspect makes our minds as still
As they themselves appear to be,
Innumerable voices fill
With everlasting harmony;
The towering Headlands, crowned with mist,
Their feet among the billows, know

« AnteriorContinuar »