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TO THE MOON.
That peace, how deep! this night of thousand stars, That hide themselves abash'd from the bold sun, But hang, all fondly, on thy gentler brow, How calm ' Yet not o'er calmer skies alone, Mild Moon! is thy dominion: Thou dost sway The very storm to obey thy peacefulness. When winds are piping, and the charged clouds, As if out-summon'd by that warlike music, First in black squadrons rush; then sternly muster In sullen mass, on either side the heaven, Like armies face to face, with space between ; 'Tis then Thou glidest forth; like some pale nun, Unhooded, whom a high and rare occasion Wrests from her sanctuary, to interpose In mortal quarrel, so thou glidest forth, And lookest thy mild bidding; and the winds Are silent; and those close-compacted clouds, Disbanding, fleet in tender flakes away, And leave the world to thy tranquillity. . . . And ne'er did dawn behold thee lovelier yet,
Than when we saw thee, one remember'd day, Thee and that brightest of all morning-stars, Hang o'er the Adrian; not in thy full lustre, But graceful with slim crescent; such as, erst, Some Arab chief beheld in his own sky
Of purest, deepest azure; and so loved it,
And thee, fair moon, the hallower of them all !
Was flung around o'er all those girding cliffs
ONE of the most remarkable men of the present age is EBENEzer Elliott, the “CornLaw Rhymer,” a poet whose productions are distinguished alike for boldness and origimality, a singular strength and purity of diction, and a warm sympathy with the oppressed masses. He is called “the bard of the people,” for whom he has written, on subjects of popular interest, and in words they all can understand. Like most men of moderate means and in humble life, EBENEzer ELLiott has felt the heavy and unequal pressure of the laws, especially of those commercial restrictions by which full twenty per cent. is added to the price of bread, turning the sweat of the poor into gold for the rich. As is commonly the case with men who devote their chief attention to some particular evil, he has doubtless magnified the importance of the bread-tax, and attributed to it more than a due share of the general suffering. I do not, however, well understand this subject; and it is enough for my present purpose to remark, that the “Poet of the Poor,” uniting with his more sacred functions those of the orator, has exercised in England a greater influence against the Corn Laws, whatever may be their true character, than any other person unconnected with the administration of public affairs. Of the history of ELLiott, more than is shown in his writings, I know but little. He was born at Masborough, near Sheffield, in 1781. His father was a Presbyterian, rigid and formal, without affection for the religious establishment or the government. Our poet, in his boyhood, had few companionships. He learned nothing with facility from books. He was thought too dull to profit by instruction, and his education was neglected. But he was quick to observe, and had an ardent love of nature. When he was about fifteen, a Cameronian clergyman bequeathed to his father a library containing many valuable works. With these, or with so many as were worth reading, he soon became familiar. He boasts that he has
deeply studied all the really good literature
of the language, and that he has never read to the end a worthless book. His mind and his style are fashioned by the great masters of thought and expression. harsh and coarse, but he is never careless. Efforts to be refined too often induce effeminacy. He has no such fault. He is an ardent, independent thinker, and he utters his opinions with force and directness, never discarding a word because it is too strong.
Among his longer poems, not included in this volume, are Spirits and Men, an antediluvian epic, They Met Again, Withered Wild Flowers, and several dramas. His dramatic pieces are not his best, though Bothwell, which I have quoted, is a fine fragment. One of his plays is entitled Kerhonah; the scene is in Connecticut, and among the dramatis personae are the regicides Ward and Goffe, and the learned and pious Eliot, well named “Apostle of the Indians,” who is introduced as the lover of some dusky princess. The poet should have better learned the missionary, whose character was one of the purest and sublimest in history.
Elliott was for a long time neglected. His subjects, like those of CRAbbe, whom in many ways he is like, are of a homely sort, emphatically human, such as, for some reason, the popular taste does not readily approve. He gives simple, earnest, and true echoes of the affections. His poems, aside from their political character, breathe the spirit of a kind of primitive life, unperverted, unhackneyed, and fresh as the dews on his own hawthorn. CARLYLE, Bulwer, and other critics, seeing in him incontestable signs of genius, at length handed him up to fame. Those who were most opposed to his politics, recognised him as a poet; society seemed to be ashamed of the indifference with which it had treated him; and his works rose rapidly in the popular estimation. He takes rank now among the first of the living poets of England.
Mr. Elliott is more than sixty years of age. He has been for many years a steel refiner and iron merchant at Sheffield, where he is much respected for his high qualities as a man,
He is sometimes
BOTHWELL.-A DRAMATIC POEM.
SCENE–Inside of a dungeon, in a fortress on the coast of Norway. Both well sleeping. Rh1 NvALT gazing through a barred window on the rocks, and stormy sea below.
Rhin. Splendour in heaven, and horror on the main Sunshine and storm at once—a troubled day. Clouds roll in brightness, and descend in rain. How the waves rush into the rocky bay, Shaking the eternal barriers of the land' And ocean's face is like a battle plain, Where giant demons combat hand to hand; While, as their voices sink and swell again, Peace, listening on the rainbow, bends in pain. Where is the voice, whose stillness man's heart hears, Like dream'd-of music, wordless, soft, and low ! The voice, which dries on sorrow's cheek her tears, Or, lest she perish, bids the current flow ! That voice the whirlwind in his rage reveres; It bids the blast a tranquil sabbath keep: Lonely as death, harmonious as the spheres, It whispers to the wildness of the deep, Till, calm as cradled babe, the billows sleep. Oh, careless of the tempest in his ire, Blush, ruby glow of western heaven' The hue of roses, steep'd in liquid fire, On ocean in his conflict with the blast, And quiver into darkness, and retire, And let wild day to calmest night subside; Let the tired sailor from his toil respire, The drench'd flag hang, unmoving, o'er the tide, And pillow'd on still clouds, the whirlwind ride! Then, Queen of Silence, robe thee, and arise, And, through the barr'd loop of this dungeon old, Visit, once more, its inmate's blasted eyes! Let him again, though late, thy light behold ! Soulless, not sightless, have his eyeballs roll'd, A like, in light and darkness, desolate. The storm beat on his heart—he felt no cold; Summer look'd on him, from heaven's fiery gate— Shivering, he scowl'd, and knew not that he scowl'd. Unweeping, yet perturb’d : his bed a stone; Bonds on his body—on his mind a spell: Ten years in solitude, (yet not alone.) And conscious only to the inward hell; Here hath it been his hideous lot to dwell. But heav'n can bid the spirit's gloom depart, Can chase from his torn soul the demon fell, And whispering, find a listener in his heart. Oh, let him weep again! then, tearless dwell, In his dark, narrow home, unrung by passing bell ! [A long pause. Loud thunder; and after an interval, thunder heard remote.] The storm has ceased. The sun is set; the trees Are fain to slumber; and, on ocean's breast, How softly, yet how solemnly, the breeze, With unperceived gradation, sinks to rest! No voice, no sound is on the ear impress'd; Twilight is weeping o'er the pensive rose; The stoat slumbers, coil'd up in his nest! The grosbeak on the owl's perch seeks repose;
And o'er the heights, behold ! a pale light glows.