« VorigeDoorgaan »
To search into itself,—and long commune
The murmurous bliss of lovers, underneath With this eternal silence;- more a god,
Dim grape-vine bowers, whose rosy bunches press In my long-suffering and strength to meet
Not half so closely their warm cheeks, unchecked With equal front the direst shasts of fate,
By thoughts of thy brute lust, -the hive.like hum Than thou in thy faint-hearted despotism,
Of peaceful commonwealths, where sunburnt Toil Girt with thy baby-toys of furce and wrath. Reaps for itself the rich earth made its own Yes, I am that Prometheus who brought down By its own labor, lightened with glad hymns The light to man, which thou, in selfish fear, To an omnipotence which thy mad bolts Had'st to thyself usurped,- his by sole right, Would cope with as a spark with the vast sea, For Man hath right to all save Tyranny,–
Even the spirit of free love and peace, And which shall free him yet from thy frail throne. Duty's sure recompense through life and death, Tyrants are but the spawn of Ignorance,
These are such harvests as all master-spirits Begotten by the slaves they trample on,
Reap, haply not on earth, but reap no less Who, could they win a glimmer of the light, Because the sheaves are bound by hands not theirs ; And see that Tyranny is always weakness, These are the bloodless daggers wherewithal Or Fear with its own bosom ill at ease,
They stab fallen tyrants; this their high revenge: Would laugh away in scorn the sand-wove chain For their best part of life on earth is when, Which their own blindness seigned for adamant. Long after death, prisoned and pent no more, Wrong ever builds on quicksands, but the Right Their thoughts, their wild dreams even, have become To the firm centre lays its moveless base.
Part of the necessary air men breathe; The tyrant trembles, if the air but stirs
When, like the moon, herself bebind a cloud, The innocent ringlets of a child's free hair,
They shed down light before us on life's sea, And crouches, when the thought of some great spirit, That cheers us to steer onward still in hope. With world-wide murmur, like a rising gale, Earth with her twining memories ivies o'er Over men's bearts, as over standing corn,
Their holy sepulchres; the chainless sea, Rushes, and bends them to its own strong will. In tempest or wide calm, repeats their thoughts; So shall some thought of mine yet circle earth, The lightning and the thunder, all free things, And puff away thy crumbling altars, Jove!
Have legends of them for the ears of men.
All other glories are as falling stars,
Such strength is won by love of human kind,
Not that I feel that hunger after fame,
But that the memory of noble deeds A sorrow-taught, unconquered Titan-heart.
Cries, shame upon the idle and the vile, Men, when their death is on them, seen to stand And keeps the heart of Man for ever up On a precipitous crag that overhangs
To the heroic level of old time. The abyss of doom, and in that depth to see, To be forgot at first is little pain As in a glass, the features dim and vast
To a heart conscious of such high intent Of things to come, the shadows, as it seems, As must be deathless on the lips of men; Of what have been. Death ever fronts the wise ; But, having been a name, to sink and be Not fearfully, but with clear promises
A something which the world can do without, Of larger life, on whose broad vans upborne, Which, having been or not, would never change Their out-look widens, and they see beyond The lightest pulse of fate,—this is indeed The horizon of the Present and the Past,
A cup of bitterness the worst to taste, Even to the very source and end of things.
And this thy heart shall empty to the dregs. Such am I now: immortal woe hath made
Endless despair sball be thy Caucasus, My heart a seer, and my soul a judge
And memory thy vulture; thou wilt find Between the substance and the shadow of Truth. Oblivion far lonelier than this peak,The sure supremeness of the Beautiful,
Behold thy destiny! Tbou think'st it much By all the martyrdoms made doubly sure
That I should brave thee, miserable god! Of such as I am, this is my revenge,
But I have braved a mightier than thou,
A god among my brethren weak and blind, -
Thebungling workmanship of fear, the block But, O thought far more blissful, they can rend
This cloud of flesh, and make my soul a star!
Unleash thy crouching thunders now, 0 Jove! With watching from the dım verge of the time Free this high heart, which, a poor captive long, What things to be are visible in the gleams
Doth knock to be let forth, this heart which still
Beholding with a far-spread gush of hope
But straightway like a god he is uplift
Unto the throne long empty for his sake, Shall be a power and a memory,
And clearly oft foreshadowed in wide dreams A name to fright all tyrants with, a light
By his free inward nature, which nor thou, Unsetting as the pole-star, a great voice
Nor any anarch after thee, can bind Heard in the breathless pauses of the fight
From working its great doom,- now, now set free By truth and freedom ever waged with wrong,
This essence, not to die, but to become Clear as a silver trumpet, to awake
Part of that awful Presence which doth haunt Huge echoes that from age to age live on
The palaces of tyrants, to hunt off,
With its grim eyes and fearful whisperings
All hope of safety, all desire of peace,
All but the loathed forefeeling of blank death,Wrong with endurance, and to overcome
Part of that spirit which doth ever brood The present with a heart that looks beyond,
In patient calm on the unpilfered nest Are triumph), like a prophet eagle, perch
Of man's deep heart, till mighty thoughts grow fledged Upon the sacred banner of the Right.
To sail with darkening shadow o'er the world, Evil springs up, and flowers, and bears no seed,
Filling with dread such souls as dare not trust And feeds the green earth with its swift decay, In the unfailing energy of Good, Leaving it richer for the growth of truth;
Until they swoop, and their pale quarry make Bnt Good, once put in action or in thought,
Of some o'erbloated wrong,--that spirit which Like a strong oak, doth from its boughs shed down
Scatters great hopes in the seed field of man, The ripe germs of a forest. Thou, weak god,
Like acorns among grain, to grow and be
A roof for freedom in all coming time!
But this cannot be; for ages yet,
On either side storming the giant walls
My brethren, scaling the high seat of Jove, That wait on freedom's triumphs, and in all Heaved Pelion upon Ossa's shoulders broad The glorious agonies of martyr-spirits,
In vain emprise. The moon will come and go Sharp lightning-throes to split the jagged clouds With her monotonous vicissitude; That veil the future, showing them the end, - Once beautiful, when I was free to walk Pain's thorny crown for constancy and truth, Among my fellows, and to interchange Girding the temples like a wreath of stars. The influence benign of loving eyes, This is a thought, that, like the fabled laurel, But now by aged use grown wearisome; – Makes my faith thunder-proof; and thy dread bolts False thought! most false! for how could I endure Fall on me like the silent flakes of snow
These crawling centuries of lonely woe On the hoar brows of aged Caucasus :
Unshamed by weak complaining, but for thee
Loneliest, save me, of all created things,
FROM LONGFELLOW'S HYPERION. Mild-eyed Astarte, my best comforter,
And yet, if you look closely at the causes of With thy pale smile of sad benignity?
these calamities of authors, you will find, that many Year after year will pass away and seem
of them spring from false and exaggerated ideas of To me, in mine eternal agony,
poetry and the poetic character; and from disdain But as the shadows of dumb summer-clouds,
of common sense, upon which all character, worth Which I have watched so often darkening o'er
having, is founded. This comes from keeping aloof The vast Sarmatian plain, league-wide at first,
from the world, apart from our sellow-men; dis. But, with still swiftness, lessening on and on
dainful of society, as frivolous By too much sitTill cloud and shadow meet and mingle where
ting still the body becomes unhealthy; and soon the
mind. This is nature's law. She will never see The gray horizon fades into the sky, Far, far to northward. Yes, for ages yet
her children wronged. If the mind, which rules Must I lie here upon my altar huge,
the body, ever forgets itself so far as to trample A sacrifice for man. Sorrow will be,
upon its slave, the slave is never generous enough As it hath been, his portion; endless doom,
to forgive the injury; but will rise and smite its While the immortal with the mortal linked
oppressor. 'l hus has many a monarch niind been
dethroned. Dreams of its wings and pines for wbat it dreams, With upward yearn unceasing. Better so:
LITERARY FAME. For wisdom is meek sorrow's patient child,
Time has a Doomsday.Book, upon whose pages And empire over self, and all the deep
he is continually recording illustrious names. But, Strong charities that make men seem like gods; And love, that makes them be gods, from her breasts as often as a new name is written there, an old one
disappears. Only a few stand in illuminated chaSucks in the milk that makes mankind one blood.
racters, never to be effaced. These are the high Good never comes unmixed, or so it seems,
nobility of Nature,-Lords of the Public Domain of Having two faces, as some images
Thought. Posterity shall never question their titles. Are carved, of foolish gods; one face is ill;
But those, whose fame lives only in the indiscreet But one heart lies beneath, and that is good,
opinion of unwise men, must soon be as well for. As are all hearts, when we explore their depths.
gotten, as if they had never been. To this great Therefore, great heart, bear up! thou art but type
oblivion must most men come. It is better, there. Of what all lofty spirits endure, that fain Would win men back to strength and peace through this: well knowing, that, as their bodies must ere
sore, that they should suon make up their minds to love :
long be resolved into dust again, and their graves Each hath his lonely peak, and on each heart
tell no tales of them; so must their names likewise Envy, or scorn, or hatred, tears lifelong
be utterly forgotten, and their most cherished With vulture beak; yet the high soul is left; And faith, which is but hope grown wise; and love; individual being among men; but be resolved and in
thoughts, purposes, and opinions have no longer an And patience, which at last shall overcome.
corporated into the universe of thought. If, then, the imagination can trace the noble dust of heroes, till we find it stopping a beer-barrel, and know that
Imperial Cæsar, dead and turned to clay,
May stop a hole to keep the wind away;"
not less can it trace the noble thoughts of great men,
of conversation, and used to stop men's mouths, and Hope in the young heart springeth
patch up theories, to keep out the flaws of opinion. As flowers in the infant year;
Such, for example, are all popular adages and wise Hope in the young heart singeth,
proverbs, which are now resolved into the common As birds when the flowers appear.
mass of thought; their authors forgotten, and having Hope in the old heart dieth,
no more an individual being among men. As wither those early flowers;
It is better, therefore, that men should soon make Hope from the old heart flieth,
up their minds to be forgotten, and look about them, As the birds from wintry bowers.
or within them, for some higher motive, in what
they do, than the approbation of men, which is But Spring will revive the flowers;
Fame; namely, their duty; that they should be conAnd the birds return to sing ;
stantly and quietly at work, each in his sphere, re. And Death will renew Hope's powers gardless of effects, and leaving their fame to take In the old heart withering.
I care of itself. Difficult must this indeed be, in our
BY RICHARD PENN SMITH.
imperfection; impossible perhaps to achieve it dark, gray city. Oh, they do greatly err, who wholly. Yet the resolute, the indomitable will of think, that the stars are all the poetry which cities man can achieve much, -at times even this victory have; and therefore that the poet's only dwelling over himself; being persuaded, that fame comes only should be in sylvan solitudes, under the green roof when deserved, and then is as inevitable as destiny, or trees. Beautiful, no doubt, are all the forms of for it is destiny.
Nature, when transfigured by the miraculous power It has become a common saying, that men of of poetry; hamlets and harvest-fields, and nut-brown genius are always in advance of their age; which is waters, flowing ever under the forest, vast and true. There is something equally true, yet not so shadowy, with all the sights and sounds of rural life. common; namely, that, of these men of genius, the But after all, what are these but the decorations and best and bravest are in advance not only of their painted scenery in the great theatre of human life? own age, but of every age. As the German prose. What are they but the coarse materials of the poet's poet says, every possible future is behind them. song ? Glorious indeed is the world of God around We cannot suppose, that a period of time will ever us, but more glorious the world of God within us. come, when the world, or any considerable portion There lies the Land of Song; there lies the poet's of it shall have come up abreast with these great native land. The river of life, that flows through minds, so as fully to comprehend them.
streets tumultuous, bearing along so many gallant And oh! how majestically they walk in history; hearts, so many wrecks of humanity :- the many some like the sun, with all his travelling glories homes and households, each a little world in itself, round him; others wrapped in gloom, yet glorious revolving round its fireside, as a central sun; all as a night with stars. Through the else silent forms of human joy and suffering, brought into that darkness of the past, the spirit hears their slow and narrow compass ;-—and to be in this and be a part of solemn footsteps. Onward they pass, like those this; acting, thinking, rejoicing, sorrowing, with hoary elders seen in the sublime vision of an earthly his fellow
men ;-such, such should be the poet's Paradise, attendant angels bearing golden lights be life. If he would describe the world, he should live fore them, and, above and behind, the whole air paint in the world. The mind of the scholar, also, if you ed with seven listed colors, as from the trail of pencils! would have it large and liberal, should come in con
And yet, on earth, these men were not happy,– tact with other minds. It is better that his armour not all happy, in the outward circumstance of their should be somewhat bruised even by rude enlives. They were in wa'nt, and in pain, and fa- counters, than hang forever rusting on the wall. miliar with prison-bars, and the damp, weeping Nor will his themes be few or trivial, because apwalls of dungeons! Oh, I have looked with wonder parently shut in between the walls of houses, and upon those, who, in sorrow and privation, and bodily having merely the decorations of street scenery. A discomfort, and sickness, which is the shadow of ruined character is as picturesque as a ruined castle. death, have worked right on to the accomplishment There are dark abysses and yawning gulfs in the of their great purposes ; toiling much, enduring human heart, which can be rendered passable only much, fulfilling much;—and then, with shattered by bridging them over with iron nerves and sinews, nerves, and sinews all unstrung, have laid them- as Challey bridged the Savine in Switzerland, and selves down in the grave, and slept the sleep of Telford the sea between Anglesea and England, with death,--and the world talks of them, while they sleep! chain bridges. These are the great themes of huIt would seem, indeed, as if all their sufferings
man thought; not green grass, and flowers, and had but sanctified them! As if the death-angel, in moonshine. Besides, the mere external forms of passing, had touched them with the hem of his
Nature we make our own, and carry with us into
gar. ment, and made them holy! As if the hand of dis. the city, by the power of memory. ease had been stretched out over them only to make
I fear, however, interrupted Flemming, that the sign of the cross upon'their souls! And as in in cities the soul of man grows proud. He needs at the sun's eclipse we can behold the great stars times to be sent forth, like the Assyrian monarch, shining in the heavens, so in this life-eclipse have into green fields, “a wonderous wretch and weed. these men beheld the lights of the great eternity, less,' to eat green herbs, and be wakened and chas. burning solemnly and for ever!
tised by the rain-shower and winter's bitter weather.
Moreover, in cities there is danger of the soul's beTHE SCHOLAR'S HOME.
coming wed to pleasure, and forgetful of its high But to resume our old theme of scholars and vocation. There have been souls dedicated to heatheir whereabout,
where should the ven from childhood and guarded by good angels as scholar live? In solitude or in society? In the sweet seclusions for holy thoughts, and prayers, and green stillness of the country, where he can hear all good purposes; wherein pious wishes dwelt like the heart of nature beat, or in the dark, gray city, nuns, and every image was a saint ; and yet in life's where he can hear and feel the throbbing heart of vicissitudes, by the treachery of occasion, by the man? I will make answer for him, and say, in the thronging passions of great cities, have become
soiled and sinful. They resemble those convents of the state and age, and could say with Wallenstein' on the river Rhine, which have been changed to
Our life was but a battle and a march; taverns; from whose chambers the pious inmates And, like the wind's blast, never resting, homeless,
We stormed across the war-convulsed earth.' have long departed, and in whose cloisters the footsteps of travellers have effaced the images of buried Of such examples history has recorded many; Dante, saints, and whose walls are written over with ribaldry Cervantes, Byron, and others; men of iron; men and the names of strangers, and resound no more with who have dared to breast the strong breath of public holy hymns, but with revelry and loud voices. opinion, and, like spectre-ships, come sailing right
Both town and country have their dangers, said against the wind. Others have been puffed out by the Baron; and therefore, wherever the scholar the first adverse wind that blew; disgraced and sorlives, he must never forget his high vocation. Other rowful, because they could not please others. Truly artists give themselves up wholly to the study of the tears live in an onion, that should water such their art. It becomes with them almost religion. For a sorrow.' Had they been men, they would have the most part, and in their youth, at least, they dwell made these disappointments their best friends, and in lands, where the whole atmosphere of the soul is learned from them the needful lesson of self-rebeauty; laden with it as the air may be with vapor, liance. till their very nature is saturated with the genius of To confess the truth, added the Baron, the their art. Such, for example, is the artist's life in lives of literary men, with their hopes and disapItaly.
pointments, and quarrels and calamities, present I agree with you, exclaimed Flemming; and a melancholy picture of man's strength and weaksuch should be the Poet's everywhere; for he has his ness. On that very account the scholar can make Rome, his Florence, his whole glowing Italy within them profitable for encouragement,-consolation,the four walls of his library. He has in his books warning. the ruins of an antique world,-and the glories of a And after all, continued Flemming, perhaps modern one,-his Apollo and Transfiguration. He the greatest lesson, which the lives of literary men must neither forget nor undervalue his vocation; but teach us, is told in a single word; Wait! Every thank God that he is a poet; and everywhere be true man must patiently bide his time. He must wait. to himself, and to the ion and the faculty divine' More particularly in lands, like my native land, he feels within him.
where the pulse of life beats with such feverish and But, at any rate, a city life is most eventful, impatient throbs, is the lesson needsul. Our national continued the Baron. The men who make, or character wants the dignity of repose. We seem to take, the lives of poets and scholars, always com- live in the midst of a battle, there is such a din,plain that these lives are barren of incidents. Hardly such a hurrying to and fro. In the streets of a a literary biography begins without some such crowded city it is difficult to walk slowly. You feel apology, unwisely made. I confess, however, that the rushing of the crowd, and rush with it onward. it is not made without some show of truth; if, by | In the press of our life it is difficult to be calm. In incidents, we mean only those startling events, this stress of wind and tide, all professions seem to which suddenly turn aside the stream of Time, and drag their anchors, and are swept out into the main. change the world's history in an hour. There is The voices of the Present say, Come! But the certainly a uniformity, pleasing or unpleasing, in voices of the Past say, Wait! With calm and soliterary life, which for the most part makes to-day lemn footsteps the rising tide bears against the rush. seem twin-born with yesterday. But if, by inci- ing torrent up stream, and pushes back the hurrying dents, you mean events in the history of the human waters. With no less calm and solemn footsteps. mind, (and why not?) noiseless events, that do not nor less certainly, does a great mind bear up against scar the forehead of the world as battles do, yet public opinion, and push back its hurrying stream. change it not the less, then surely the lives of lite. Therefore should every man wait;-should bide his rary men are most eventful. The complaint and time. Not in listless idleness,—not in useless pasthe apology are both foolish. I do not see why a time,-not in querulous dejection; but in constant successful book is not as great an event as a success steady, cheerful endeavours, always willing and ful. sul campaign; only different in kind, and not easily filling, and accomplishing his task, that, when the compared
occasion comes, he may be equal to the occasion. Indeed, interrupted Flemming, in no sense is And if it never comes, what matters it? What mat. the complaint strictly true, though at times ap- ters it to the world whether I, or you, or another parently so. Events enough there are, were they all man did such a deed, or wrote such a book, so beit set down. A lise, that is worth writing at all, is the deed and book were well done! It is the past worth writing minutely. Besides, all literary men of an indiscreet and troublesome ambition, to care have not lived in silence and solitude ;-not all in too much about fame,-about what the world says stillness, not all in shadow. For many have lived of us. To be always looking into the faces of others in troubled times, in the rude and adverse fortunes ) for approval ;-to be always anxious for the effect