« VorigeDoorgaan »
WRITTEN AFTER LEAVING WEST POINT.
THE hours are past, love,
Oh, fled they not too fast, love! Those happy hours, when down the mountain-side We saw the rosy mists of morning glide, And, hand in hand, went forth upon our way, Full of young life and hope, to meet the day. The hours are past, love,
Oh, fled they not too fast, love! Those sunny hours, when from the midday heat We sought the waterfall with loitering feet, And o'er the rocks that lock the gleaming pool, Crept down into its depths, so dark and cool.
The hours are past, love,
Oh, fled they not too fast, love! Those solemn hours, when through the violet sky, Alike without a cloud, without a ray, The round red autumn moon came glowingly, While o'er the leaden waves our boat made way.
The hours are past, love,
Oh, fled they not too fast, love!
Those blessed hours when the bright day was past, And in the world we seem'd to wake alone, When heart to heart beat throbbingly and fast, And love was melting our two souls in one.
THOU poisonous laurel leaf, that in the soil
Breathing on youth's sweet roses till they fade? Alas! thou art an evil weed of wo,
Water'd with tears and watch'd with sleeplesscare; Seldom doth envy thy green glories spare; And yet men covet thee-ah, wherefore do they so!
On! turn those eyes away from me!
I feel, I tremble 'neath their gaze.
By the warm blood that mantles there.
TO A PICTURE.
O SERIOUS eyes! how is it that the light,
The burning rays, that mine pour into ye, Still find ye cold, and dead, and dark as nightO lifeless eyes! can ye not answer me?
O lips! whereon mine own so often dwell,
Fall scalding over thee; in vain, in vain;
O thou dull image! wilt thou not reply
THERE's not a fibre in my trembling frame
In eddying whirls of passion, dizzily.
NIGHT in her dark array
Steals o'er the ocean, And with departed day
Hush'd seems its motion Slowly o'er yon blue coast
Onward she's treading,
'Neath her veil spreading.
Venice is lying,
And round her marble crown
Night winds are sighing. From the high lattice now
Bright eyes are gleaming, That seem on night's dark brow, Brighter stars beaming. Now o'er the blue lagune
Light barks are dancing, And 'neath the silver moon Swift oars are glancing. Strains from the mandolin Steal o'er the water, Echo replies between
To mirth and laughter. O'er the wave seen afar, Brilliantly shining, Gleams like a fallen star Venice reclining.
RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES.
RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES is a native of Yorkshire, and was born about the year 1806. On the completion of his education at Cambridge he travelled a considerable time on the Continent, and soon after his return home was elected a member of the House of Commons, for Pontefract. He has voted in Parliament with the Tories, but has won little distinction as a politician.
The poetical works of Mr. MILNES are Memorials of a Tour in Greece, published in 1834, Poems of Many Years, in 1838, Poetry for the People, in 1840, and Palm Leaves, in 1844. The last volume was written during a tour through Egypt and the Levant in 1842 and 1843, and is an attempt to instruct the western world in oriental modes of thought and feeling, by a series of poems in the oriental spirit, not an unsuccessful effort, but one with precedents, both in England and on the Continent. A complete edition of his writings, in four volumes, has recently been published in London by Mr. Moxon. I believe none of them have been reprinted in this country.
WHEN from the key-stone of the arch of life
If then, as well may be, he stand alone,
How will his heart recall the youthful throng, Who leap'd with helping hands from stone to stone, And cheer'd the progress with their choral song! How will sad memory point where, here and there, Friend after friend, by falsehood or by fate, From him or from each other parted were,
And love sometimes become the nurse of hate.
Yet at this hour no feelings dark or fierce,
Love, the best gift that man on man bestows, While round his downward path, recluse and drear, He feels the chill, indifferent shadows close. Old limbs, once broken, hardly knit together,Seldom old hearts with other hearts combine; Suspicion coarsely weighs the fancy's feather; Experience tests and mars the sense divine;
In Leucas, one of his earlier productions, Mr. MILNES discloses his poetical theory. Reproaching SAPPHIO, he says,—
"Poesy, which in chaste repose abides,
As in its atmosphere; that placid flower
With him poetry is the expression of beauty, not of passion, and no one more fully realizes his own ideal in his works, which are serene and contemplative, and pervaded by a true and genial philosophy. They are unequal, but there is about them that indescribable charm which indicates genuineness of feeling. This is particularly observable in the pieces having reference to the affections. The simplicity of the incidents portrayed, and the seeming artlessness of the diction, sometimes remind us of WORDSWORTH, but there is a point and meaning in his effusions which makes him occasionally superior to the author of the Excursion in pathos, however much he may at times fall below him in philosophical sentiment. Probably no one among the younger poets of England has founded a more enduring or more enviable reputation.
Thus now, though ever loth to underprize
Youth's sacred passions and delicious tears, Still worthier seems to his reflective eyes The friendship that sustains maturer years.
Why did I not," his spirit murmurs deep, "At every cost of momentary pride, Preserve the love for which in vain I weep;
Why had I wish, or hope, or sense beside? "Oh cruel issue of some selfish thought!
Oh long, long echo of some angry tone! Oh fruitless lesson, mercilessly taught, Alone to linger and to die alone!
"No one again upon my breast to fall,
To name me by my common Christian name,No one in mutual banter to recall
Some youthful folly or some boyish game; "No one with whom to reckon and compare
The good we won or miss'd; no one to draw Excuses from past circumstance or care,
And mitigate the world's unreasoning law!
"Were I one moment with that presence blest, I would o'erwhelm him with my humble pain, I would invade the soul I once possest, And once for all my ancient love regain!" 2R2
THE LAY OF THE HUMBLE.
I HAVE no Comeliness of frame,
To earth, a weeping creature;
But though thus cast among the weak,
The trivial part in life I play
Can have so light a bearing
On other men, who, night or day,
That, though I find not much to bless,
I know that I am tempted less,-
The beautiful! the noble blood!
I shrink as they pass by,Such power for evil or for good
Is flashing from each eye;
They are indeed the stewards of Heaven,
'Tis true, I am hard buffetted,
Though few can be my foes,
But then I think, "had I been born,-
I never mourn'd affections lent
In folly or in blindness;—
The kindness that on me is spent
And most of all, I never felt
The agonizing sense
Of seeing love from passion melt
The fearful shame, that day by day
Burns onward, still to burn,
To have thrown your precious heart away,
And met this black return.
I almost fancy that the more
Nature has made me of her store
A worthier denizen;
As if it pleased her to caress
Athwart my face when blushes pass
And hear a music strangely made,
That you have never heard, A sprite in every rustling blade, That sings like any bird.
My dreams are dreams of pleasantness,— But yet I always run,
As to a father's morning kiss,
When rises the round sun;
I see the flowers on stalk and stem,
I do remember well, when first
It was no stranger-face, that burst
My heart began, from the first glance,
I danced with every billow's dance,
The lamb that at it's mother's side
The linnet in the spring,
And love my slender hand,— For we are bound, by God's decree, In one defensive band.
And children, who the worldly mind And ways have not put on,
Are ever glad in me to find
A blithe companion:
And when for play they leave their homes, Left to their own sweet glee,
They hear my step, and cry, "He comes,
Our little friend,-'tis he."
Have you been out some starry night,
Your eyes to one particular light,
And then, so loved that glistening spot,
Or more or less, it matter'd not,-
Thus, and thus only, can you know,
How I, even scornéd I,
Can live in love, though set so low,
And my ladie-love so high;
With no fair round of household cares
Will touch a loving breast;
But yet my love with sweets is rife,
With happiness it teems,
It beautifies my waking life,
And waits upon my dreams;
A shape that floats upon the night,
A voice of seraphim,-a light
I hide me in the dark arcade,
When she walks forth alone,-
Oh deep delight! the frail guitar
Trembles beneath her hand,
She sings a song she brought from far,
I cannot understand;
Her voice is always as from heaven,
Its music best, when thus 'tis given
She has turn'd her tender eyes around,
And now, I can go forth so proud,
And raise my head so tall,-
And there is summer all the while,
Mid-winter though it be,
How should the universe not smile,
For though that smile can nothing more
Yet pity, it was sung of yore,
From what a crowd of lovers' woes
My weakness is exempt!
How far more fortunate than those Who mark me for contempt!
No fear of rival happiness
My fervent glory smothers, The zephyr fans me none the less That is so bland to others.
Thus without share in coin or land,
The wealth of nature in my hand,
As gay as aught that sings.
One hour I own I dread,-to die
And then I shall receive my part
Of everlasting treasure,
In that just world where each man's heart Will be his only measure.
GENTLY supported by the ready aid
Of loving hands, whose little work of toil Her grateful prodigality repaid
With all the benediction of her smile, She turn'd her failing feet To the soft pillow'd seat, Dispensing kindly greetings all the while. Before the tranquil beauty of her face
I bow'd in spirit, thinking that she were A suffering angel, whom the special grace Of God intrusted to our pious care, That we might learn from her The art to minister
To heavenly beings in seraphic air. There seem'd to lie a weight upon her brain, That ever press'd her blue-vein'd eyelids down, But could not dim her lustrous eyes with pain, Nor seem her forehead with the faintest frown: She was as she were proud, So young, to be allow'd
To follow Him who wore the thorny crown. Nor was she sad, but over every mood,
To which her lightly-pliant mind gave birth, Gracefully changing, did a spirit brood, Of quiet gaiety, and serenest mirth; And thus her voice did flow, So beautifully low,
A stream whose music was no thing of earth.
Now long that instrument has ceased to sound,
My head, and wait the end,
IN reverence will we speak of those that woo
Yet many a one-the latchet of whose shoe"
These might not loose-will often only dare Lay some poor words between him and despair— "Father, forgive! we know not what we do."
For, as Christ pray'd, so echoes our weak heart, Yearning the ways of God to vindicate, But worn and wilder'd by the shows of fate, Of good oppress'd and beautiful defiled,
Dim alien force, that draws or holds apart From its dear home that wandering spirit-child.
NOT WHOLLY JUST.
THE words that trembled on your lips
Were little more than others won,
Nor wholly just what you have done.
You know, at least you might have known,
Your hand's faint shake or parting wave,— Your every sympathetic look
At words that chanced your soul to touch, While reading from some favourite book,
Were much to me-alas, how much!
Up to my passion's lofty scope;
I planted on the slippery ground, And higher raised my venturous head, And ever new assurance found.
May be, without a further thought,
It only pleased you thus to please, And thus to kindly feelings wrought
You measured not the sweet degrees; Yet, though you hardly understood
Where I was following at your call,
And thus when fallen, faint, and bruised,
Of all I lost and all I won,
I cannot deem you wholly true,
THE PALSY OF THE HEART.
I SEE the worlds of earth and sky
I know, but feel not as I know:
Nectareous fruits of ancient mind,
But what the pleasure, what the worth If all is savourless to me?
I hear the subtle chords of sound,
But will not enter and imbue:
Sweet greetings, appellations dear,
O dreadful thought! if by God's grace
Which we, for want of words, call heaven,— And unresponsive even there
This heart of mine could still remain, And its intrinsic evil bear
To realms that know no other pain.
Better down nature's scale to roll,
Far as the base, unbreathing clod, Then rest a conscious reasoning soul, Impervious to the light of God;Hateful the powers that but divine What we have lost beyond recall, The intellectual plummet-line
That sounds the depths to which we fall.
EVIL, every living hour,
Holds us in its wilful hand, Save as thou, essential Power, May'st be gracious to withstand: Pain within the subtle flesh,
Heavy lids that cannot close, Hearts that hope will not refresh,— Hand of healing! interpose.
Tyranny's strong breath is tainting
Not to those distracted wills
Trust the judgment of their woes;
Pleasures night and day are hovering
Ere envenom'd passion grows
Mind of Wisdom! interpose.
Now no more in tuneful motion
Life with love and duty glides; Reason's meteor-lighted ocean
Bears us down its mazy tides; Head is clear and hand is strong,
But our heart no haven knows; Sun of Truth! the night is long,Let thy radiance interpose.