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The cold wind of the stranger blew Chill on my wither'd heart:—the grave
Dark and untimely met my view— And all for thee, vile yellow slave
Ha! comest thou now so late to mock
PORTUGUESE HYMN TO THE VIRGIN.
written. At sea.
St An of the wide and pathless sea,
Star of the vast and howling main
Star of the dark and stormy sea!
Star of the desert waters wild,
Star of the deep' at that blest name
Star of the mild and placid seas
Star of the deep! when angel lyres
THE MEMORY OF THE PAST.
ALAs, that fancy's pencil still portrays
Lo in the vales, where wandering rivulets run, The fleecy mists shine gilded in the sun, Spread their loose folds, till now the lagging gale, Unfurls no more its lightly skimming sail; But through the hoary flakes, that fall like snow, Gleams in ethereal hue the watery bow. 'Tis ancient silence, robed in thistle down, Whose snowy locks its fairy circles crown; His vesture moves not, as he hovers lone, While curling fogs compose his airy throne; Serenely still, self-pois'd, he rests on high, And soothes each infant breeze that fans the sky. The mists ascend;—the mountains scarce are free, Like islands floating in a billowy sea; While on their chalky summits glimmering dance The sun's last rays across the gray expanse: As sink the hills in waves that round them grow, The hoary surges scale the cliff's tall brow ; The fleecy billows o'er its head are hurl’d, As ocean once embraced the prostrate world.
CHANGES OF HOME.
As every prospect opens on my view, I seem'd to live departed years anew ; When in these wilds a jocund, sportive child, Each flower self-sown my heedless hours beguiled; The wahret leaf, that by the pathway grew, The wild-briar rose, of pale and blushful hue, The thistle's rolling wheel, of silken down, The blue-bell, or the daisy's pearly crown, The gaudy butterfly, in wanton round, That, like a living pea-flower, skimm'd the ground ! Again I view each rude romantic glade, Where once with tiny steps my childhood stray'd To watch the foam-bell of the bubbling brook, Or mark the motions of the clamorous rook, Who saw her nest, close thatch'd with ceaseless toil, At summer eve become the woodman's spoil Green down ascending drink the moorish rills, And yellow corn-fields crown the heathless hills, Where to the breeze the shrill brown linnet sings, And prunes with frequent bill his russet wings. High and more high the shepherds drive their flocks, And climb with timid step the hoary rocks; From cliff to cliff the ruffling breezes sigh, Where idly on the sun-beat steeps they lie, And wonder, that the vale no more displays The pastoral scenes that pleased their early days. No more the cottage roof, fern-thatch'd and gray, Invites the weary traveller from the way, To rest, and taste the peasant's simple cheer, Repaid by news and tales he loved to hear; The clay-built wall, with woodbine twisted o'er, The house-leek clustering green above the door, While through the sheltering elms, that round them grew, The winding smoke arose in columns blue;— These all have fled; and from their hamlets brown The swains have gone, to sicken in the town, To pine in crowded streets, or ply the loom; For splendid halls deny the cottage room. Yet on the neighbouring heights they oft convene, With fond regret to view each former scene, The level meads, where infants wont to play Around their mothers, as they piled the hay, The hawthorn hedge-row, and the hanging wood, Beneath whose boughs their humble cottage stood. Gone are the peasants from the humble shed, And with them too the humble virtues fled. No more the farmer, on these fertile plains, Is held the father of the meaner swains, Partakes, as he directs, the reaper's toil, Or with his shining share divides the soil, Or in his hall, when winter nights are long, Joins in the burden of the damsel's song, Repeats the tales of old heroic times, While Bruce and Wallace consecrate the rhymes. These all are fled—and, in the farmer's place, Of prouder look, advance a dubious race, That ape the pride of rank with awkward state The vice, but not the polish of the great, Flaunt, like the poppy mid the ripening grain, A nauseous weed, that poisons all the plain. The peasant, once a friend a friend no more, Cringes, a slave, before the master's door:
Or else, too proud where once he loved to fawn,
TEVIOTD ALE. .
LAN n of my fathers!—though no mangrove here O'er thy blue streams her flexile branches rear, Nor scaly palm her finger'd scions shoot, Nor luscious guava wave her yellow fruit, Nor golden apples glimmer from the tree— Land of dark heaths and mountains ! thou art free.
Untainted yet, thy stream, fair Teviot! runs, With unatoned blood of Gambia's sons: No drooping slave, with spirit bow'd to toil, Grows, like the weed, self-rooted to the soil, Nor cringing vassal on these pansied meads Is bought and barter'd, as the flock he feeds. Free, as the lark that carols o'er his head, At dawn the healthy ploughman leaves his bed, Binds to the yoke his sturdy steers with care, And whistling loud directs the mining share ; Free, as his lord, the peasant treads the plain, And heaps his harvest on the groaning wain ; Proud of his laws, tenacious of his right, And vain of Scotia's old unconquer'd might.
Dear native valleys' may ye long retain The charter'd freedom of the mountain swain' Long mid your sounding glades in union sweet May rural innocence and beauty meet! And still be duly heard at twilight calm From every cot the peasant's chanted psalm ? Then, Jedworth ! though thy ancient choirs shall
And time lay bare each lofty colonnade,
SERENITY OF CHILD HOOD.
IN the sweet morn of life, when health and joy Laugh in the eye, and o'er each sunny plain A mild celestial softness seems to reign,
Ah! who could dream what woes the heart annoy
No saddening sighs disturb the vernal gale Which fans the wild-wood music on the ear; Unbathed the sparkling eye with pity's tear,
Save listening to the aged soldier's tale,
The heart's slow grief, which wastes the child of wo,
We hear not in the gales that o'er us blow,
The author of “Elia” was the son of John LAMB, a scrivener, and was born in the Inner Temple, London, on the eighteenth of February, 1775. In 1782 he was admitted to the school of Christ's Hospital, where he remained until he had entered into his fifteenth year, from which time he was employed in the South-Sea House, under his elder brother, until 1792, when he obtained an appointment in the office of the accountant-general of the East India Company. He was in the Indiahouse thirty-five years, rarely absent from his post a single day, and fulfilling his duties with most exact fidelity. He lived meantime with his “gentle sister Mary”—neither of them being ever married—and had at all times a circle of ardent friends, embracing some of the most eminent persons of the country, as Coleridge, who was his schoolfellow, WoRDsworth, HAzLitt, SouthEy, and Sergeant TALFound, his biographer. He continued nearly all his life in London, regarding it, with a sort of Chinese exclusiveness, as the only scene in which existence could be enjoyed, until within two or three years of his death, when he wrote to a friend that the town, with all his native hankering after it, was not what it had been in his earlier life. “The streets, the shops,” he says, “are left, but all old friends are gone: I was frightfully convinced of this as I passed houses and places, empty caskets now. I have ceased to care almost about anybody; the bodies I cared for are in graves, or dispersed; my old chums that lived so long and flourished so steadily, are crumbled away.”
LAMB's favourite reading was chiefly in the early English authors, and some of its results appeared in his “Selections from Dramatists contemporary with Shakspeare,” and in his essays on Shakspeare's Tragedies, on the works of George Wither, &c. His first appearance as an author, however, was at the age of twenty-two, when he published in connection with Coleridge and Charles LLoyd, a volume of verses, not particularly deserving of admiration, and in the
next year, “Rosamund Gray,” a story after the manner of MACKENzie, which was more popular. In 1807 appeared “John Woodvil, a Tragedy;” in 1808 “The Adventures of Ulysses,” and at intervals came out his “Essays of Elia,” the most remarkable of his compositions, which established his reputation on good and lasting grounds. Besides the works already mentioned, LAMB wrote a farce entitled “Mr. H ,” which was acted at Drury Lane. Though Elliston personated the hero, it was for some reason unsuccessful. In America, however, it afterward had a great run, and was performed by Mr. Wood, in Philadelphia, as many nights, perhaps, as any piece of its nature ever brought out by that excellent comedian. LAMB's poems, excepting the tragedy which we have named, are few and’ brief, and of less merit than his prose writings. “John Woodvil,” however, contains passages which would not have done dishonour to the great dramatists of Shakspeare's golden age ; and “The Farewell to Tobacco,” in these pages, is such a piece of verse as one might imagine “Elia” would write. His letters and his essays belong to that small and slowly increasing body of works constituting the standard literature of the English language. Their bonhomie, exquisite humour, and tenderness, will make them as great favourites with successive generations of readers, as the living CHARLEs LAMB was with his personal friends. Speaking of the “Farewell to Tobacco,” reminds us of the most melancholy subject in LAMB's history—his intemperance. So far as we know, it was his only frailty, and it was one which he shared with Coleridge, the most intimate, as well as the greatest of his friends. Such infirmities of genius warn us of the necessity of preserving every guard to virtue, and teach the duty of charity and forbearance. Mr. LAMB died suddenly at Edmonton, on the 27th of December, 1834, in the sixtieth year of his age.
FAREWELL TO TOBACCO.
Mar the Babylonish curse Strait confound my stammering verse, If I can a passage see In this word-perplexity, Or a fit expression find, Or a language to my mind, o the phrase is wide or scant) o take leave of thee, great plant: Or in any terms relate Half my love, or half my hate: For I hate, yet love, thee so, That, whichever thing I show, The plain truth will seem to be A constrain'd hyperbole, And the passion to proceed More for a mistress than a weed. Sooty retainer to the vine, Bacchus' black servant, negro fine; Sorcerer, that makest us dote upon Thy begrimed complexion, And, for thy pernicious sake, More and greater oaths to break Than reclaimed lovers take 'Gainst women: thou thy siege dost lay Much too in the female way, While thou suck'st the labouring breath Faster than, kisses or than death. Thou in such a cloud dost bind us, That our worst foes cannot find us, And ill fortune, that would thwart us, Shoots at rovers, shooting at us; While each man, thro' thy heightening steam, Does like a smoking Etna seem, And all about us does express (Fancy and wit in richest dress) A Sicilian fruitfulness. Thou through such a mist dost show us, That our best friends do not know us, And, for those allowed features, Due to reasonable creatures, Liken'st us to fell chimeras, Monsters that, who see us, fear us; Worse than Cerberus or Geryon, Or, who first loved a cloud, Ixion. Bacchus we know, and we allow His tipsy rites. But what art thou, That but by reflex can'st show What his deity can do, As the false Egyptian spell Aped the true Hebrew miracle? Some few vapours thou may'st raise, The weak brain may serve to amaze, But to the reins and nobler heart Can'st nor life nor heat impart. Brother of Bacchus, later born, The old world was sure forlorn, Wanting thee, that aidest more The god's victories than before All his panthers, and the brawls Of his piping Bacchanals. These, as stale, we disallow, Or judge of thee meant: only thou
Witch, Hyena, Mermaid, Devil,
His true Indian conquest art;
Ethiop, Wench, and Blackamoor,