« VorigeDoorgaan »
Yet is thy root sincere, sound as the rock,
quarry of stout spurs, and knotted fangs, Which, crook'd into a thousand whimsies, clasp The stubborn soil, and hold thee still erect.
So stands a kingdom, whose foundation yet
Thine arms have left thee. Winds have rent
them off Long since, and rovers of the forest wild · [left With bow and shaft, have burnt them. Some have A splinter'd stump, bleach'd to a snowy white; And some, memorial none, where once they grew. Yet life still lingers in thee, and puts forth Proof not contemptible of what she can, Even where death predominates. The spring Finds thee not less alive to her sweet force, Than yonder upstarts of the neighb'ring wood, So much thy juniors, who their birth receiv'd Half a millennium since the date of thine.
But since, although well qualified by age
One man alone, the father of us all, Drew not his life from woman; never gaz'd, With mute unconsciousness of what he san', On all around him; learn'd not by degrees, Nor ow'd articulation to his ear ; But, moulded by his Maker into man At once, upstood intelligent, survey'd All creatures, with precision understood Their purport, uses, properties, assign'd To each his name significant, and, fill’d With love and wisdom, render'd back to Heaven In praise harmonious the first air he drew. He was excus'd the penalties of dull Minority. No tutor charg d his hand With the thought-tracing quill, or task'd his mind With problems. History, not wanted yet, Lean'd on her elbow, watching Time, whose course, Eventful, should supply her with a theme.
OBSCUREST night involv'd the sky;
Th' Atlantic billows roar'd,
Wash'd headlong from on board,
No braver chief could Albion boast,
Than he, with whom he went,
With warmer wishes sent.
He lov'd them both, but both in vain,
Expert to swim, he lay:
Or courage die away ; But wag'd with death a lasting strife, Supported by despair of life. He shouted; nor his friends had fail'd
To check the vessel's course,
That, pitiless, perforce,
And, such as storms allow,
Delay'd not to bestow.
Their haste himself condemn, Aware that flight, in such a sea,
Alone could rescue them ; Yet bitter felt it still to die Deserted, and his friends so nigh. He long survives, who lives an hour
In ocean, self-upheld : And so long he, with unspent pow'r, His destiny repellid :
And ever as the minutes flew,
His comrades, who before
Could catch the sound no more. For then, by toil subdued, he drank The stifling wave, and then he sank, No poet wept him ; but the page
Of narrative sincere,
Is wet with Anson's tear.
Descanting on his fate,
A more enduring date.
No light propitious shone;
We perish'd, each alone: But I beneath a rougher sea, And whelm'd in deeper gulfs than he.
AMES BEATTIE, an admired poet and a moralist, was born about 1735, in the county of Kincardine, in Scotland. His father was a small farmer, who, though living in indigence, had imbibed so much of the spirit of his country, that he procured for his son a literary education, first at a parochial school, and then at the college of New Aberdeen, in which he entered as a bursar or exhibitioner. In the intervals of the sessions, James is supposed to have added to his scanty pittance by teaching at a country-school. Returning to Aberdeen, he obtained the situation of assistant to the master of the principal grammar-school, whose daughter he married. From youth he had cultivated a talent for poetry; and in 1760 he ventured to submit the fruit of his studies in this walk to the public, by a volume of “ Original Poems and Translations.' They were followed, in 1765, by “ The Judgment of Paris ;” and these performances, which displayed a familiarity with poetic diction, and harmony of versification, seem to have made him favourably known in his neighbourhood.