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THE LAST CRUSADER.
LEFT to the Saviour's conquering foes,
By tombs of saints and heroes flow'd;
The dimness of the distant hill; There still the flowers that Sharon bore, Calm air with many an odour fill. Slowly THE LAST CRUSADER eyed
The towers, the mount, the stream, the plain, And thought of those whose blood had dyed The earth with crimson streams in vain!
He thought of that sublime array,
The hosts, that over land and deep The hermit marshall'd on their way,
To see those towers, and halt to weep!† Resign'd the loved, familiar lands,
O'er burning wastes the cross to bear,
And vain the hope, and vain the loss,
And vain was Richard's lion-soul,
And guileless Godfrey's patient mind— Like waves on shore, they reach'd the goal,
To die, and leave no trace behind!
"O God!" the last Crusader cried,
"And art thou careless of thine own? For us thy Son in Salem died,
And Salem is the scoffer's throne! "And shall we leave, from age to age, To godless hands the holy tomb? Against thy saints the heathen rageLaunch forth thy lightnings, and consume!" Swift, as he spoke, before his sight
A form flash'd, white-robed, from above; All Heaven was in those looks of light, But Heaven, whose native air is love.
"Alas!" the solemn vision said,
"Ask not the Father to reward
The hearts that seek, through blood, the Son;
O warrior! never by the sword
The Saviour's Holy Land is won!"
FRESH glides the brook and blows the gale,
Six days stern labour shuts the poor
A Father's tender mercy gave
This holy respite to the breast,
Six days of toil, poor child of Cain,
Thy strength thy master's slave must be; The seventh, the limbs escape the chainA God hath made thee free!
The fields that yester-morning knew
Thy footsteps as their serf, survey;
Fresh glides the brook and blows the gale,
So rest,-O weary heart!-but, lo,
The church-spire, glistening up to heaven, To warn thee where thy thoughts should go The day thy God hath given!
Lone through the landscape's solemn rest,
They tell thee, in their dreaming school, Of power from old dominion hurl'd, When rich and poor, with juster rule,
Shall share the alter'd world.
Alas! since time itself began,
That fable hath but fool'd the hour; Each age that ripens power in man, But subjects man to power.
Yet every day in seven, at least,
One bright republic shall be known;— Man's world awhile hath surely ceas'd, When God proclaims his own!
Six days may rank divide the poor,
O Dives, from thy banquet hallThe seventh the Father opes the door, And holds his feast for all!
I KNOW nothing of the personal history of Mr. TAYLOR, more than that he is the author of Philip Van Artevelde and Edwin the Fair, two poems, of which the first was published in 1834 and the last in 1842.
Philip Van Artevelde is founded on events which occurred in Flanders near the close of the fourteenth century. It consists of two plays, with the Lay of Elena, an interlude, and is about as long as six such pieces as are adapted to the stage. It is a historical romance, in the dramatic and rhythmical form, in which truth is preserved, so far as the principal action is concerned, with the exception of occasional expansions and compressions of time.
The ground-work of Edwin the Fair is in the history of the Anglo-Saxons. On his accession Edwin finds his kingdom divided into two parties, one adhering to the monks and the other to the secular clergy. He immediately takes part against the monks, ejecting them from the benefices they had usurped, and prepares to ally himself with his cousin Elgiva, whose family is the chief support of the secular cause. His first effort is to bring about his coronation, notwithstanding the opposition of Dunstan, (the real hero of the poem,) and Odo, the Archbishop of Canterbury. In this he succeeds, and his marriage with Elgiva is solemnized at the same time. Then commences the earliest important war of the church against the state in England. Dunstan causes the queen to be seized and imprisoned; the marriage is declared void; and each party appeals to arms. In the end Edwin and Elgiva are slain, and DUNSTAN is triumphant. This play, in its chief characteristics, is like its predecessor, though less interesting, and from the absence of "poetical justice" in its catastrophe, less satisfactory.
Mr. TAYLOR Contends that a poet must be a philosopher; and that no poetry of which sense is not the basis, though it may be excellent in its kind, will long be regarded as poetry of the highest class. He considers BYRON the greatest of the poets who have addressed themselves to the sentient proper
ties of the mind, but inferior to the few who have appealed to the perceptive faculties. He writes according to his own canons, nearly all of which are as just in respect to prose as to poetry; and, as might be expected, much of his verse has little to distinguish it from prose but its rhythmical form.
Mr. TAYLOR seems to me to excel nearly every contemporary poet as a delineator of character. The persons of his dramas are presented distinctly, and have a perfect consistency and unity. Nor are they all of the same family, as is the case with the creations of some writers, who appear under various dresses and names only to reproduce themselves. The ambitious and fanatical monk, the weak-minded but uncorrupted king, the quiet scholar with his "tissue of illuminous dreams," the clear-sighted and resolute patriot, the unscrupulous demagogue, the brutal soldier, the courtly cavalier, are all drawn with clearness, and without more exaggeration than is necessary to the production of a due impression by any work of art.
No educated person can read the works of Mr. TAYLOR without a consciousness that he is communing with a mind of a high order. They are reflective and dignified, and are written in pure and nervous English. The dialogue is frequently terse and impressive, and sometimes highly dramatic. Mr. TAYLOR has no sickly sentiment, and scarcely any pathos or passion; but in his writings there are pleasant shows of feeling, fancy, and imagination which remind us that he might have been a poet of a different sort had he been governed by a different theory. His principal faults, so far as style is concerned, are occasional coarseness of expression, and inappropriate or disagreeable imagery. He exhibits also a want of that delicacy and refinement of conduct and feeling in some of his characters which would have resulted from a nicer sense of the beautiful and a more loving spirit in himself.
Mr. TAYLOR will not perhaps be a popular poet, but with a “fit audience, though few,” he will always be a favourite.
THE LAY OF ELENA,
He ask'd me had I yet forgot
The mountains of my native land? I sought an answer, but had not
The words at my command.
They would not come, and it was better so,
But I can answer when there's none that hears;
The land of many hues,
Up to their summits clothed in green,
And scale the skies,
And groves and gardens still abound
Could else take root,
The peaks are shelved and terraced round; Earthward appear, in mingled growth,
The mulberry and maize,-above The trellis'd vine extends to both
The leafy shade they love.
Looks out the white-wall'd cottage here,
Far down the foot must roam to reach
A little sail is loosed to take
The night wind's breath, and waft
The castle lights are lost.
May come from yonder cloud,
To brave the wind and sit in the dew
Her mother sixteen years before
And though brought forth in joy, the day
In taking count of after years,
Gave birth to fewer hopes than fears. For seldom smiled
The serious child,
And as she pass'd from childhood, grew
And though she loved her father well,
And though she loved her mother more, Upon her heart a sorrow fell,
And sapp'd it to the core. And in her father's castle, nought She ever found of what she sought, And all her pleasure was to roam Among the mountains far from home, And through thick woods, and wheresoe'er She saddest felt, to sojourn there; And oh! she loved to linger afloat
On the lonely lake in the little boat.
It was not for the forms,-though fair,
Of hills in sunshine or in storms,
On wood and lake, that she forsook
Her home, and far
Of sun or star.
It was to feel her fancy free,
Free in a world without an end,
It was to leave the earth behind,
As fancy led, or choice, or chance,
And lo! a beauteous maid is she,
Much dreaming these, yet was she much awake
As with the tribe who see not nature's boons
And taught her nothing: where she err'd she errs.
Be it avow'd, when all is said,
She trod the path the many tread ;-
Too young she loved, and he on whom
With feelings light and quick, that came
At times o'ertook him in his course,
Still sparkling thick like glow-worms show'd
Which might have else perform'd a prouder part.
First love the world is wont to call
The feeling which possess'd her now
In soil which needed not the plough;
It broke, it burst, it blazed amain,
The darker, soberer, sadder green
Yet still at times through that green gloom,
The berries of the mountain-ash,
Waved gladly into sight.
But rare those short-lived gleamings grew,
Mid wailing winds and gathering storms;
And last comes winter's withering breath,
Is the tale told? too well, alas!
Is pictured here what came to pass.
Then calm, supine, but pleased no less,
As changed from what she then had been,
Now shone "apparent queen."
Forth from such paradise of bliss Open the way and easy is,
Like that renown'd of old; And easier than the most was this, For they were sorted more amiss
Than outward things foretold.
He wish'd that she should love him well,
To charm her heart, but leave her fancy free; To quicken converse, not to quell ;
He granted her to sigh, for so could he;
At length would some dim doubt intrude
What follow'd was not good to do,
Nor is it good to tell;
Abides not, so far well.
And not till reason cease to reign
For grief is then the worst of foes
Till then her heart was as a mound,
Where many a seedling had been sown,
The plot of garden-ground her own;
Of evening mild when shadows tall
To linger there alone.
Nor seem'd the garden flowers less fair,
And when the sun too brightly burn'd
And in the skirts thereof a bower
That other child, beneath whose zone Were passions fearfully full-grown,—