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FUNERAL OF CHARLES THE FIRST,” AT NIGHT, IN ST. GEorge's chapel, windsor.
The castle clock had toll'd midnight—
And silent, by the torches' light,
The coffin bore his name, that those Of other years might know,
When earth its secret should disclose, Whose bones were laid below.
“Peace to the dead” no children sung,
A moonbeam, from the arches' height,
The long aisles started into light,
We thought we saw the banners then, That shook along the walls,
While the sad shades of mailed men, Were gazing from the stalls.
'Tis gone again, on tombs defaced,
I shall look back, when on the main,_
And almost think I hear again
But many days may pass away
Amid the young, the fair, the gay,+
* In the account of the burial of the king in Windsor Castle by Sir Thomas Herbert, the spot where the body was laid is described minutely, opposite the eleventh stall. The whole account is singularly impressive ; but it is extraordinary it should ever have been supposed that the place of interment was unknown, when this description existed. At the late accidental disinterment, some of his hair was cut off. Soon after, the following lines were written, which I now set before the reader for the first time.
'Twas morn, and beauteous on the mountain's brow
How sweet the tuneful bells responsive peal!
IF chance some pensive stranger hither led,
MR. Rogers was born in London in 1762. On the completion of his university education, he resided a considerable period on the contiment, but nearly all his life has been passed in his native city. He is a banker, and a man of liberal fortune; and among those who know him he is scarcely more distinguished as a poet than for the elegance and amenity of his manners, his knowledge of literature and the arts, and his brilliant conversation. In his youth he was the companion of WyndHAM, Fox, and Sherida N, and in later years he has enjoyed the friendship of ByRoN, MooRE, Southey, Wordsworth, and nearly all the great authors and other eminent persons who have been his contemporaries in England.
Mr. Rogers commenced his career as an author with an Ode to Superstition, which was written in his twenty-fifth year. This was succeeded, in 1792, by The Pleasures of Memory, which was received with extraordinary favour by the critics. It had been kept the Horatian period, and revised and rewritten until it could receive no further advantage from labour, guided by the nicest taste and judgment. In 1778 he published An Epistle to a Friend and other Poems, in 1812 The Voyage of Columbus, in 1814 Jaqueline, in 1819 Human Life, and in 1822 the last, longest, and best of his productions, Italy.
Lord Bacon describes poetry as “having something of divineness, because it doth raise and erect the mind, by submitting the shows of things to the desires of the mind; whereas reason doth buckle and bow the mind to the nature of things.” This is perhaps the most philosophical description that has been given of true poetry. There have been some poets, as CRAbbe and ELLiott, whose verse has reflected actual life; but they only who have conformed “the shows of things to the desires of the mind,” can look with much confidence for immortality. It is a long time since Rogers made his first appearance before the world as an author, yet his reputation has probably suffered less decay than that of any of his contemporaries. This is not because he possesse, he higher qualities of the poet in a
more eminent degree than they, but because he is more than any other the poet of taste, and is guided by the sense of beauty rather than by the convictions of reason. Poetry is in some sort an art, though Vida was forced to admit the inefficiency of all rules if the ingenia were wanting. If a man be by nature a poet, he must still have much cultivation before he will be able to fulfil his mission. There has never yet been an “uneducated” verse-maker whose works were worth reading a second time. But mere education, or education joined with a philosophic mind and some degree of taste, cannot make a great poet, as one illustrious example in our times will show. Rogers has not much imagination, not much of the creative faculty, and he lacks sometimes energy and sometimes tenderness, yet he has taste and genuine simplicity: not the caricature of it for which the present laureate is distinguished, but such simplicity as Cowper had, and BURNs. His subjects are all happily chosen; and a true poet proves the possession of the divine faculty almost as much in the selection of his themes as in their treatment. His poetry is always pleasing; its freedom and harmony, its refined sentiment, its purity, charm us before we are aware, and we involuntarily place it among our treasures.
Though less read than The Pleasures of Memory, Italy is the best poem Mr. Rogers has produced. It was published anonymously, and was so different from his previous works that its authorship was an enigma to the critics. The several cantos are descriptive of particular scenes and events which interest a traveller over the Alps and through the northern parts of Italy. Some of these cantos are remarkably spirited and beautiful, as one may see by the extracts in this volume, entitled Venice, Ginevra, and Don Garzia.
Within a few years Mr. Rogers has published in two volumes, illustrated in the most beautiful manner by some of the first artists of England, his Complete Poetical Works. He is now in the eighty-third year of his age, and the oldest of the living poets of his country.
AN EPISTLE TO A FRIEND.
When, with a Reaumur's skill, thy curious mind Has class'd the insect tribes of human kind, Each with its busy hum, or gilded wing, Its subtle web-work, or its venom'd sting; Let me, to claim a few unvalued hours, Point the green lane that leads thro' fern and flowers; The shelter'd gate that opens to my field, And the white front through mingling elms reveal’d. In vain, alas, a village friend invites To simple comforts, and domestic rites, When the gay months of Carnival resume Their annual round of glitter and perfume; When London hails thee to its splendid mart, Its hives of sweets, and cabinets of art; And, lo! majestic as thy manly song, Flows the full tide of human life along. Still must my partial pencil love to dwell On the home prospects of my hermit cell; The mossy pales that skirt the orchard-green, Here hid by shrub-wood, there by glimpses seen; And the brown pathway, that, with careless flow, Sinks, and is lost among the trees below, Still must it trace (the flattering tints forgive) Each fleeting charm that bids the landscape live. Oft o'er the mead, at pleasing distance, pass— Browsing the hedge by fits, the pannier'd ass; The idling shepherd-boy, with rude delight, Whistling his dog to mark the pebble's flight; And in her kerchief blue the cottage-maid, With brimming pitcher from the shadowy glade. Far to the south a mountain vale retires, Rich in its groves, and glens, and village-spires; Its upland lawns, and cliffs with foliage hung, Its wizard-stream, nor nameless nor unsung: And through the various year, the various day, What scenes of glory burst, and melt away ! When April verdure springs in Grosvenor-square, And the furr'd beauty comes to winter there, She bids old Nature mar the plan no more; Yet still the seasons circle as before. Ah, still as soon the young Aurora plays, Tho' moons and flambeaux trail their broadestblaze; As soon the skylark pours his matin song, Though evening lingers at the mask so long. There let her strike with momentary ray, As tapers shine their little lives away; There let her practise from herself to steal, And look the happiness she does not feel; The ready smile and bidden blush employ At Faro-routs, that dazzle to destroy ; Fan with affected ease the essenced air, And lisp of fashions with unmeaning stare. Be thine to meditate an humbler flight, When morning fills the fields with rosy light; Be thine to blend, nor thine a vulgar aim, Repose with dignity, with quiet fame. Here no state-chambers in long line unfold, Bright with broad mirrors, rough with fretted gold; Yet modest ornament, with use combined, Attracts the eye to exercise the mind. squires, Small change of scene, small space his home reWho leads a life of satisfied desires. What tho’ no marble breathes, no canvas glows,
From every point a ray of genius flows : Be mine to bless the more mechanic skill, That stamps, renews, and multiplies at will: And cheaply circulates, through distant climes, The fairest relics of the purest times. Here from the mould to conscious being start Those finer forms, the miracles of art; Here chosen gems, imprest on sulphur, shine, That slept for ages in a second mine; And here the faithful graver dares to trace A Michael's grandeur, and a Raphael's grace! Thy gallery, Florence, gilds my humble walls, And my low roof the Vatican recalls : Soon as the morning dream my pillow flies, To waking sense what brighter visions rise! Oh mark again the coursers of the sun, At Guido's call, their round of glory run Again the rosy Hours resume their flight, Obscured and lost in floods of golden light! But could thine erring friend so long forget (Sweet source of pensive joy and fond regret) That here its warmest hues the pencil flings, Lo! here the lost restores, the absent brings; And still the few best loved and most revered Rise round the board their social smile endear'd. Selected shelves shall claim thy studious hours; There shall thy ranging mind be fed on flowers! There, while the shaded lamp's mild lustre streams, Read ancient books, or dream inspiring dreams; And, when a sage's bust arrests thee there, Pause, and his features with his thoughts compare. —Ah, most that art my grateful rapture calls, Which breathes a soul into the silent walls; Which gathers round the wise of every tongue, All on whose words departed nations hung; Still prompt to charm with many a converse sweet; Guides in the world, companions in retreat Though my thatch'd bath no rich Mosaic knows, A limpid spring with unfelt current flows. Emblem of life! which, still as we survey, Seems motionless, yet ever glides away ! The shadowy walls record, with attic art, The strength and beauty that its waves impart. Here Thetis, bending, with a mother's fears Dips her dear boy, whose pride restrains his tears. There, Venus, rising, shrinks with sweet surprise, As her fair self, reflected, seems to rise : Far from the joyless glare, the maddening strife, And all “ the dull impertinence of life,” These eyelids open to the rising ray, And close, when Nature bids, at close of day. Here, at the dawn, the kindling landscape glows; There noonday levees call from faint repose. Here the flush’d wave flings back the parting light; There glimmering lamps anticipate the night. When from his classic dreams the student steals, Amid the buzz of crowds, the whirl of wheels, To muse unnoticed—while around him press The meteor-forms of equipage and dress; Alone, in wonder lost, he seems to stand A very stranger in his native land' And (though perchance of current coin possest, And modern phrase by living lips exprest) Like those blest youths, forgive the fabling page, Whose blameless lives deceived a twilight age,
Spent in sweet slumbers; till the miner's spade
So, till the laughing scenes are lost in night,
ON THE DEATH OF A SISTER.
MAN is born to suffer. On the door Sickness has set her mark; and now no more Laughter within we hear, or wood-notes wild As of a mother singing to her child; All now in anguish from that room retire, Where a young cheek glows with consuming fire, And innocence breathes contagion—all but one, But she who gave it birth—from her alone The medicine cup is taken. Through the night, And through the day, that with its dreary light Comes unregarded, she sits silent by, Watching the changes with her anxious eye: While they without, listening below, above, Ç. but in sorrow know how much they love?) rom every little noise catch hope and fear, Exchanging still, still as they turn to hear, Whispers and sighs, and smiles all tenderness That would in vain the starting tear repress. Such grief was ours—it seems but yesterday— When in thy prime, wishing so much to stay, 'Twas thine, Maria, thine without a sigh At midnight in a sister's arms to die! Oh thou wert lovely—lovely was thy frame, And pure thy spirit as from Heaven it came 3 And, when recall'd to join the blest above, Thou died'st a victim to exceeding love, Nursing the young to health. In happier hours, When idle fancy wove luxuriant flowers, Once in thy mirth thou bad'st me write on thee; And now I write—what thou shalt never see :
THE PLEASURES OF MEMORY.
Twilight's soft dews steal o'er the village-green, With magic tints to harmonize the scene. Still'd is the hum that through the hamlet broke, When round the ruins of their ancient oak The peasants flock'd to hear the minstrel play, And games and carols closed the busy day. Her wheel at rest, the matron thrills no more With treasured tales, and legendary lore. All, all are fled; nor mirth nor music flows To chase the dreams of innocent repose. All, all are fled; yet still I linger here ! What secret charms this silent spot endear? Mark yon old mansion frowning through the trees, Whose hollow turret woos the whistling breeze. That casement, arch'd with ivy's brownest shade First to these eyes the light of heaven convey'd. The mouldering gateway strews the grass-grown court, Once the calm scene of many a simple sport; When nature pleased, for life itself was new, And the heart promised what the fancy drew. See, through the fractured pediment revealed, Where moss inlays the rudely-sculptured shield, The martin's old, hereditary nest. Long may the ruin spare its hallow'd guest' As jars the hinge, what sullen echoes call ! Oh, haste, unfold the hospitable hall ! That hall, where once, in antiquated state, The chair of justice held the grave debate. shung, Now stain'd with dews, with cobwebs darkly Oft has its roof with peals of rapture rung; When round yon ample board, in due degree, We sweeten’d every meal with social glee, The heart's light laugh pursued the circling jest; And all was sunshine in each little breast. 'Twas here we chased the slipper by the sound; And turn'd the blindfold hero round and round.
And fancy flutter'd on her wildest wing.
That massive beam, with curious carvings wrought,