« VorigeDoorgaan »
In truth he was a strange and wayward wight,
Fond of each.gentle, and each dreadful scene.
In darkness, and in storm, he found delight:
Nor less, than when on ocean-wave serene
The southern Sun diffused his dazzling shene.
Even sad vicissitude amused his soul:
And if a sigh would sometimes intervene,
And down his cheek a tear of pity roll,
A sigh, a tear, so sweet, he wish'd not to control.
“ O ye wild groves, O where is now your bloom !” (The Muse interprets thus his tender thought,) “ Your flowers, your verdure, and your balmy
gloom, Of late so grateful in the hour of drought! Why do the birds, that song and rapture brought To all your bowers, their mansions now forsake ? Ah! why has fickle chance this ruin wrought? For now the storm howls mournful through the
brake, And the dead foliage flies in many a shapeless flake.
“ Where now the rill, melodious, pure, and cool, And meads, with life, and mirth, and beauty
th' unsightly slime, and sluggish pool, Have all the solitary vale embrown'd; Fled each fair form, and mute each melting sound, The raven croaks forlorn on naked spray: And hark! the river, bursting every mound, Down the vale thunders, and with wasteful sway Uproots the grove, and rolls the shattered rocks
" Yet such the destiny of all on Earth :
So flourishes and fades majestic Man.
Fair is the bud his vernal morn brings forth,
And fostering gales awhile the nursling fan.
O smile, ye Heavens, serene; ye mildews wan,
Ye blighting whirlwinds, spare his balmy prime,
Nor lessen of his life the little span.
Borne on the swift, though silent, wings of Time,
Old Age comes on apace to ravage all the clime.
* And be it so. Let those deplore their doom,
Whose hope still grovels in this dark sojourn :
But lofty souls, who look beyond the tomb,
Can smile at Fate, and wonder how they mourn.
Shall to these sad scenes no more return ?
Is yonder wave the Sun's eternal bed ?
Soon shall the orient with new lustre burn,
And Spring shall soon her vital influence shed,
Again attune the grove, again adorn the mead.
“ Shall I be left forgotten in the dust,
When Fate, relenting, lets the flower revive?
Shall Nature's voice, to man alone unjust,
Bid him, though doomed to perish, hope to live ?
Is it for this fair Virtue' oft must strive
With disappointment, penury, and pain?
No: Heaven's immortal springs shall yet arrive,
And man's majestic beauty bloom again,
Bright through th' eternal year of Love's triumph-
This truth sublime his simple sire had taught.
In sooth, 't was almost all the shepherd knew.
No subtle nor superfluous lore he sought,
Nor ever wish'd his Edwin to pursue.
“ Let man's own sphere,” said he, “confine his view,
Be man's peculiar work his sole delight."
And much, and oft, he warn'd him, to eschew
Falsehood and guile, and aye maintain the right,
By pleasure unseduc'd, unaw'd by lawless might.
“ And from the prayer of Want, and plaint of
Woe, O never, never turn away thine ear! Forlorn, in this bleak wilderness below, Ah! what were man, should Heaven refuse to hear! To others do (the law is not severe) What to thyself thou wishest to be done. Forgive thy foes; and love thy parents dear, And friends, and native land ; nor those alone; All human weal and woe learn thou to make thine
See, in the rear of the warm sunny shower
The visionary boy from shelter fly;
For now the storm of summer-rain is o'er,
And cool, and fresh, and fragrant is the sky.
And, lo! in the dark east, expanded high,
The rainbow brightens to the setting Sun !
Fond fool, that deem'st the streaming glory nigh,
How vain the chase thine ardour has begun!
'Tis fled afar, ere half thy purpos'd race be run.
Yet couldst thou learn, that thus it fares with age,
When pleasure, wealth, or power, the bosom warm,
This baffled hope might tame thy manhood's rage,
And disappointment of her sting disarm.
But why should foresight thy fond heart alarm ?
Perish the lore that deadens young desire ;
Pursue, poor imp, th' imaginary charm,
Indulge gay Hope, and Fancy's pleasing fire:
Fancy and Hope too soon shall of themselves expire.
When the long-sounding curfew from afar
Loaded with loud lament the lonely gale,
Young Edwin, lighted by the evening star,
Lingering and listening, wander'd down the vale.
There would he dream of graves, and corses pale;
And ghosts that to the charnel-dungeon throng,
And drag a length of clanking chain, and wail,
Till silenc'd by the owl's terrific song,
Or blast that shrieks by fits the shuddering isles
Or, when the setting Moon, in crimson dyed,
Hung o'er the dark and melancholy deep,
To haunted stream, remote from man, he hied,
Where fays of yore their revels wont to keep ;
And there let Fancy rove at large, till sleep
A vision brought to his entranced sight.
And first, a wildly-murmuring wind 'gan creep
Shrill to his ringing ear; then tapers bright,
With instantaneous gleam, illum'd the vault of
Anon in view a portal's blazon'd arch
the trumpet bids the valves unfold :
And forth an host of little warriors march,
Grasping the diamond-lance, and targe of gold.
Their look was gentle, their demeanor bold,
And green their helms, and green their silk attire;
And here and there, right venerably old,
The long-rob'd minstrels wake the warbling wire,
And some with mellow breath the martial pipe in-
With merriment, and song, and timbrels clear,
A troop of dames from myrtle bowers advance;
The little warriors doff the targe and spear,
And loud enlivening strains provoke the dance.
They meet, they dart away, they wheel askance;
To right, to left, they thrid the flying maze;
Now bound aloft with vigorous spring, then glance
Rapid along : with many-colour'd rays
Of tapers, gems, and gold, the echoing forests blaze.
The dream is fled. Proud harbinger of day,
Who scar'd'st the vision with thy clarion shrill,
Fell chanticleer! who oft hath reft away
My fancied good, and brought substantial ill!
O to thy cursed scream, discordant still,
Let harmony aye shut her gentle ear:
Thy boastful mirth let jealous rivals spill,
Insult thy crest, and glossy pinions tear,
And ever in thy dreams the ruthless fox appear.