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How beautiful, if sorrow had not made
The Lady Madeline at her Devotions,
From the Eve of St Agnes.
As though a tongueless nightingale should swell Her throat in vain, and die heart-stified in her dell.
A casement high and triple-arched there was
And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings,
and kings. Full on this casement shone the wintry moon, And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast, As down she knelt for Heaven's grace and boon; Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest, And on her silver cross soft amethyst, And on her hair a glory like a saint : She seemed a splendid angel newly drest, Save wings, for heaven ; Porphyro grew faint : She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal
As when, upon a tranced summer night,
The antique grace and solemnity of passages like this must be felt by every lover of poetry. The chief defects of Keats are his want of distinctness and precision, and the carelessness of his style. There would seem to have been even affectation in his disregard of order and regularity; and he heaps up images and conceits in such profusion, that they often form grotesque and absurd combinations, which fatigue the reader. Deep feeling and passion are rarely given to young poets redolent of fancy, and warm from the perusal of the ancient authors. The difficulty with which Keats had mastered the classic mythology gave it an undue importance in his mind : a more perfect knowledge would have harmonised its materials, and shewn him the beauty of chasteness and simplicity of style ; but Mr Leigh Hunt is right in his opinion that the poems of Keats, with all their defects, will be the sure companions in field and grove' of those who love to escape 'out of the strife of commonplaces into the haven of solitude and imagination.'
One line in Endymion has become familiar as a "household word' wherever the English language is spoken
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.
Hymn to Pan.-From' Endymion.'
O thou for whose soul-soothing quiet turtles
Thou to whom every faun and satyr flies For willing service; whether to surprise The squatted hare while in half-sleeping fit; Or upward ragged precipices fiit
To save poor lambkins from the eagle's maw;
Away! away! for I will fly to thee Or by mysterious enticement draw
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, Bewildered shepherds to their path again ;
But on the viewless wings of Poesy, Or to tread breathless round the frothy main,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards : And gather up all fancifulest shells
Already with thee! tender is the night, For thee to tumble into Naiads' cells,
And haply the queen-moon is on her throne, And, being hidden, laugh at their out-peeping;
Clustered around by all her starry says ; Or to delight thee with fantastic leaping,
But here there is no light, The while they pelt each other on the crown
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown With silvery oak-apples, and fir-cones brown
Through verdurous blooms and winding mossy By all the echoes that about thee ring,
ways. Hear us, O satyr king !
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, O hearkener to the loud-clapping shears,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, While ever and anon to his shorn peers
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet A ram goes bleating : winder of the horn,
Wherewith the seasonable month endows When snouted wild-boars, routing tender corn,
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild ; Anger our huntsmen : breather round our farms,
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; To keep off mildews and all weather harms :
Fast fading violets covered up in leaves ; Strange ministrant of undescribed sounds,
And mid-May's eldest child, That come a-swooning over hollow grounds,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, And wither drearily on barren moors :
The murmurous haunt of fies on summer eves. Dread opener of the mysterious doors Leading to universal knowledge—see,
Darkling I listen ; and for many a time Great son of Dryope,
I have been half in love with easeful Death, The many that are come to pay their vows,
Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme, With leaves about their brows!
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die, Be still the unimaginable lodge
To cease upon the midnight with no pain, For solitary thinkings; such as dodge
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad Conception to the very bourne of heaven,
In such an ecstasy! Then leave the naked brain : be still the leaven,
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vainThat, spreading in this dull and clodded earth,
To thy high requiem become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down ; An element filling the space between;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard An unknown-but no more : we humbly screen
In ancient days by emperor and clown : With uplift hands our foreheads, lowly bending, Perhaps the self-same song that found a path And giving out a shout most heaven-rending,
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for Conjure thee to receive our humble Pæan,
home, Upon thy Mount Lycean!
She stood in tears amid the alien corn ;
The same that ofttimes hath
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self! One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: Adieu ! the fancy cannot cheat so well 'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf. But being too happy in thy happiness,
Adieu ! adieu ! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the hill-stream,
Up the hillside ; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley's glades : Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
Was it a vision or a waking dream ?
Fled is that music :-do I wake or sleep?
Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness !
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
run; And with thee fade away into the forest dim : To bend with apples the mossed cottage trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
To swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells What thou among the leaves hast never known, With a sweet kernel ; to set budding more, The weariness, the fever, and the fret,
And still more, later flowers for the bees, Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; Until they think warm days will never cease, Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
For summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store ?
Sometimes, whoever seeks abroad may find
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. Thy hair soft-listed by the winnowing wind ;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Reginald retired for a few minutes to the corner Drowsed with the sume of poppies, while thy hook of the room, and returned with the beautiful
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers; lines :
No hammer sell, no ponderous axes rung ;
Like some tall palm the mystic fabric sprung.
Majestic silence !
His picture of Palestine, in its now fallen and Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? desolate state, is pathetic and beautiful :
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,
Reft of thy sons, amid thy foes forlorn,
Mourn, widowed queen! sorgotten Sion, mourn ! Or sinking, as the light wind lives or dies ; And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn ;
Is this thy place, sad city, this thy throne,
Where the wild desert rears its craggy stone ?
While suns unblest their angry lustre Aling,
And wayworn pilgrims seek the scanty spring ?
No martial myriads muster in thy gate ;
No suppliant nations in thy temple wait ;
No prophet-bards, the glittering courts among,
Wake the full lyre, and swell the tide of song:
But lawless Force and meagre Want are there,
And the quick-darting eye of restless Fear,
While cold Oblivion, 'mid thy ruins laid,
Folds his dank wing beneath the ivy shade.
the hardy mountain race descended from the Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold :
Fierce, hardy, proud, in conscious freedom bold, He stared at the Pacific-and all his men
Those stormy seats the warrior Druses hold; Looked at each other with a wild surmise
From Norman blood their lofty line they trace,
Their lion-courage proves their generous race.
They, only they, while all around them kneel
In sullen homage to the Thracian steel, Happy is England ! I could be content
Teach their pale despot's waning moon to sear To see no other verdure than its own ;
The patriot terrors of the mountain spear. To feel no other breezes than are blown
Yes, valorous chiefs, while yet your sabres shine, Through its tall woods with high romances blent ;
The native guard of feeble Palestine,
Oh, ever thus, by no vain boast dismayed,
Defend the birthright of the cedar shade ! To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
What though no more for you the obedient gale And half forget what world or worldling meant.
Swells the white bosom of the Tyrian sail ; Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters ;
Though now no more your glittering marts unfold Enough their simple loveliness for me ;
Sidonian dyes and Lusitanian gold ;
Though not for you the pale and sickly slave
Forgets the light in Ophir's wealthy cave ;
Yet yours the lot, in proud contentment blest,
No robber-rage the ripening harvest knows;
And unrestrained the generous vintage flows :
Nor less your sons to manliest deeds aspire ; DR REGINALD HEBER, bishop of Calcutta, was And Asia's mountains glow with Spartan fire. born April 21, 1783, at Malpas in Cheshire, where So when, deep sinking in the rosy main, his father had a living. In his seventeenth year
The western sun forsakes the Syrian plain, he was admitted of Brazen-nose College, Oxford, His watery rays refracted lustre shed, and soon distinguished himself by his classical
And pour their latest light on Carmel's head. attainments. In 1802 he obtained the university
Yet shines your praise, amid surrounding gloom, prize for Latin hexameters, his subject being the
As the lone lamp that trembles in the tomb);
For few the souls that spurn a tyrant's chain, Carmen Seculare. Applying himself to English And small the bounds of freedom's scanty reign. verse, Heber, in 1803, composed his poem of Palestine, which has been considered the best In 1805 Heber took his degree of B.A., and the prize-poem the university has ever produced. same year gained the prize for the English essay. Parts of it were set to music ; and it had an exten- He was elected to a fellowship at All Souls' sive sale. Previous to its recitation in the theatre College, and soon after went abroad, travelling of the university, the young author read it to Sir over Germany, Russia, and the Crimea. On his Walter Scott, then on a visit to Oxford ; and Scott return he took his degree of A.M. at Oxford. He observed, that in the verses on Solomon's Temple, appeared again as a poet in 1809, his subject being one striking circumstance had escaped him- Europe, or Lines on the Present War. The namely, that no tools were used in its construction. struggle in Spain formed the predominating theme of Heber's poem. He was now presented to the
Salvation ! oh, salvation ! living of Hodnet ; and at the same time he married
The joyful sound proclaim, Amelia, daughter of Dr Shipley, dean of St Asaph.
Till each remotest nation
Has learned Messiah's name.
From Bishop Heber's Journal.
If thou wert by my side, my love, of sermons being the Personality and Office of the
How fast would evening sail Christian Comforter. He was an occasional con
In green Bengala's palmy grove, tributor to the Quarterly Review; and in 1822 he
Listening the nightingale ! wrote a copious life of Jeremy Taylor, and a review
If thou, my love, wert by my side, of his writings, for a complete edition of Taylor's
My babies at my knee, works. Contrary to the advice of prudent friends, How gaily would our pinnace glide he accepted, in 1823, the difficult task of bishop of O'er Gunga's mimic sea ! Calcutta, and no man could have entered on his
I miss thee at the dawning gray, mission with a more Christian or apostolic spirit.
When on our deck reclined, His whole energies appear to have been devoted
In careless ease my limbs I lay, to the propagation of Christianity in the East. In
And woo the cooler wind. 1826 the bishop made a journey to Travancore, accompanied by the Rev. Mr Doran, of the I miss thee when by Gunga's stream Church Missionary Society. On the ist of April
My twilight steps I guide, he arrived at Trichinopoly, and had twice service
But most beneath the lamp's pale beam on the day following. He went the next day,
I miss thee from my side. Monday, at six o'clock in the morning, to see the I spread my books, my pencil try, native Christians in the fort, and attend divine
The lingering noon to cheer, service. He then returned to the house of a friend, But miss thy kind approving eye, and went into the bath preparatory to his dressing
Thy meek attentive ear. for breakfast. His servant, conceiving he re
But when of morn or eve the star mained too long, entered the room, and found the bishop dead at the bottom of the bath. Medical
Beholds me on my knee,
I feel, though thou art distant far, assistance was applied, but every effort proved inefíectual ; death had been caused by apoplexy.
Thy prayers ascend for me. The loss of so valuable a public man, equally Then on ! then on! where duty leads, beloved and venerated, was mourned by all classes,
My course be onward still ; and every honour was paid to his memory. At O'er broad Hindostan's sultry meads, the time of his death he was only in his forty-third
O'er bleak Almorah's hill. year--a period too short to have developed those
That course, nor Delhi's kingly gates, talents and virtues which, as one of his admirers
Nor wild Malwah detain ; in India remarked, rendered his course in life,
For sweet the bliss us both awaits from the moment that he was crowned with aca
By yonder western main. demical honours till the day of his death, one track of light, the admiration of Britain and of India. Thy towers, Bombay, gleam bright, they say, The widow of Dr Heber published a Memoir of
Across the dark-blue sea ; his Life, with selections from his letters; and
But ne'er were hearts so light and gay
As then shall meet in thee !
The Rev. CHARLES WOLFE (1791-1823), a
native of Dublin, may be said to have earned a From India's coral strand,
literary immortality by one short poem. Reading Where Afric's sunny fountains
in the Edinburgh Annual Register a description Roll down their golden sand ;
of the death and interment of Sir John Mo on From many an ancient river,
the battle-field of Corunna, this amiable young From many a palmy plain,
| poet turned it into verse with such taste, pathos, They call us to deliver
and even sublimity, that his poem has obtained Their land from error's chain.
an imperishable place in our literature. The
subject was attractive, the death of a brave and What though the spicy breezes
popular general on the field of battle, and his Blow soft on Ceylon's isle,
burial by his companions-in-arms—and the poet Though every prospect pleases,
himself dying when young, beloved and lamented And only man is vile;
by his friends, gave additional interest to the proIn vain, with lavish kindness,
duction. The ode was published anonymously in The gifts of God are strown, The heathen, in his blindness,
an Irish newspaper in 1817, and was ascribed to Bows down to wood and stone.
various authors; Shelley considering it not unlike
a first draught by Campbell. In 1841 it was Shall we whose souls are lighted
claimed by a Scottish student and teacher, who With wisdom from on high ;
ungenerously and dishonestly sought to pluck the Shall we to man benighted
laurel from the grave of its owner. The friends The lamp of lise deny?
of Wolfe came forward, and established his right
beyond any further question or controversy; and the new claimant was forced to confess his impos
Song: ture, at the same time expressing his contrition
The following pathetic lyric is adapted to the Irish air Grasafor his misconduct. Wolfe was a curate in the machree. Wolfe said he on one occasion sung the air over and established church, and died of consumption. His
over till he burst into a flood of tears, in which mood he composed literary remains have been published, with a memoir of his life by Archdeacon Russell.
If I had thought thou couldst have died,
I might not weep for thee ;
But I forgot, when by thy side,
That thou couldst mortal be :
It never through my mind had passed
The time would e'er be o'er,
And I on thee should look my last,
And thou shouldst smile no more! O'er the grave where our hero we buried.
And still upon that face I look, We buried him darkly at dead of night,
And think 'twill smile again ; The sods with our bayonets turning,
And still the thought I will not brook, By the struggling moonbeams' misty light,
That I must look in vain ! And the lantern dimly burning.
But when I speak-thou dost not say
What thou ne'er left'st unsaid ; No useless coffin inclosed his breast,
And now I feel, as well I may,
Sweet Mary! thou art dead !
If thou wouldst stay e'en as thou art,
All cold and all serene-
I still might press thy silent heart,
And where thy smiles have been !
While e'en thy chill bleak corse I have,
Thou seemest still mine own; We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed,
But there I lay thee in thy graveAnd smoothed down his lonely pillow,
And I am now alone! That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
I do not think, where'er thou art, And we far away on the billow !
Thou hast forgotten me;
And I, perhaps, may soothe this heart, Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,
In thinking too of thee: And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him
Yet there was round thee such a dawn But little he 'll reck, if they let him sleep on
Of light ne'er seen before, In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
As fancy never could have drawn,
And never can restore ! But half of our heavy task was done,
When the clock struck the hour for retiring ; And we heard the distant and random gun
THE DIBDINS-JOHN COLLINS. That the foe was sullenly firing.
CHARLES DIBDIN (1745-1814) was celebrated Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
as a writer of naval songs, 'the solace of sailors From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
in long voyages, in storms, and in battles,' and he We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone
was also an actor and dramatist. His sea-songs But we left him alone with his glory!
are said to exceed a thousand in number! His The passage in the Edinburgh Annual Register and song-writers, but inferior to the elder Dibdin.
sons, Charles and Thomas, were also dramatists (1808) on which Wolfe founded his ode was written THOMAS DIBDIN (1771-1841) published his Reby Southey, and is as follows: Sir John Moore miniscences, containing curious details of theatrical had often said that if he was killed in battle, he affairs. We subjoin two of the sea-songs of the wished to be buried where he fell. The body was elder Charles Dibdin : removed at midnight to the citadel of Corunna. A grave was dug for him on the rampart there by a body of the 9th regiment, the aides-de-camp
Tom Bowling attending by turns. No coffin could be procured,
Here, a sheer hulk, lies poor Tom Bowling, and the officers of his staff wrapped the body, The darling of our crew; dressed as it was, in a military cloak and blankets. No more he 'll hear the tempest howling, The interment was hastened; for about eight in For Death has broached him to. the morning some firing was heard, and the officers His form was of the manliest beauty, feared that if a serious attack were made, they His heart was kind and soft ; should be ordered away, and not suffered to pay
Faithful below he did his duty, him their last duty. The officers of his family bore
But now he's gone aloft. him to the grave; the funeral-service was read by
Tom never from his word departed, the chaplain ; and the corpse was covered with
His virtues were so rare ; earth. In 1817 Wolfe took orders, and was first
His friends were many and true-hearted, curate of Ballyclog, in Tyrone, and afterwards of
His Poll was kind and fair : Donoughmore. His incessant attention to his
And then he 'd sing so blithe and jolly ; duties, in a wild and scattered parish, not only Ah, many 's the time and oft ! quenched his poetical enthusiasm, but hurried him But mirth is turned to melancholy, to an untimely grave.
For Tom is gone aloft.