« FöregåendeFortsätt »
i But for the shadow by the drooping chin
Cast into that recess; — the tender shade,
The shade and light, both there and everywhere,
And through the very atmosphere she breathes,
Broad, clear, and toned harmoniously, with skill
That might from Nature have been learnt in th' hour
When the lone shepherd sees the morning spread
Upon the mountains. Look at her, whoe'er
Thou be that, kindling with a poet's soul,
Hast loved the painter's true Promethean eraft
Intensely; — from Imagination take
The treasure; what mine eyes behold see thou,
Even though th' Atlantic ocean roll between.
A silver line, that runs from brow to erown,
And in the middle parts the braided hair,
Just serves to show how delicate a soil
The golden harvest grows in; and those eyes,
Soft and capacious as a cloudless sky
Whose azure depth their colour emulates,
Must needs be conversant with upward looks,
Prayer's voiceless service: but now, seeking nought
And shunning nought, their own peculiar life
Of motion they renounce, and with the head
Partake its inclination towards the earth
In humble grace, and quiet pensiveness
Caught at the point where it stops short of sadness.
Offspring of soul-bewitehing Art, make me
Thy confidant! say, whence derived that air
Of calm abstraction ? Can the ruling thought
Be with some lover far away, or one
Cross'd by misfortune, or of doubted faith ?
Inapt conjecture! Childhood here, a moon
Crescent in simple loveliness serene,
Has but approch'd the gates of womanhood,
Not enter'd them: her heart is yet unpierced
By the blind Archer-god; her fancy free:
The fount of feeling, if unsought elsewhere,
Will not be found.
Her right hand, as it lies
Aeross the slender wrist of the left arm
Upon her lap reposing, holds —but mark
How slackly, for the absent mind permits
No firmer grasp — a little wild-flower, join'd,
As in a posy, with a few pale ears
Of yellowing corn, the same that overtopp'd
And in their common birthplace shelter'd it
Till they were pluck'd together ; a, blue flower
C:ill'd by the thrifty husbandman a, weed:
But Ceres, in her garland, might have worn
That ornament, uublamed. The floweret, held
In scarcely conscious fingers, was, she knows,
(Her Father told her so,) in youth's gay dawn
Her Mother's favourite; and the orphan Girl,
In her own dawn, — a dawn less gay and bright,— .
Loves it, while there in solitary peace
She sits, for that departed Mother's sake. —
Not from a source less saered is derived
(Surely I do not err) that pensive air
Of calm abstraction through the face diffused
And the whole person.
Words have something told
More than the pencil can, and verily
- More than is needed; but the precious Art
Forgives their interference, — Art divine,
That both ereates and fixes, in despite
Of Death and Time, the marvels it hath wrought.
Strange contrasts have we in this world of ours!
- That posture, and the look of filial love
Thinking of past and gone, with what is left
Dearly united, might be swept away
From this fair Portrait's fleshly Archetype,
Even by an innocent fancy's slightest freak
Banish'd, nor ever, haply, be restored
To their lost place, or meet in harmony
So exquisite; but here do they abide,
Enshrined for ages. Is not then the Art
Godlike, a humble branch of the divine,
In visible quest of immortality,
Stretch'd forth with trembling hope? In every realm,
From high Gilbraltar to Siberian plains,
Thousands, in each variety of tongue
That Europe knows, would echo this appeal;
One above all, a Monk who waits on God
In the magnific Convent built of yore
To sanetify th' Escurial palace.4 He —
Guiding, from cell to cell and room to room,
A British Painter,6 (eminent for truth
In character, and depth of feeling, shown
By labours that have touch'd the hearts of kings,
4 The pile of buildings, composing the pnlaco and convent of San Lorenzo, I1*** In common, usaso, lost its proper name in thatot'the Eiraria', a villago at the loo. .J the hill upon which 11ic pplenrtid odifiue, built by Piulip the Seoouil, iiUiucU.
6 Thio " British Painter " was Wilkie.
And are endear'd to simple cottagers,)
Came, in that service, to a glorious work,
Our Lord's Last Supper, beantiful as when first
Th' appropriate Picture, fresh from Titian's hand,
Graced the llefectory: and there, while both
Stood with eyes fix'd upon that masterpiece,
The hoary Father in the stranger's ear
Breathed ont these words: " Here daily do we sit,
Thanks given to God for daily bread, and here,
Pondering the mischiefs of these restless times,
And thinking of my Brethren, dead, dispersed,
Or changed and changing, I not seldom gaze
Upon this solemn Company unmoved
By shock of circumstance or lapse of years,
Until I cannot bnt believe that they,—
They are in trnth the Substance, we the Shadows."
So spake the mild Jeronymitc,6 his griefs
Melting away within him like a dream
Ere he had ceased to gaze, perhaps to speak:
And I, grown old, bnt in a happier land,
Domestic Portrait! have to verse consign'd
In thy calm presence those heart-moving words;
Words that can soothe, more than they agitate;
Whose spirit, like the angel that went down
Into Bethesda's pool, with healing virtue
Informs the fountain in the human breast
Which by the visitation was disturb'd.
But why this stealing tear? Companion mute,
On thee I look, not sorrowing: fare thee well,
My Song's Inspirer, once again farewell! [l834.
NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE AND LIBERTY.
COMPOSED BY THE SEA-SIDE, NEAR CALAIS, AUGUST, l802.
Fair Star of evening, Splendour of the West,
Star of my country! on th' horizon's brink
Thou hangcst, stooping, as might seem, to sink
On England's bosom ; yet well pleased to rest,
Meanwhile, and be to her a glorious erest
Conspicuous to the Nations. Thou, I think,
Shouldst be my Country's emblem; and shouldst wink,
6 The anecdote of the snying of the mouk, in sight of Titian's picture, was told mo in this house liy Mr. Wilkie, and was, I believe, flrst communicated to the unhlii In this poem, which I was composing at the time Sonthey heard the story Iroin Jlin Hutehinson, and transferred it to The Doctor. —Author's Kates, iS43.
Bright Star ! with langhter on her banners, drest
In thy fresh beanty. There! that dusky spot
Beneath thee, that is England ; there she lies.
Blessings be on you both! one hope, one lot,
One life, one glory ! — I, with many a fear
For my dear Country, many heartfelt sighs,
Among men who do not love her, linger here.1
CALAIS, AUGUST, 1802.
Is it a reed that's shaken by the wind,
Or what is it that ye go forth to see ?
Lords, lawyers, statesmen, squires of low degree,
Men known, and men unknown, sick, lame, and blind,
Post forward all, like ereatures of one kind,
With first-firuit offerings erowd to bend the knee
In France, before the new-born Majesty.
'Tis ever thus. Ye men of prostrate mind,
A seemly reverence may be paid to power;
But that's a loyal virtue, never sown
In haste, nor springing with a transient shower:
When truth, when sense, when liberty were flown,
What hardship had it been to wait an hour?
Shame on you, feeble Heads, to slavery prone! *
I Grieved for BuonapartS,9 with a vain
And an unthinking grief! The tenderest mood
Of that Man's mind, — what can it be? what food
Fed his first hopes ? what knowledge could he gain ?
'Tis not in battles that from youth we train
The Governor who must be wise and good,
And temper with the sternness of the brain
Thoughts motherly, and meek as womanhood.
Wisdom doth live with children round her knees:
7 In the Summer of 1802, Wordsworth and Ms sister made a short visit to Franco, Mid arrived at Calais on the :Hst of July. Of this trip Miss Wordsworth wrote a
erested with Dover Castle, the evening star, and the glory of the sky: the reflections in the water were more beantiful than the sky itself; purple waves brighter than precious stones for ever melting away upon the sands."
8 Early in August, 1802, Napoleon was made First Consul for life, with the whole forces of the State centred in his hands. Of course the nation was in transports at this swift progress backwards towards the one-man power and the despotism of the sword.
9 Napoleon was by birth and blood an Italian, both his parents toeing of that stock, and was bor n February 5,1708. Corsica was incorporated with France in June following; and he afterwards gave out that ho was horn in August, 17(ii), that ho might pass for a Frenchman by birth. Wordsworth always gives the name with the Ital inn pronunciation. It is said that Napoleon took it in dudgeon to have his name so pro oounced.
Books, leisure, perfect freedom, and tho talk
Man holds with week-day man in th' hourly walk
Of the mind's business, — these are the degrees
By which true Sway doth mount; this is the stalk
True Power doth grow on; and her rights are these.
CALAIS, AUGUST 15, 1802.
Festivals have I seen that were not names:
This is young Buonaparte's natal day,
And his is henceforth an establish'd sway, —
Consul for life. With worship France proclaims
Her approbation, and with pomps and games.
Heaven grant that other cities may be gay!
Calais is not: and I have bent my way
To the sea-coast, noting that each man frames
His business as he likes. Far other show
My youth here witness'd,i in a prouder time;
The senselessness of joy was then sublime!
Happy is he who, caring not for Pope,
Consul, or King, can sound himself to know
The destiny of Man, and live in hope.8
ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE VENETIAN REPUBLIC.
Once did She hold the gorgeous East in fee;
And was the safeguard of the West: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.
She was a maiden City, bright and free;
No guile seduced, no force could violate;
And, when she took unto herself a Mate,
She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reach'd its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
Of that which once was great is pass'd away.1
1 Alluding to the poet's first visit to France, which was in the Summer of 175)0, When the revolutionary ardour was in its full glow of trinmph and hope, and WordsWorth himself was in full sympathy with it.
2 At this time, 1S02, the poet was all out of heart for the canse of freedom in France: on the Continent of Europe he could see nothing but arguments or despair. In this state of things, with all the surroundings lookmg so dark, he might weli think that, it' nion \vould llml any thing to sustain their hopes, they must search within, and explore the better forees of human nature in their own breasts.
3 Venice was ruthlessly seized by Napoleon in ITS6, her government revolutionized into fraternity with tiiat of France; and ilnally she was made over b7 him to
tria in the treaty of Leoben, April, 1797.