Sidor som bilder
PDF

are there wanting frequent falls of water, with the most pure and crystal springs, sweet to drink, and wholesome to the bather. The thrush, the wood lark, and the nightingale, procreate in the thickets, and with their songs shorten the way, and soothe the ears of the traveller; who finds, in every path, arbors and grottos, and seats of repose. The Peneus still continues through the vale, idly, as it were, and with a glassy smoothness; while the depending boughs which crowd over its surface, yield an almost constant shade to those who navigate the river.” In the vale of Tempe, Ford has laid the scene of a contest between a nightingale and a lutanist; finely imitated from a passage in Strada's Prolusions.

“Passing from Italy to Greece, the tales,
Which poets of an elder time have feigned,
To glorify their Tempe, bred in me
Desire of visiting that paradise.
To Thessaly I came; and living private,
I day by day frequented silent groves,
And solitary walks. One morning early
This accident encounter'd me. I heard
The sweetest and most ravishing contention,
That art and nature ever were at strife at.”

This contest was begun by a nightingale, who, chancing to hear a lutanist play several airs, upon his lute, endeavored to surpass them. In this attempt, however, the unfortunate bird failed : on which—

&g Down dropt she on the lute,
And broke her heart!”

POETIC PIECEs.

ON TIME.

MOV*D by a strange mysterious power,
That hastes along the rapid hour,
I touch the deep ton’d string.
E’en now I see his wither'd face,
Beneath yon tower's mouldering base,
Where mossy vestments cling.

Dark roll’d his cheerless eye around,
Severe his grisly visage frown'd,
No locks his head array'd,
He grasp?d a hero's antique bust,
The marble crumbled into dust,
And sunk amidst the shade.

Malignant triumph fill’d his eyes,
“See hapless mortals, see,” he cries,
“How vain your idle schemes.
Beneath my grasp, the fairest form,
Dissolves and mingles with the worm,
Thus vanish mortal dreams.

The works of God! and man I spoil,
The proudest proof of human toil,
I treat as childish toys.
I crush the noble and the brave,
Beauty Imar, and in the grave
I bury human joys.”

Hold! ruthless phantom—hold! I cried, If thou canst mock the dreams of pride, And meaner hopes devour, Virtue! beyond thy reach shall bloom, When other charms sink to the tomb, She scorns thy envious power.

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

Not a drum was heard nor a funeral note,
As his corse o'er the rampart we hurried,

Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot,
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.

We buried him darkly at dead of night,
The sod with our bayonets turning,

By the trembling moon-beams’ misty light,
And our lantern dimly burning.

No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Nor in sheet nor in shroud we bound him,

But like a warrior taking his rest, -
His martial cloak wrapt around him.

Few and short were the prayers we said,
We spoke not a word of sorrow,

But steadfastly gaz'd on the face of the dead,
And bitterly thought of the morrow.

We thought as we hollowed his narrow bed,
And smooth'd down his lowly pillow,

That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
And we, far away o'er the billow.

Lightly they’ll speak of the spirit that’s gone,
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him;
But little he’ll reck if they let him sleep on

In the grave where his comrades have laid him.

Not the half of our heavy task was done,
When the bell toll'd the hour for retiring,

And we knew by the distant random gun,
That the foe was then suddenly firing.

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame, fresh and gory,

We carv'd not a line, we raised not a stone,
But left him alone—with his glory.

THE SAILOR-BOY S DREAM.

In slumbers of midnight the sailor-boy lay, His hammock swung loose at the sport of the wind: But, watchworn and weary, his eares flew away, And visions of happiness danc'd o'er his mind. He dreamt of his home, of his dear native bow’rs, And pleasures that waited on life's merry morn; While Memory stood sideways, half cover'd with flow’rs, And displayed ev'ry rose, but secreted its thorn. Then fancy her magical pinions spread wide, And bade the young dreamer in ecstacy rise, Now far, far behind him the green waters glide, And the cot of his forefathers blesses his eyes: The jessamine clambers, in flow'r, o'er the thatch, And the swallow sings sweet from her nest in the wall, All trembling with transport, he raises the lateh, And the voices of lov’d ones reply to his call; A Father bends o'er him with looks of delight— His cheek is impearl’d with a mother’s warm tear; And the lips of the boy in a love-kiss unite With the lips of the maid whom his bosom holds dear. The heart of the sleeper beats high in his breast, Joy quickens his pulse—all his hardships seem o'er, And a murmur of happiness steals through his rest— “Kind fate thou hast blest me—I ask for no more.” Ah! whence is that flame which now bursts on his eye? Ah! what is that sound which now larums his ear? 'Tis the lightning’s red glare painting hell on the sky,+ 'Tis the crashing of thunders, the groan of the sphere. He springs from his hammock—he flies to the deck, Amazement confronts him with images dire; Wild winds and waves drive the vessel a wreck, The masts fly in splinters, the shrouds are on fire. Like mountains the billows tremendously swell: In vain the lost wretch calls on Mercy to save, Unseen hands of spirits are ringing his knell, And the death-angel flaps his broad wing o'er the wave.

Oh! sailor-boy, woe to thy dream of delight, In darkness dissolves the gay frost-work of bliss. Where now is the picture that Fancy touch'd bright— Thy parents' fond pressure, and love's honied kiss? o Oh, sailor-boy! sailor-boy! never again Shall home, love, or kindred thy wishes repay ! Unblest and unhonor’d, down deep in the main, Full many a score fathom thy frame shall decay: No tomb shall e'er plead to remembrance for thee, Or redeem form or fame from the merciless surge; But the white foam of waves shall thy winding sheet be, And winds in the midnight of winter thy dirge; On beds of green sea flow’rs thy limbs shall be laid, Around thy white bones the red coral shall grow; Of thy fair yellow locks threads of amber be made; And ev'ry part suit to thy mansion below. Days, months, years, and ages shall circle away, And still the vast waters above thee shall roll, Earth loses thy pattern for ever and aye :— Oh, sailor-boy! sailor-boy!—peace to thy soul!

ANGLING.

The south wind is breathing most sweetly to-day,
The sunshine is veil'd in a mantle of gray,
The Spring rains are past, and the streams leap along,
Not brimming nor shrunken, with sparkle and song;
'Tis the month lov’d by anglers—'tis beautiful June 1–
Away then, away then, to bright Callikoon!

A narrow wild path through the forest is here,
With light tiny hoof-prints, the trail of the deer!
Beside and above us, what splendor of green!
The eye can scarce pierce the dense branches between.
How lightly this moss-hillock yields to the foot!
How gnarl’d is yon bough, and how twisted that root!
What white and pink clusters the laurel hangs out,
The air one deep hum from the bees all about!
The chesnut—’tis gala day with her—behold
Her leaves nearly cover'd with plumage of gold!
Whilst thick in the depths of the coverts below,
The blackberry blossoms are scattered like snow.
High up, the brown thresher is tuning her lay,
The red crested woodpecker hammers away,
The caw of the crow echoes hoarse from the tops,
The horn of the locust swells shrilly and stops,
While knots of bright butterflies flutter around,
And seeks the strip’d squirrel his cave in the ground.

[ocr errors][graphic]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »