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Life's vain delusions are gone by ;
Yet Age remembers with a sigh
RODERICK IN BATTLE.
Count Julian's soldiers and the Asturian host
From man to man, and rank to rank it pass'd,
And javelins hurtled by. Anon the hosts
How beautiful is night!
Who, at this untimely hour,
Wanders o'er the desert sands !
They at this untimely hour,
Wander o'er the desert sands.
AND oh! what odours the voluptuous vale
"Tis pleasant, by the cheerful hearth, to hear Of tempests, and the dangers of the deep, And pause at times, and feel that we are safe; Then listen to the perilous tale again, And with an eager and suspended soul, Woo terror to delight us; but to hear The roaring of the raging elements, To know all human skill, all human strength, Avail not; to look round and only see The mountain wave incumbent, with its weight Of bursting waters, o'er the reeling bark,O God, this is indeed a dreadful thing ! And he who hath endured the horror once Of such an hour, doth never hear the storm Howl round his home, but he remembers it, And thinks upon the suffering mariner |
HERE in solitude My soul was nurst, amid the loveliest scenes Of unpolluted nature. Sweet it was, As the white mists of morning roll'd away, To see the mountains' wooded heights appear Dark in the early dawn, and mark its slope, Rich with the blossom'd furze, as the slant sun On the golden ripeness pour'd a deepening light. Pleasant, at noon, beside the vocal brook, To lie me down and watch the floating clouds, And shape to fancy's wild similitudes Their ever-varying forms; and ho, most sweet! To drive my flock at evening to the fold, And hasten to our little hut, and hear
to voice of kindness bid me welcome home.
This to a mother's sacred memory Her son hath hallow'd. Absent many a year Far over sea, his sweetest dreams were still Of that dear voice which sooth'd his infancy: And after many a fight against the Moor And Malabar, or that fierce cavalry Which he had seen covering the boundless plain Even to the utmost limits where the eye Could pierce the far horizon, his first thought, In safety, was of her, who, when she heard The tale of that day's danger, would retire And pour her pious gratitude to heaven In prayers and tears of joy. The lingering hour Of his return, long-look'd for, came at length, And full of hope he reach'd his native shore. Wain hope that puts its trust in human life For ere he came the number of her days Was full. O reader, what a world were this, How unendurable its weight, if they Whom Death hath sunder'd did not meet again!
A SUB-MARINE CITY.
The in golden summits in the noonday light, Shone o'er the dark-green deep that roll'd between ; For domes and pinnacles, and spires were seen Peering above the sea—a mournful sight! Well might the sad beholder ween from thence What works of wonder the devouring wave Had swallow'd there, when monuments so brave Bore record of their old magnificence. And on the sandy shore, beside the verge Of ocean, here and there a rock-hewn fane Resisted in its strength the surf and surge That on their deep foundations beat in vain. In solitude the ancient temples stood, Once resonant with instrument and song, And solemn dance of festive multitude; Now as the weary ages pass along, Hearing no voice save of the ocean flood, Which roars for ever on the restless shores; Or, visiting their solitary caves, The lonely sound of winds, that moan around, Accordant to the melancholy waves.
THE LOCUST CLOUD.
ON wann they came, a dark continuous cloud Of congregated myriads numberless, The rushing of whose wings was as the sound Of a broad river, headlong in its course Plunged from a mountain summit; or the roar Of a wild ocean in the autumn storm, Shattering its billows on a shore of rocks. Onward they came, the winds impell'd them on, Their work was done, their path of ruin past, Their graves were ready in the wilderness.
“Behold the mighty army!” Moath cried, “Blindly they move, impell'd By the blind element. And yonder birds, our welcome visitants, Lo! where they soar above the embodied host, Pursue their way, and hang upon their rear, And thin their spreading flanks, Rejoicing o'er their banquet! Deemest thou The scent of water on some Syrian mosque Placed with priest-mummery, and the jargon-rites Which fool the multitude, hath led them here From far Khorassan : Allah, who decreed Yon tribe the plague and punishment of man, These also hath he doom'd to meet their way: Both passive instruments Of his all-acting will, Sole mover he, and only spring of all.”
Thus having said, the pious sufferer sate, Beholding with fix’d eyes that lovely orb, Till quiet tears confused in dizzy light The broken moonbeams. They too by the toil Of spirit, as by travail of the day Subdued, were silent, yielding to the hour. The silver cloud diffusing slowly past, And now into its airy elements Resolved is gone; while through the azure depth Alone in heaven the glorious moon pursues Her course appointed, with indifferent beams Shining upon the silent hills around, And the dark tents of that unholy host, Who, all unconscious of impending fate, Take their last slumber there. The camp is still; The fires have moulder'd, and the breeze which stirs The soft and snowy embers, just lays bare At times a red and evanescent light, Or for a moment wakes a feeble flame. They by the fountain hear the stream below, Whose murmurs, as the wind arose or fell, Fuller or fainter reach the ear attuned. And now the nightingale, not distant far, Began her solitary song; and pour’d To the cold moon a richer, stronger strain Than that with which the lyric lark salutes The new-born day. Her deep and thrilling song Seem'd with its piercing melody to reach The soul, and in mysterious unison
Blend with all thoughts of gentleness and love.
IMMORTALITY OF LOVE.
They sin who tell us love can die. With life all other passions fly, All others are but vanity; In heaven ambition cannot dwell, Nor avarice in the vaults of hell; Earthly these passions of the earth, They perish where they have their birth; But love is indestructible: Its holy flame for ever burneth, From heaven it came, to heaven returneth. Too oft on earth a troubled guest, At times deceived, at times oppress'd, It here is tried and purified, Then hath in heaven its perfect rest: It soweth here with toil and care, But the harvest-time of love is there. Oh! when a mother meets on high The babe she lost in infancy, Hath she not then, for pains and fears, The day of wo, the watchful night, For all her sorrow, all her tears, An over-payment of delight !
My days among the dead are pass'd;
With them I take delight in weal,
My thoughts are with the dead; with them
My hopes are with the dead; anon
LANDoR was born, we are told in the “Book of Gems,” from which we gain our scanty biographical information of him, at Ipsley Court, the seat of his family in Warwickshire, in January, 1775. He was educated at Rugby. He has spent a large portion of his time abroad upon the continent, in Spain, where he was intimately concerned in its politics, and in Italy, where he occupied a villa at Fiesole in the vicinity of Florence. He now resides in England, and is not an unfrequent contributor to the London Examiner, where his pungent, exact style betrays no marks of weakness or age. His last articles have been upon the affairs of Greece, and the proposed monument to his friend Southey at Bristol. The cause of liberty and truth has always inspired his pen. What he sees he sees clearly and expresses vividly. His great prose work, the “Imaginary Conversations,” is full of noble thoughts, carved out as in statuary. His “Pericles and Aspasia” is worthy to be written in the original Greek, where Greek is classic. We know no author whose writings breathe a more conscious presence of nobility. His thought is perfect and entire, calin, clear, independent: it does not attempt to make you a convert; it is there without any declamation of apology, for you to return to it or not, as you choose; but you do return to it, fascinated by its brightness and single grandeur. LANDoR presents himself to us in his writings as a proud, intellectual man, and inflexible lover of truth, though not insensible to prejudice; of a native nobility of soul, quickly impressed by the show of manliness and worth; a sincere friend, and what, with a man of his temperament, is its correlative, a good hater; a fastidious, educated man, who carries his moral sensitiveness into the world of literature; a lover of poetry, himself a poet. Mr. LANDoR's poetry, however, is the poetry of the intellect
rather than the heart: it is indeed the sweet
flower of a virtuous life, “of high erected thoughts seated in a heart of courtesy,” but its images are single, isolated, a succession of brilliant mountain peaks, with hardly the warmth and continuous life of the sunny
plains. It is the transposition of his prose, which is saying that his prose is eloquent, refined, poetical. There is no lyric flow, no flood of passion. His longest poem, “Gebir,” was originally partly written in Latin, and is a work of great polish and strength in parts; as a whole it is weak, and tells no story worth telling. But this is to say what it is not—a barren style of criticism. It is a succession of costly pictures, of rare dramatic scenes; a collection of images glowing with thought, full of feminine tenderness by the side of manly beauty, a poetic quarry, or rather an uninhabited but kingly furnished palace, stored with marbles, and vases, and cabinet paintings, but wanting the living tide of life. The subject, however, admits of this treatment. It is one of Egyptian enchantment. In the old land of the Sphinx and Memnon, and the Pyramids, we may be content to dwell with statues, and walk admiringly among the silent wonders of art. “Gebir” does not break the spell. Mr. LANDoR has written “Count Julian, a Tragedy,” and several Dramatic Sketches. He stands very high among the unacted dramatists of the present day, and they are neither small nor unsuccessful as a body, but he needs the warm, unconscious humanity of Shakspeare to melt the icy intellect in the flowing heart. If we fail in this to convey a lofty idea of Mr. LANDoR's powers, we fail of our meaning ; we are enthusiasts for his merits, but they are for the few, not for the many: he is sarcastical and satirical, and the world, we suspect, will take him for a misanthrope, and pronounce his writings impracticable. Assuredly, they are not popular, but they are scholarlike and profound: let his future translators reconcile the difference. They can build many a domestic home and hearthstone out of his one pinnacled marble castle.
* Published by Moxon, in 1831, with “Count Julian” and other dramatic and minor poems. This, with two dramatic pieces, “Andrea of Hungary,” and “Giovanni of Naples,” printed for the benefit of GRAcE DARLING, by BENtley, in 1839; the verses in his prose works, and some contributions to the “Athenaeum,” the “Examiner,” and to the Annuals, are his only published poems.
TAMAR RELATES TO GEBIR HIS FIRST EN COUNTER WITH THE NY MPH.
“'Twas evening, tho’ not sunset, and spring tide, Level with these green meadows, seem'd still higher. 'Twas pleasant; and I loosen'd from my neck The pipe you gave me, and began to play. Oh that I ne'er had learnt the tuneful art 1 It always brings us enemies or love 1 Well, I was playing, when above the waves Some swimmer's head methought I saw ascend; I, sitting still, survey'd it, with my pipe Awkwardly held before my lips half-closed. Gebir! it was a nymph! a nymph divine ! I cannot wait describing how she came, How I was sitting, how she first assumed The sailor; of what happened there remains Enough to say, and too much to forget. The sweet deceiver stept upon this bank Before I was aware; for with surprise Moments fly rapid as with love itself. Stooping to tune afresh the hoarsen'd reed, I heard a rustling, and where that arose My glance first lighted on her nimble feet. ' Her feet resembled those long shells explored By him who to befriend his steed's dim sight Would blow the pungent powder in the eye. Her eyes too! O immortal gods' her eyes Resembled—what could they resemble what Ever resemble those ! E'en her attire Was not of wonted woof nor vulgar art: Her mantle show'd the yellow samphire-pod, Her girdle, the dove-coloured wave serene. • Shepherd,” said she, and will you wrestle now, And with the sailor's hardier race engage o' I was rejoiced to hear it, and contrived How to keep up contention; could I fail By pressing not too strongly, yet to press • Whether a shepherd, as indeed you seem, Or whether of the hardier race you boast, I am not daunted; no, I will engage. But first,' said she, “what wager will you lay ?” • A sheep,” I answered ; 'add whate'er you will.’ ‘I cannot,” she replied, make that return: Our hided vessels in their pitchy round Seldom, unless from rapine, hold a sheep. But I have sinuous shells of pearly hue Within, and they that lustre have imbibed In the sun's palace porch, where, when unyoked, His chariot-wheel stands midway in the wave: Shake one, and it awakens; then apply Its polish'd lips to your attentive ear, And it remembers its august abodes, And murmurs as the ocean murmurs there. And I have others given me by the nymphs, Of sweeter sound than any pipe you have. But we, by Neptune, for no pipe contend. This time a sheep I win, a pipe the next.” Now came she forward, eager to engage, But first her dress, her bosom then survey'd, And heaved it, doubting if she could deceive. Her bosom seem’d, enclosed in haze like heaven, To baffle touch, and rose forth undefined: Above her knees she drew the robe succinct,
Above her breast, and just below her arms.
Julian. O cruelty—to them indeed the least ! My children, ye are happy—ye have lived Of heart unconquered, honour unimpaired, And died, true Spaniards, loyal to the last.
Muza. Away with him.
Julian. Slaves' not before I lift My voice to heaven and man: though enemies Surround me, and none else, yet other men And other times shall hear: the agony Of an opprest and of a bursting heart No violence can silence; at its voice The trumpet is o'erpower'd, and glory mute, And peace and war hide all their charms alike. Surely the guests and ministers of heaven Scatter it forth thro' all the elements; So suddenly, so widely, it extends, So fearfully men breathe it, shuddering To ask or fancy how it first arose.