Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

two years after Selina's marriage, her fortune of fifteen thousand pounds was dissipated. Feather after feather had long been falling from the jackdaw who had plumed himself upon her fortune, and palmed himself upon her credulity; but, when the last guinea was gone, he stood before her in the unadorned dignity of his real character and name, which were Benjamin Button, a journeyman tailor, the son of a travelling tinker and a gypsy fortune-teller.

· Notwithstanding all this, Benjamin was a genius in his way; and, had any sense or any strength of character existed in his deluded wife, their affairs might have been retrieved ; at least utter destruction averted. But such an issue to her visionary hopes overwhelmed her; her husband forsook her to seek his fortune on the Continent, and she, many years his senior, mortified and aimless, sunk into a consumption. A relation of her despised mother-in-law offered her, from motives of the purest pity, an asylum, and there the sentimental is dragging out the remainder of her days a miserable dependent.'

M. L. G.

MUNDI ET CORDIS CARMINA. * The appearance of this volume will be warmly greeted by all those of our readers whose poetical appreciation has been made a source of pleasure by the poems which have appeared in the • Monthly Repository' under the signature of *W*. The greater portion of it is original, but it includes, amongst others, the * Phosphor and Hesper," "The Copse,—to Alphonse de Lamartine,' "The Glowworm,' To a Water-Drop, Nymphs,' and "The Life of Flowers;' and to these we may refer as specimens of its contents which will at once decide its character to all by whom they are remembered. Those who see nothing in them need look no further, for they will see nothing more. Let them and the author shake hands at the threshold, and part with a friendly de gustibus. Others we invite onwards to the gratification which awaits them in the expanse of the Templum Mundi,' or the recesses of the Adyta Cordis,' not pretermitting the occasional stimulus of the • Temporalia.' Under these titles has the author distributed his effusions; and, bating that we think the English language might have served his turn for the inscription over the portal of the temple, as it does for the service within its gates, the classification commends itself to us as made in a poetical spirit, and giving a promise which is amply redeemed.

To the further division, into • Poems' and Sonnets,' we decidedly object. Although many of the author's poems be not sonnets, it would be difficult for him to produce a sonnet which should not be a poem. There is a rare felicity in his compositions

* • Mundi et Cordis : de rebus sempiternis et temporariis, Carmina ; Poems and Sonnets; by Thomas Wade.' No. 103,

2 L

of this description. He does not construe its laws in their utmost strictness, but it still presents impediment enough to display a graceful power, only surpassed amongst living writers by that of Wordsworth.

The “Templum Mundi' is a poetical philosophy of the universe, exhibited as a poetical philosophy is best exhibited, not in the regular arrangement and with the technical details of system building, but by varied views from different points, fragments, particular objects or impressions, and sometimes momentary glimpses of the entire structure, opening upon the vision like the enchanted castle in the Valley of St. John.

Although a brick may not serve as a specimen of a house, any more than a quotation of a work of science, yet of such a temple as that whereof we speak, with its towers, and pinnacles, and clustering pillars, and rich tracery, and delicate foliage in eternal marble, there may be a specimen, even perchance in some minutest ornament, which shall by its peculiar beauty convey distinct notice of the artist's skill; and such we find in this quaint fragment of fretwork:

*BIRDS AND THOUGHTS.

Oh! I am weary
Of this being dreary:

Sweet birds ! sweet birds !
The winter is around ye ;

And ice and snow
Wrap all below;
Above, the air
Is cold, and bare

Each bough,
And the frozen breezes wound ye ;

That, wherever ye fly,
On the earth, or on high, :
Ye find no rest,
Nor food, nor nest,

Sweet birds ! sweet birds !

• Oh! I am weary
Of this being dreary :

Sweet birds! sweet birds !
Our thoughts like ye must ever,

In this cold world,
With wings half furled,
Make voyage bare,
Till by despair

They're whirled
Around, and peace find never;

And, sinking or soaring,
Earth or heaven exploring,
They still must fiee
Joyless like ye,

,
Sweet birds! sweet birds !

"Oh! I am weary
of this being dreary :

Sweet birds ! sweet birds !
Ye must wait till the spring unfoldeth

The sun and earth;
And then in mirth
Ye may rejoice,
And with clear voice

Her birth
Chant to the sphere which her beauty holdeth ;

And our thoughts must await
The great life beyond fate,
To soar and sing,
Like ye in spring,
Sweet birds! sweet birds!'

p. 55–57.

That the author is an admirer of Shelley might have been certainly inferred, had he not put it upon record. The congenialities of spirit are obvious. There is no imitation nor blind homage, but a strong affinity of quality and tendency. The same addictedness to creations of mist, and rainbow, and filmy frostwork. The following sonnet shows how a poet is appreciated by a poet :

•SHELLEY.
. Holy and mighty poet of the Spirit
That broods and breathes along the Universe !
In the least portion of whose starry verse
Is the great breath the sphered heavens inherit-
No human song is eloquent as thine ;
For, by a reasoning instinct all divine,
Thou feel’st the soul of things; and thereof singing,
With all the madness of a sky lark springing,
From earth to heaven, the intenseness of thy strain,
Like the lark's music all around us ringing,
Laps us in God's own heart, and we regain
Our primal life etherial !--- Men profane
Blaspheme thee: I have heard the Dreamer styled-
I've mused upon their wakefulness, and smiled.'

p. 120.

[ocr errors]

The last two words were better away. He 'mused upon

their wakefulness, but we doubt whether he smiled.' The conclusion jars more upon the mind than would the unfinished line

the ear. Short measure is better than false fact. the smile did come, it must have been a slow and melancholy one; such as might not have misbeseemed Jacques, in the Forest of Ardennes, encountering there some intolerant and conceited interloper from the city. To this sonnet succeeds another, from which we cannot separate it, inasmuch as it is, perchance, an amplification of the aforesaid smile's meaning, as excited by one class of objects :

upon

•SHELLEY AND KEATS, AND THEIR "REVIEWER."
Two heavenly doves I saw, which were, indeed,
Sweet birds and gentle-like the immortal pair
That waft the Cyprian chariot through the air ;)
And with their songs made music, to exceed
All thought of what rich poesy might be :
At which a crow, perched on a sullen tree,
Dingy and hoarse, made baser by their brightness,
Would fain be judge of melody and whiteness.
And cawed dire sentence on these sweet-throat turtles ;
To which his fellow flock of carrion things
Croaked clamorous assent; but still the wings
Of those pure birds are white amid the myrtles
Of every grove, where culled they nectared seed,
Whilst still on cold dead flesh these carrion creatures feed.']

p. 121.

In the 'Adyta Cordis' there is a redolence of beauty which must place the author high amongst erotic bards; yet with something too much of mere sensation, and too little of that true power of love which he professes to celebrate. It seems as if, with the author, love had been the offspring of poetry, rather than poetry the offspring of love. His descriptions are of the phenomena of sense, passion, and the general perception of beauty, rather than of that strong and permanent individualization of them, in which consist the power and purity of love; of that love which refines and elevates the best natures, and is the motive and the recompense of the noblest actions.

In Lord Brougham's Natural Theology,' we are taught that the final cause of the passion of love is the perpetuation of the species, and such would probably have been the purpose assigned to it in the calculations of Jeremy Bentham; yet may the Utilitarian philosophy and the theology of nature yield a better oracle to the inquirer, and indicate its proper and noble agency in those impulses to the exertions of the poet or the patriot, which no other stimulus can so well supply. The author's perception of this agency, and his want of an entire, consistent, and uniform recognition of the power which exercises it, may perhaps both be illustrated by the poem entitled Pain and Solace, a Vision.'

'PAIN AND SOLACE.

"A Vision.
• With her I love I enter'd a proud chamber,
Festooned with golden lamps, of many dies,
Illumed, with pendants of rich pearl and amber ;
And on the walls hung ancient tapestries,
Storied with many tales of smiles and sighs.
There, in the midst

, on a low ottoman,
Sate she I loved, gazing with weeping eyes
Upon a woven mythos of old Pan,
And Syrinx, piteous nymph! transformed as she ran.

" " Thou hast destroy'd me, traitor!” wildly turning

To greet me as I passed, she cried aloud;
Her fine eye flashing, and her fair cheek burning :
“ Thou seest me here to mine own sorrows bow'd,
Thou dreaming Falsehood! of thy falseness proud!
Still thinking how to use me for thy lyre ;
And out of my dark passion's thunder-cloud
Lightning to draw : ay, like yon shepherd sire,

A living song to make of thy most dead desire.
• " Begone!—I shall not die!"-she said, and faded,

Like to some form of mist in evening dim,
When the true vision of the eye is shaded,
And all around with spectral face and limb
The fields and woods seem ghastly. As a hymn
Of God long sounds within the sinner's brain,
After the airs have tomb'd its notes sublime,
Those words still shook my heart; all pierced with pain-
As haunt a slayer's soul the last sighs of the slain !
• But with the solemn echoes as I quivered
Of that prophetic voice of her I loved,
Deep phrase of solace she I love delivered
Which the infection of their grief removed
That phrase—“She shall not die!” Let it be proved
By entranced songs of living minstrelsy;
Which lark enclouded, nightingale engroved,
May pipe sweet concord to from earth and sky,
Whilst the world's loving hearts in chorus soft reply!

p. 141, 142. The Temporalia' contains a glorious lyric burst of feeling on • The Three Great Days of France,' with some spirited • Reform Bill Hymns,' and two or three minor poems of various merit.

The most characteristic and sustained flight of the author's fancy is the 'Ode to Poesy,' which stands at the commencement of the volume, the lofty-pillared porch of his Templum Mundi. Some fragments of it must conclude this very imperfect notice; they will be its most efficient portion to all poetical spirits.

"TO POESY.
• Thou “wine of demons ! by dull flesh abjured,
But the true essence of all things divine !
The incense that perfumeth Nature's shrine!

Nectar of the heart and brain !

Spirit's sun-unfolding rain!
Deep Poesy! I come to thee, allured
By all that I do hear, scent, touch, or see;
From the flower's delicate aglet, where the bee
Makes music, to the depths of sea and ether,
Where winds and waves in fierce love leap together,

And storms are thunder-voiced and lightning-plumed,
And worlds, Creation's sparks, extinguished and illumed.

« VorigeDoorgaan »