« VorigeDoorgaan »
Which on each side rose swelling, and below
The dark warm flood ran silently and slow;
There anchoring, Peter chose from man to hide,
There hang his head, and view the lazy tide
In its hot slimy channel slowly glide;
Where the small eels that left the deeper way
For the warm shore, within the shallows play;
Where gaping mussels, left upon the mud,
Shape their slow passage to the fallen flood;
Here dull and hopeless he'd lie down and trace
How sidelong crabs had scrawld their crooked race;
Or sadly listen to the tuneless cry
Of fishing gull or clanging golden-eye;
What time the sea-birds to the marsh would come,
And the loud bittern, from the bulrush home,
Gave from the salt-ditch side the bellowing boom :
He nurs'd the feelings these dull scenes produce,
And lov'd to stop beside the opening sluice;
Where the small stream, confin'd in narrow bound,
Ran with a dull, unvaried, sadd’ning sound;
Where all, presented to the eye or ear,
Oppress’d the soul with misery, grief, and fear. I
IMITATED FROM THE PERSIAN.
LORD! who art merciful as well as just
Incline thine ear to me, a child of dust!
Not what I would, O Lord! I offer thee,
Alas! but what I can.
Father Almighty, who hast made me man,
This description is a good specimen of what Mr. Jeffrey calls the “ Chinese accuracy” of our author.
And bade me look to Heaven, for thou art there,
Accept my sacrifice and humble prayer
Four things which are not in thy treasury,
I say before thee, Lord, with this petition -
My nothingness, my wants,
My sins, and my contrition.
'Tis midnight: on the mountains brown
The cold, round moon shines deeply down;
Blue roll the waters, blue the sky
Spreads like an ocean hung on high,
Bespangled with those isles of light,
So wildly, spiritually bright;
Who ever gaz'd upon them shining,
And turn’d to earth without repining,
Nor wish'd for wings to flee away,
And mix with their eternal ray?
The waves on either shore lay there
Calm, clear, and azure as the air;
And scarce their foam the pebbles shook,
But murmur'd meekly as the brook.
The winds were pillow'd on the waves ;
The banners droop'd along their staves,
And, as they fell around them furling,
Above them shone the crescent curling;
And that deep silence was unbroke,
Save where the watch his signal spoke,
Save where the steed neigh'd oft and shrill,
And echo answer'd from the hill,
And the wide hum of that wild host
Rustled like leaves from coast to coast,
As rose the Muezzin's 1 voice in air
In midnight call to wonted prayer:
'Twas musical, but sadly sweet,
Such as when winds and harp-strings meet,
And take a long unmeasur’d tone,
To mortal minstrelsy unknown.
And Rachel lies in Ephrath's land,
Beneath her lonely oak of weeping;
With mouldering heart, and withering hand,
The sleep of death for ever sleeping.
The Spring comes smiling down the vale,
The lilies and the roses bringing ; But Rachel never more shall hail
The flowers that in the world are springing.
The Summer gives his radiant day,
And Jewish dames the dance are treading ; But Rachel in her couch of clay,
Sleeps all unheeded and unheeding. The Autumn's ripening sunbeam shines,
And reapers to the field is calling ; But Rachel's voice no longer joins
The choral song at twilight's falling.
The Winter sends his drenching shower,
And sweeps his howling blast around her; But earthly storms possess no power
To break the slumber that hath bound her.
Thus round and round the seasons go,
But joy or grief no more betide her ; For Rachel's bosom could not know
Though friends were housed in death beside her.
Yet time shall come, as prophets say,
Whose dreams with glorious things are blended, When seasons on their changeful way
Shall wend not as they long have wended.
Yes, time shall come, when flowers that bloom
Shall meet no storm their bloom to wither
When friends, rejoicing from the tomb,
Have gone to heavenly climes together.
But most of all subdued, or fearful least
Of man's society, with ruddy breast
Against the window beats, sagacious bird,
The robin! at the door, half open left,
Or by the gale unlatch’d, or narrow pass
Of air-admitting casement, or (to him
Sufficient port) the splinter'd aperture
Of attic pane demolish’d, with a flirt
Enters the fledg’d intruder. He has left
His haunt divine, the wood-house and the barn,
A feathery mendicant made bold by want ;
And every little action asks aloud
Alms the most indigent might well afford -
A drop of water and a crumb of bread.
Timid and sleek upon the floor he hops,
His ev'ry feather clutch’d, all ear, all eye,
And springing swift at the first sound he hears,
Thumps for dismission on the healthy' pane.
Sweet beggar, no. Impenetrable glass
Has clos'd around thee its transparent cage,
Escape denying. Satisfy thy need,
And, having fed, be free! Beneath my chair
Sit budge , a feathery bunch ; upon its staves
Polish thy clatt'ring beak; with head revers’d
Dress ev'ry plume that decks thy plain surtout,
And either pinion of thy slender wing ;
With bridled bill thy ruddy bosom smooth ;
And, all perform'd, delight me, if thou wilt,
With a faint sample of contented song,
Concise and sweet! then flit around the room
Cheerful though silent, seizing with an air
Each crumb diminutive, which the last meal
Dropt unperceiv'd, and the religious 3 broom
Unconscious left upon the woven floor,
Or which the hand of charity lets fall,
Not grudging. Banquet here, and sleep to-night,
And when thy morning meal is finish’d, fly;
Nothing unwelcome, if thou dare return,
And daily seek the hospitable feast,
Strew'd to invite thee on the casement ledge.
i Sound, i. e. uncracked.
• Exact, strict. — (Johnson.)