JOHN HERMAN MERIVALE was born in Exe- | from the Greek, Latin, Italian, and several ter, on the fifth of August, 1779. He was educated at Cambridge, studied law, was a successful barrister, and in 1826 was appointed a Commissioner in Bankruptcy. His "Poems, Original and Translated," were published by Pickering, in three volumes, in March, 1844. The third volume comprises translations from SCHILLER, and appeared simultaneously with Sir EDWARD LYTTON BULWER'S "Songs and Ballads of Schiller," to which it has been generally preferred by the critics. His versions

ROPE, 1814.

THE hour of blood is past;
Blown the last trumpet's blast;

Peal'd the last thunders of the embattled line:
From hostile shore to shore

The bale-fires blaze no more;

But friendly beacons o'er the billows shine,
To light, as to their common home,

The barks of every port that cut the salt sea foam.

"Peace to the nations!"-Peace!

Oh sound of glad release

To millions in forgotten bondage lying;
In joyless exile thrown

On shores remote, unknown,

Where hope herself, if just sustain❜d from dying,
Yet sheds so dim and pale a light,

As makes creation pall upon the sickening sight.

"Peace! Peace the world around!"
Oh strange, yet welcome sound

To myriads more that ne'er beheld her face;
And, if a doubtful fame

Yet handed down her name

In faded memory of an elder race,

It seem'd some visionary form,

Some Ariel, fancy-bred, to soothe the mimic storm.

Now the time-honour'd few,
Her earlier reign that knew,

May turn their eyes back o'er that dreamy flood,
And think again they stand

On the remember'd land,

Ere yet the sun had risen in clouds of blood,
Ere launch'd the chance-directed bark

On that vast world of ocean, measureless and dark.

And is it all a dream?

And did these things but seem

The vain delusions of a troubled sight?

Or, if indeed they were,

For what did nature bear

other languages, are all remarkable for a strict fidelity, but his diction is frequently difficult and inharmonious. One of Mr. MERIVALE'S earliest works was "The Minstrel, or the Progress of Genius," in continuation of Dr. BEATTIE, whose style he successfully imitated. The most perfect of his longer poems is "Orlando in Roncesvalles," a story of the Italian school, suggested by the "Morgante Maggiore" of LUIGI PULCI. He died in London, on the fifth of April, 1844.

The long dark horrors of that fearful night?
Only to breathe and be once more [shore?
Even as she was and breathed upon that former
O'er this wild waste of time,
This sea of blood and crime,
Doth godlike virtue rear her awful form,
Only to cheat the sight

With wandering, barren light

The meteor, not the watch-fire, of the storm? The warrior's deed, the poet's strain, [vain? The statesman's anxious toil, the patriot's sufferings,

For this did Louis lay,

In Gallia's sinful day,

On the red altar his anointed head?

For this did Nelson pour,

In Britain's glorious hour,

More precious blood than Britain e'er had shed?
And did their wingéd thoughts aspire,

Even in the parting soul's prophetic trance, no
higher ?

Ye tenants of the grave,

Whom unseen wisdom gave

To watch the shapeless mist o'er earth extending,
Yet will'd to snatch away
Before the appointed day

Of light renew'd, and clouds and darkness ending,
Oh might ye now permitted rise, [eyes;
Cast o'er this wondrous scene your unobstructed

And say, O thou, whose might,
Bulwark of England's right,

Stood forth, the might of Chatham's lordly son;
Thou" on whose burning tongue
Truth, peace, and freedom hung,"

When freedom's ebbing sand almost had run;
To the deliver'd world declare,

That each hath seen fulfill'd his latest,earliest prayer.

Rejoice, kings of the earth!
But with a temperate mirth;

The trophies ye have won, the wreaths ye wearPower with his red right hand,

And empire's despot brand,

Had ne'er achieved these proud rewards ye bear; But, in one general cause combined, [mind. The people's vigorous arm, the monarch's constant

Yet that untired by toil,
Unsway'd by lust of spoil,
Unmoved by fear, or soft desire of rest,
Ye kept your onward course
With unremitted force,

And to the distant goal united press'd;

The soldier's bed, the soldier's fare,

His dangers, wants, and toils, alike resolved to share.

And more-that when, at length,
Exulting in your strength,

In tyranny o'erthrown, and victory won,
Before you lowly laid,

Your dancing eyes survey'd

The prostrate form of humbled Babylon,

Ye cried, "Enough!"-and at the word Vengeance put out her torch, and slaughter sheath'd his sword

[blocks in formation]

THE PURSUIT OF LEARNING. WHOSO with patient and inquiring mind Would seek the stream of science to ascend, Must count the cost, and never hope to find Rest to his feet, or to his wanderings end. The faithless road doth ever onward tend, And clouds and darkness are its utmost bound: The sacred fount no human eye hath kenn'd, Though many a wight, beguiled by sight or sound, "Euprxa!" may exclaim; "I-I the place have


And, sooth to tell, it is a pleasant way
Through sweet variety of lawn and wood,
Mountain and vale, green pasture, forest gray
And peopled town, and silent solitude;
And many a point, at distance dimly view'd,
For idle loiterers an unmeasured height,
By persevering energy subdued,

Rewards the bold adventurer with a sight
Of undiscover'd worlds-vast regions of delight.


On not that I am faithless say

Or that my love's no more the same, If Cynthia once inspired my lay,

And then Licymnia lit the flame One goddess only I adore,

Although in different forms I woo her; Nor, though she bid me love no more, Could I be e'er inconstant to her.

The sailor, midst the dangerous main,
Full many a lovely region sees,
Fair islands, bright with golden grain,
And rich with ever-blooming trees;
But, till the destined port he gains,

Those transient charms he little prizes,
And quits with joy the happiest plains
Soon as a favouring gale arises.

My fancy had a mistress drawn,

And stamp'd her image on my heart;
I roved o'er hill and vale and lawn,
But ne'er could find the counterpart :
This had the form, the air, the face,

That, the sweet smile's bewitching beauty, And every singly winning grace

Fix'd for the time my wandering duty.

But now 'tis sped-my fancy's flight:
All former trivial, vain desires,
Like spectres fade before the light,
Or perish in sublimer fires.
He needs not fear again to fall

Before the shadow of perfection,
Who for the bright original

Has dared avow his soul's election.


MR. SMITH was born about the year 1780, in London, where his father was an eminent solicitor. In 1812 he and his elder brother, Mr. JAMES SMITH, wrote their celebrated "Rejected Addresses," a work which has passed through twenty-five editions, and which is now, after the lapse of more than thirty years, hardly less popular than on its first appearance. They soon afterward published "Horace in London," parts of which had appeared in the "Monthly Mirror," and in 1813 the subject of this notice produced a successful comedy entitled “First Impressions," and subsequently "The Runaway," "Trevenion or Matrimonial Errors," "Brambletye House," "Tor Hill," "Reuben Apsley," and several other novels, some of which were deemed not unworthy of the author of "Waverly." In 1840 he published an edition of the Miscellaneous Writings of his brother

JAMES, who died in the sixty-fifth year of his age, in 1839; and in 1842 his last work, "Adam Brown, the Merchant."

Mr. SMITH is one of the most voluminous and popular writers of the nineteenth century. I have seen no separate collection of his poems, but his imitations in the " Rejected Addresses," his parodies of HORACE, and his lyrical contributions to the literary magazines, show him to be not only an admirable versifier, but a possessor of the sense of beauty and a most poetical fancy. His powers are versatile, and he has shown himself able to master any style with which he has chosen to grapple. His works have uniformly been successful, and the reader of his "Hymn to the Flowers," and other pieces in this volume, will not doubt that if he had devoted attention to poetry, he would have won an enduring and enviable reputation as a poet.


Its choir the winds and waves-its organ thunder-
Its dome the sky.

DAY-STARS! that ope your eyes with man, to There, as in solitude and shade I wander


[blocks in formation]


Through the green aisles, or stretch'd upon the Awed by the silence, reverently ponder

The ways of God.

Your voiceless lips, O flowers! are living preachers,
Each cup a pulpit, and each leaf a book,
Supplying to my fancy numerous teachers
From loneliest nook.

Floral apostles! that in dewy splendour,

"Weep without wo, and blush without a crime," Oh may I deeply learn, and ne'er surrender Your lore sublime!

"Thou wert not, Solomon! in all thy glory,
Array'd," the lilies cry, "in robes like ours;
How vain your grandeur! ah, how transitory,
Are human flowers!"

In the sweet scented pictures, heavenly Artist! With which thou paintest nature's wide-spread hall,

What a delightful lesson thou impartest
Of love to all!

Not useless are ye, flowers! though made for pleasure,

Blooming o'er field and wave by day and night, From every source your sanction bids me treasure Harmless delight.

[blocks in formation]

IN Egypt's centre, when the world was young, My statue soar'd aloft,-a man-shaped tower, O'er hundred-gated Thebes, by Homer sung,

And built by Apis' and Osiris' power.

When the sun's infant eye more brightly blazed,
I mark'd the labours of unwearied time;
And saw, by patient centuries up-raised,

Stupendous temples, obelisks sublime!

Hewn from the rooted rock, some mightier mound, Some new colossus more enormous springs,

So vast, so firm, that, as I gazed around,

I thought them, like myself, eternal things.

Then did I mark in sacerdotal state,

Psammis the king, whose alabaster tomb, (Such the inscrutable decrees of fate,)

Now floats athwart the sea to share my doom. O Thebes, I cried, thou wonder of the world! Still shalt thou soar, its everlasting boast; When lo! the Persian standards were unfurl'd, And fierce Cambyses led the invading host. Where from the east a cloud of dust proceeds, A thousand banner'd suns at once appear; Nought else was seen ;-but sound of neighing steeds,

And faint barbaric music met mine ear.

Onward they march, and foremost I descried,
A cuirassed Grecian band, in phalanx dense,
Around them throng'd, in oriental pride,

Commingled tribes-a wild magnificence.
Dogs, cats, and monkeys in their van they show,
Which Egypt's children worship and obey;
They fear to strike a sacrilegious blow,
And fall-a pious, unresisting prey.

Then, havoc leaguing with infuriate zeal,
Palaces, temples, cities are o'erthrown;
Apis is stabb'd!-Cambyses thrusts the steel,
And shuddering Egypt heaved a general groan!
The firm Memnonium mock'd their feeble power,
Flames round its granite columns hiss'd in vain,
The head of Isis, frowning o'er each tower,
Look'd down with indestructible disdain.

Mine was a deeper and more quick disgrace :Beneath my shade a wondering army flock'd; With force combined, they wrench'd me from my base,

And earth beneath the dread concussion rock'd.

Nile from his banks receded with affright,

The startled Sphinx long trembled at the sound; While from each pyramid's astounded height, The loosen'd stones slid rattling to the ground.

I watch'd, as in the dust supine I lay,
The fall of Thebes,—as I had mark'd its fame,—
Till crumbling down, as ages roll'd away,

Its site a lonely wilderness became !

The throngs that choked its hundred gates of yore,
Its fleets, its armies, were no longer seen;
Its priesthood's pomp, its Pharaohs were no more,—
All-all were gone-as if they ne'er had been!
Deep was the silence now, unless some vast
And time-worn fragment thunder'd to its base;
Whose sullen echoes, o'er the desert cast,
Died in the distant solitude of space.

Or haply, in the palaces of kings,

Some stray jackal sate howling on the throne: Or, on the temple's holiest altar, springs

Some gaunt hyæna, laughing all alone. Nature o'erwhelms the relics left by time;By slow degrees entombing all the land; She buries every monument sublime,

Beneath a mighty winding-sheet of sand. Vain is each monarch's unremitting pains,

Who in the rock his place of burial delves; Behold! their proudest palaces and fanes

Are subterraneous sepulchres themselves. Twenty-three centuries unmoved I lay,

And saw the tide of sand around me rise; Quickly it threaten'd to engulf its prey,

And close in everlasting night mine eyes. Snatch'd in this crisis from my yawning grave, Belzoni roll'd me to the banks of Nile, And slowly heaving o'er the western wave, This massy fragment reach'd the imperial isle. In London, now with face erect I gaze On England's pallid sons, whose eyes upcast, View my colossal features with amaze,

And deeply ponder on my glories past.

But who my future destiny shall guess?
Saint Paul's may lie, like Memnon's temple, low;
London, like Thebes, may be a wilderness,
And Thames, like Nile, through silent ruins flow.
Then haply may my travels be renew'd :-
Some transatlantic hand may break my rest,
And bear me from Augusta's solitude,

To some new seat of empire in the west.
Mortal! since human grandeur ends in dust,
And proudest piles must crumble to decay;
Build up the tower of thy final trust
In those blest realms-where naught shall pass


ASIA's rock-hollow'd fanes, first-born of time,
In sculpture's prime,

Wrought by the ceaseless toil of many a race,
Whom none may trace,
Have crumbled back to wastes of ragged stone,
And formless caverns, desolate and lone.
Egypt's stern temples, whose colossal mound,
Sphinx-guarded, frown'd
From brows of granite challenges to fate
And human hate,

Are giant ruins in a desert land,
Or sunk to sculptured quarries in the sand.
The marble miracles of Greece and Rome,
Temple and dome,

Art's masterpieces, awful in th' excess
Of loveliness,

Hallow'd by statued gods which might be thought
To be themselves by the celestials wrought,—
Where are they now?-their majesty august,
Grovels in dust,

Time on their altars prone their ruins flings
As offerings
Forming a lair whence ominous bird and brute
Their wailful misereres howl and hoot.

Down from its height the Druid's sacred stone,
In sport is thrown,
And many a Christian fane have change and hate
Made desolate,

Prostrating saint, apostle, statue, bust,
With Pagan deities to mingle dust.

On these drear sepulchres of buried days
'Tis sad to gaze;
Yet, since their substances were perishable,
And hands unstable

Uprear'd their piles, no wonder that decay
Both man and monument should sweep away.

Ah me! how much more sadden'd is my mood,
How heart-subdued,

The ruins and the wrecks when I behold,
By time unroll'd,

Of all the faiths that man hath ever known,
World-worshipp'd once-now spurn'd and over-


[blocks in formation]

Like the world's childish dolls, which but insult Its age adult,

Or prostrate scarecrows, on whose rags we tread,
With scorn proportion'd to our former dread.

Alas, for human reason! all is change,
Ceaseless and strange,

All ages form new systems, leaving heirs
To cancel theirs;

The future will but imitate the past,
And instability alone will last.

Is there no compass, then, by which to steer
This erring sphere?

No tie that may indissolubly bind

To God, mankind!
No code that may defy time's sharpest tooth?
No fix'd, immutable, unerring truth?

[blocks in formation]

AND thou hast walk'd about-how strange a story!

In Thebes's streets, three thousand years ago! When the Memnonium was in all its glory,

And time had not begun to overthrow Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous, Of which the very ruins are tremendous!

Speak!-for thou long enough hast acted dummy, Thou hast a tongue,-come-let us hear its tune! Thou'rt standing on thy legs, above-ground, mummy!

Revisiting the glimpses of the moon,Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures, But with thy bones, and flesh,and limbs and features!

Tell us for doubtless thou canst recollect,

To whom should we assign the Sphinx's fame?— Was Cheops, or Cephrenes architect

Of either pyramid that bears his name?— Is Pompey's pillar really a misnomer?— Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer? Perhaps thou wert a mason,-and forbidden,

By oath, to tell the mysteries of thy trade: Then say, what secret melody was hidden

In Memnon's statue, which at sunrise play'd? Perhaps thou wert a priest;-if so, my struggles Are vain,-for priestcraft never owns its juggles!

« VorigeDoorgaan »