« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Nor has the roiling year twice rncuRurcd,
The rapt One, of the godlike forehead,
Like clouds that rake the mountain-sum-
Or waves that own no curbing hand,
Vet I, whose lids from infant slnmber
Our hanghty life is erown'd with dark-
1 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died July to, 1834. a Charles Lamb died Dec. 27, MM.
On which with thee, O Crnbbcl forth
As if but yesterday departed,
Mourn rather for that holy Spirit,
No more of old romantic sorrows,
3 The Ucv. George Crabbe died Feb. 3, 1832.
4 Alluding to Mrs. Felicia Hemans, who died May Hi, 1835.
f, These verses were written externpore, immediately niter reading a notice of the Etti i('k Shepherd's death, in the Newcastle paper, to the Editor of which I sent a copy for publication. The persons lamented in these verses were all either of my friends or acquaintances.— Author's A'oto!, 1843.
SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE OP PEELE CASTLE, IK A STORM,
I Was thy neighbour once, thou rugged Pile!
So pure the sky, so quiet was the air 1
How perfect was the calm! it seem'd no sleep;
Ab! Tiien, if mine had been the Painter's hand,
I would hare planted thee, thou hoary Pile
Thou shouldst have seem'd a treasure-house divine
A Picture had it been of lasting ease,
Such, in the fond illusion of my heart,
So once it would have been, — 'tis so no more;
Not for a moment could I now behold
Then, Beaumont, Friend! who would have been the Friend,
If he had lived, of Him whom I deplore,
This work of thine I blame not, but commend;
This sea in anger, and that dismal shore.
O, 'tis a passionate Work!—yet wise and well,
And this huge Castle, standing here sublime,
I love to sec the look with which it braves,
Cased in th' unfeeling armour of old time,
The lightning, the fierce wind, and trampling waves.
6 Throughont this piece, again, the feeling uppermost in the poet's mind l» iorrow at the death of his brother. Jn one of his eummer vacations while in college;, lie ha J spent four weeks in the neighbourhood of Peele Castle; and nil that time the waters had remained perfectly unruffled and smooth, never ceasing to image in theii i
from the fieree contrast, impresses him with a deeper sense of the terrible might Which liad slumbered so sweetly before his eyo.
Farewell, farewell the heart that lives alone.
But welcome fortitude, and patient cheer.
WRITTEN AFTER THE DEATH OF CHARLES
To a good Man of most dear memory
7 This Is justly regarded as one of the anthor's noblest and most characteristic pieces. Hardly any of them has been otlener quoted, or drawn forth more or stronger notes of admiration. Perhaps the higher function of Poetrv has never been better expressed than in the last half of the fourth stanza. The anthor's private correspondence ut the time shows that the shaping and informing spiiit of the piece was not a thing assumed for any purpose .of art. In a letier to a friend, dated March 10,1805, he wrote as follows: " For myself, I feel that there is something cut out of my life which cannot he restored. I" never thought of him but with hope and delight: we looked forward to the time, not distant, as \\v thought, when he would settle near us, when the task of his life would be over, an t he would have nothing to do but reap his reward. I never wrote a line without a thought of 11s giving him pleasure: my writings, printed and manuseript, were his delight, and one of the chief solaces of his long voyages. But I will not bacu.-t down; were it only for his sake, I will not be dejected : and 1 hope, when 1 shall he able to think of him with a calmer mind, that the remembrance of him dead will even animate mo D^oro than the joy which I had in him li\ ing."
8 Light will be thrown upon the tragic circumstance alluded to in this viocm, when, after the death of Charles Lamb's Sister, his biographer, Mr. Sergeant Talfniml, shall be at liberty to relate particulars which could not. at the lime his Memnir was written, be givc'n to the public. Mary Lamb was ten years older than her brother, and has survived him as long a time. Were 1 to give way lo my own feelings, I should dwell not only on her genins and intellectual power, bul upon the delicacy and refinement of manner which she maintained inviolable under the most trying cireumstances. She was loved and honoured bv all her brother's friends; nnd others, some of them strange characters, whom his philanthropic peculiarities induced him to countenance. The death of Charles Lamb himself was doubtless battened by his sorrow for that of Coleridge, to whom he had been attached fvun the time of their being school-fellows at Christ's Hospital. Lamb was a good Latin echolar, and probably would have gone to college upon one of the school fouudationi
'i, for the impediment in Uifl speech. — Authors Xuten, 1818.
With a keen eye and overflowing heart:
So genins trinmph'd over seeming wrong,
And pour'd out truth in works by thoughtful love
Inspired, — works potent over smiles and tears.
And, as round mountain-tops the lightning plays,
Thus innocently sported, breaking forth
As from a cloud of some grave sympathy,
Humour and wild instinctive wit, and all
The vivid flashes of his spoken words.
From the most gentle ereature nursed in fields
Had been derived the name he bore, — a name,
Wherever Christian altars have been raised,
Hallow'd to meekness and to innocence;
And if in him meekness at times gave way,
Provoked out of herself by troubles strange,
Many and strange, that hung about his life;
Still, at the centre of his being, lodged
A soul by resignation sanctified:
And if too often, self-reproach'd, he felt
That innocence belongs not to our kind,
A power that never ceased to abide in him,
Charity, 'mid the multitude of sins
That she can cover, left not his exposed
To an unforgiving judgment from just Heaven.
O, he was good, if e'er a good Man lived!
From a reflecting mind and sorrowing heart
Those simple lines flow'd with an earnest wish,
Though but a doubting hope, that they might serve
Fitly to guard the precious dust of him
Whose virtues call'd them forth. That aim is miss'd;
For much that truth most urgently required
Had from a faltering pen been ask'd in vain :
Yet, haply, on the printed page received,
Th' imperfect record, there, may stand unblamed
As long as verse of mine shall breathe the air
Of memory, or see the light of love.
Thou wert a scorner of the fields, my Friend, But more in show than truth; and from the fields, And from the mountains, to thy rural grave Transported, my soothed spirit hovers o'er Its green untrodden turf and blowing flowers; And taking up a voice shall speak (though still Awed by the theme's peculiar sanctity Which words less fres presumed not even to touch) Of that fraternal love whose Heaven-lit lamp
From infancy, through manhood, to the last
"Wonderful" hath been
9 Wordsworth hero delicately hints tliat Lamb refrained from matrimonial ties on account of his sister, whose sad inflrmHy seemed to him to invest her cluiun —:' 'i peculiar eucralness. And each, l believe, was the fact.