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SAMSON AGONISTES. If I'm designed yon lordling's slave,
By Nature's law designed, Why was an independent wish
A LITTLE onward lend thy guiding hand E'er planted in my mind ?
To these dark steps, a little farther on; If not, why am I subject to
For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade : His cruelty or scorn ?
There I am wont to sit, when any chance Or why has man the will and power
Relieves me from my task of servile toil,
Daily in the common prison else enjoined me,
The air imprisoned also, close and damp,
Unwholesome draught; but here I feel amends, Disturb thy youthful breast :
The breath of heaven fresh blowing, pure and This partial view of human-kind
sweet, Is surely not the last !
With day-spring born : here leave me to respire. The poor, oppresséd, honest man
This day a solemn feast the people hold
To Dagon, their sea-idol, and forbid
Laborious works : unwillingly this rest
Their superstition yields me; hence with leave
This unfrequented place to find some ease,
From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly swarm Welcome the hour my aged limbs
Of hornets armed, no sooner found alone,
But rush upon me thronging, and present
O, wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold But 0, a blest relief to those.
Twice by an angel, who at last in sight
Of both my parents all in flames ascended
His godlike presence, and from some great act
Or benefit revealed to Abraham's race?
Why was my breeding ordered and prescribed Love not, love not ! ye hapless sons of clay! As of a person separate to God, Hope's gayest wreaths are made of earthly flow- Designed for great exploits, if I must die ers, —
Betrayed, captived, and both my eyes put out, Things that are made to fade and fall away Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze; Ere they have blossomed for a few short hours. To grind in brazen fetters under task Love not!
With this Heaven-gifted strength ? O glorious
strength, Love not! the thing ye love may change ; Put to the labor of a beast, debased The rosy lip may cease to smile on you,
Lower than bondslave! Promise was that I The kindly-beaming eye grow cold and strange, Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver ; The heart still warmly beat, yet not be true. Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him Love not!
Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke !
O loss of sight, of thee I most complain !
Blind among enemies, 0, worse than chains, Beam o'er its grave, as once upon its birth.
Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age !
Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct, Love not ! 0 warning vainly said
And all her various objects of delight In present hours as in years gone by!
Annulled, which might in part my grief have eased. Love flings a halo round the dear ones' head,
Inferior to the vilest now become Faultless, immortal, till they change or die.
Of man or worm ; the vilest here excel me :
They creep, yet see ; I dark in light exposed
Within doors or without, still as a fool,
And must I never see thee more, In power of others, never in my own;
My pretty, pretty, pretty lad ?
I am not mad;. I am not mad!
0, hark ! what mean those yells and cries?
His chain some furious madman breaks ; He comes, — I see his glaring eyes ;
Now, now, my dungeon-grate he shakes.
Help! Help!-He's gone !--0, fearful woe, THE MANIAC.
Such screams to hear, such sights to see ! STAY, jailer, stay, and hear my woe !
My brain, my brain, — I know, I know She is not mad who kneels to thee;
I am not mad, but soon shall be. For what I'm now too well I know,
And what I was, and what should be. Yes, soon ;- for, lo yon ! — while I speak, I'll rave no more in proud despair ;
Mark how yon demon's eyeballs glare ! My language shall be mild, though sad ; He sees me ; now, with dreadful shriek, But yet I firmly, truly swear,
He whirls a serpent high in air. I am not mad, I am not mad!
Horror !- the reptile strikes his tooth
Deep in my heart, so crushed and sad; My tyrant husband forged the tale
Ay, laugh, ye fiends ; - I feel the truth ; Which chains me in this dismal cell ;
Your task is done, – I’M MAD! I'M YAD! My fate unknown my friends bewail,
GEORGE MONK LEWIS.
ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.
[Written in the spring of 1819, when suffering from physical de
pression, the precursor of his death, which happened soon after.] He smiles in scorn, and turns the key ;
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains". He quits the grate; I knelt in vain ; His glimmering lamp still, still I sce,
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk ; ”T is gone! and all is gloom again.
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains Cold, bitter cold ! – No warmth ! no light!
One minute past, and Lethe-ward had sunk, Life, all thy comforts once I had ;
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, Yet here I'm chained, this freezing night,
But being too happy in thy happiness, Although not mad; no, no,
That thou, light-wingéd Dryad of the trees, not mad!
In some melodious plot 'T is sure some dream, some vision vain ; Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, What! I, the child of rank and wealth,
Singest of Summer in full-throated ease.
O for a draught of vintage
Cooled a long age in the deep-delvéd earth, Which nevermore my heart must glad,
Tasting of Flora and the country green, How aches my heart, how burns my head ;
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburned
mirth! But 't is not mad; no, it is not mad!
O for a beaker full of the warm South, Hast thou, my child, forgot, ere this,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, A mother's face, a mother's tongue ?
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stainéd mouth,
That I might drink, and leave the world unNor how with her you sued to stay ;
seen, Nor how that suit your sire forbade ;
And with thee fade away into the forest dim. Nor how - I'll drive such thoughts away ; They'll make me mad, they 'll make me mad !
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never His rosy lips, how sweet they smiled!
known, His mild blue eyes, how bright they shone! The weariness, the fever, and the fret : None ever bore a lovelier child,
Here, where men sit and hear each other And art thou now forever gone ?
Where palsy shakes a few sad, last gray hairs, Adieu ! adieu ! thy plaintive anthem fades Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and Past the near meadows, over the still stream, dies,
Up the hillside ; and now 't is buried deep Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
In the next valley-glades :
Was it a vision or a waking dream ? Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Fled is that music, — do I wake or sleep? Or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
WHENAS the Palmer came in hall, And haply the queen-moon is on her throne,
No lord, nor knight, was there more tall, Clustered around by all her starry fays ;
Or had a statelier step withal,
Or looked more high and keen ;
For no saluting did he wait, blow
But strode across the hall of state, Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy
And fronted Marmion where he sate, ways,
As he his peer had been. I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
But his gaunt frame was worn with toil ; Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs ;
His cheek was sunk, alas the while ! But, in embalméd darkness guess each sweet
And when he struggled at a smile, Wherewith the seasonable month endows
looked haggard wild : The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild,
Poor wretch ! the mother that him bare, White hawthorn and the pastoral eglantine ;
If she had been in presence there,
In his wan face and sunburned hair
She had not known her child.
Danger, long travel, want, or woe, The murmurous haunt of bees on summer eves.
Soon change the form that best we know,
For deadly fear can time outgo, Darkling I listen ; and for many a time
And blanch at once the hair ; I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Hard toil can roughen form and face, Called him soft names in many a muséd rhyme, And want can quench the eye's bright grace, To take into the air my quiet breath ;
Nor does old age a wrinkle trace, Now, more than ever, seems it rich to die,
More deeply than despair. To cease upon the midnight, with no pain,
Happy whom none of these befall,
But this poor Palmer knew them all.
FROM "HENRY VIII."
FAREWELL, a long farewell, to all my greatness ! In ancient days by emperor and clown :
This is the state of man : to-day he puts forth Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
The tender leaves of hope ; to-morrow blossoms, Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for And bears his blushing honors thick upon him : home,
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost ; She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
And—when he thinks, good easy man, full surely The same that ofttimes hath
His greatness is a ripening – nips his root, Charmed magic casements opening on the foam And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured, Of perilous seas, in fairy lands forlorn.
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory ; Forlorn! the very word is like a bell,
But far beyond my depth : my high-blown pride - To toll me back from thee to my sole self ! At length broke under me; and now has left me, Adieu ! the Fancy cannot cheat so well Weary and old with service, to the mercy As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye : I feel my heart new opened. O, how wretched Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favors | There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to, - That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin, More pangs and fears than wars or women have : And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer, Never to hope again.
CARDINAL WOLSEY'S SPEECH TO
HENRY VIII." CROMWELL, I did not think to shed a tear In all my miseries ; but thou hast forced me, Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman. Let's dry our eyes : and thus far hear me, Crom
And — when I am forgotten, as I shall be,
Nor do I for all this, nor will ;
Inconstant Sylvio ! when yet
Thenceforth I set myself to play
Had it lived long, I do not know
It is a wondrous thing how fleet
DEATH OF THE WHITE FAWN.
WRITTEN DURING SICKNESS, APRIL, 1845.
FAREWELL, life! my senses swim,
Welcome, life! the spirit strives !
THE MAY QUEEN.
It oft would challenge me the race !
I have a garden of my own,
O, help ! O, help! I see it faint,
I in a golden phial will
Now my sweet fawn is vanished to
First, my unhappy statue shall
You must wake and call me early, call me early,
mother dear; To-morrow 'll be the happiest time of all the glad
new-year, Of all the glad new-year, mother, the maddest,
merriest day; For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to
be Queen o' the May.
There's many a black, black eye, they say, but
none so bright as mine; There 's Margaret and Mary, there 's Kate and
Caroline; But none so fair as little Alice in all the land,
they say: So I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to
be Queen o' the May.
I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall
never wake, If you do not call me loud when the day begins
to break; But I must gather knots of flowers and buds, and
garlands gay ; For I 'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to
be Queen o' the May.
As I came up the valley, whom think ye should
But Robin leaning on the bridge beneath the