Sidor som bilder
PDF
[ocr errors]

The Rev. GeoRGE CRoly was born in Ireland, I believe in 1786, and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated with a high reputation for abilities and scholarship. Soon after receiving the degree of Master of Arts, he entered holy orders and was appointed rector of a parish in the diocess of Meath. He remained here until the commencement of the war in Spain, when he went to London with a view to visit the Peninsula. The peace of 1815, however, induced a change of his intentions, and he directed his course through Germany to Paris, where he wrote the larger portion of his first considerable work, Paris in 1815, which was published on his return to England, and received with unusual applause, though its appearance was

in the most brilliant period of modern English:

literature, the period in which By RoN, SHELLEY, and the other great poets of the century, were in turn enchaining the admiration of mankind. He subsequently wrote a second part to this poem, and The Angel of the World, Catiline, a Tragedy, Sebastian a Spanish Tale, and numerous fugitive pieces, which were published collectively by Colburn in 1830. The Angel of the World is founded on one of the fictions of the Koran. It is one of the most carefully finished of CRoly's poems, and is given, without abridgment, in this volume. Sebastian is a fine romantic sketch, but in execution is unequal to his other works. I do not know whether Catiline has ever been presented on the stage; probably it has not, though it seems to me better fitted for representation than many very successful pieces. The conspirator had, according to Cicero, “a multitude, not perhaps so much of virtues, as of approaches to virtues. He was the most extraordinary contradiction on earth; a compound of all opposite qualities. Who could stand higher with honourable men at one time ! or, at another, who was more implicated with the worst He had a wonderful power of bending individuals to his interests; no man could exhibit more zeal; none be more liberal of his public credit, his purse, and, when darker occasions called for it, his whole inven

tion in evil. Austere with the rigid, gay with the gay, grave with the grave, ardent with the young, bold with the bold, and sumptuous with the prodigal : by this singular flexibility and variety of powers he collected around him men of all descriptions, the daring and dissolute, and, at the same time, many of the manly and estimable.” CroLy follows Cicero in this estimate of his hero, and thus avoids a resemblance to Jonson, CREBILLON, Wolt AiRE, and other poets who have made the Catilinian conspiracy the subject of tragedies, and adopted the sketch by SALLust. Whatever may be the merits of Catiline as a play, it is an admirable poem, and would alone have entitled its author to a high rank among his contemporaries. CRoly has a remarkable splendour of language; he is stately, dignified, and affluent in imagery; but sometimes, from condensation and inversions, obscure; and he is deficient in simplicity and tenderness, which is doubtless the principal reason why his works are so little read. He is not less distinguished as a prose writer than as a poet. His Salathiel, a Story of the Past, the Present, and the Future, has hardly been surpassed in energy, pathos, or dramatic interest, by any romance of the time; and his Tales of the Great St. Bernard were nearly as attractive and popular. Besides these, he has published a Life of George the Fourth, The Year of Liberation, The Providence of God in the Latter Days, being a New Interpretation of the Apocalypse of St. John, Speeches, and other works in theology, in criticism, and in history, which are in their respective departments original, powerful, and peculiar. Dr. CRoly has been actively engaged in the discharge of his professional duties most of the time since his return from the Continent. When Lord BRougiiAM was made chancellor he presented him one of the livings in the gift of the crown, and, in 1835, Lord Lyndhurst gave him the rectory of St. Stephens, London, in which he still remains. The degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon him by Trinity College, Dublin.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Sheeted with colours like an Indian mail, A tapestry sweet of all sun-painted flowers, Balsam, and clove, and jasmines scented showers, And the red glory of the Persian rose, Spreading in league on league around the towers, Where, loved of Heaven, and hated of its foes, The queen of cities shines, in calm and proud repose.

And still he gazed—and saw not that the eve
Was fading into night. A sudden thought
Struck to his dreaming heart, that made it heave;
Was he not there in Paradise —that spot,
Was it not lovely as the lofty vault
That rose above him In his native skies,
Could he be happy till his soul forgot,
Oh! how forget, the being whom his eyes

Loved as their light of light ! He heard a tempest

rise—

Was it a dream 1 the vale at once was bare,
And o'er it hung a broad and sulphurous cloud:
The soil grew red and rifled with its glare;
Down to their roots the mountain cedars bow’d ;
Along the ground a rapid vapour flow'd,
Yellow and pale, thick seam'd with streaks of flame.
Before it sprang the vulture from the shroud;
The lion bounded from it scared and tame;

Behind it, darkening heaven, the mighty whirl

wind came.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

And with their beauty figured all the stone In characters of mystery and might, A more than mortal guard around the throne, That in their tender shade one glorious diamond shone.

And every bud round pedestal and plinth, As fell the evening, turn’d a living gem. Lighted its purple lamp the hyacinth, The dahlia pour'd its thousand-colour'd gleam, A ruby torch the wondering eye might deem Hung on the brow of some night-watching tower, Where upwards climb'd the broad magnolia's stem. An urn of lovely lustre every flower, Burning before the king of that illumined bower.

And nestling in that arbour's leafy twine, From cedar's top to violet's lowly bell, Were birds, now hush'd, of plumage all divine, That, as the quivering radiance on them fell, Shot back such hues as stain the orient shell, Touching the deep, green shades with light from eyes Jacinth, and jet, and blazing carbuncle, And gold-dropt coronets, and wings of dyes Bathed in the living streams of their own Paradise.

The angel knew the warning of that storm; But saw the shuddering minstrel's step draw near, And felt the whole deep witchery of her form; Her sigh was music's echo to his ear; He loved—and what has love to do with fear? Now night had droop'd on earth her raven wing, But in the arbour all was splendour clear; And, like twin spirits in its charmed ring, Shone that sweet child of earth and that stardiadem'd king. For, whether 'twas the light's unusual glow, Or that some dazzling change had on her come; Her look, though lovely still, was loftier now, Her tender cheek was flush'd with brighter bloom; Yet in her azure eyebeam gather'd gloom, Like evening's clouds across its own blue star, Then would a sudden flash its depths illume; And wore she but the wing and gemm'd tiar, She seem'd instinct with might to make the clouds her car. She slowly raised her arm, that, bright as snow, Gleam'd like a rising meteor through the air, Shedding white lustre on her turban'd brow; And gazed on heaven, as wrapt in solemn prayer; She still look'd woman, yet more proudly fair; And as she stood and pointed to the sky, With that fix’d look of loveliness and care, The angel thought, and check'd it with a sigh, He saw some spirit fallen from immortality.

The silent prayer was done; and now she moved
Faint to his footstool, and, upon her knee,
Besought her lord, if in his heaven they loved,
That, as she never more his face must see,
She there might pledge her heart's fidelity.
Then turn'd, and pluck'd a cluster from the vine,
And o'er a chalice waved it, with a sigh,
Then stoop'd the crystal cup before the shrine.
In wrath the angel rose—the guilty draught was
wine !

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »