Page images

shortness of his busy little career, and the ! or not, that as readers of all ages, if they are disappointments and weaknesses by which it any way worth pleasing, have little glimpses is beset, with a genuine admiration of the and occasional visitations of those truths which great capacities he unfolds, and the high des- longer experience only renders more familiar, tiny to which he seems to be reserved. works so no works ever sink so deep into amiable out a very beautiful and engaging picture, minds, or recur so often to their rememboth of the affections by which Life is en- brance, as those which embody simple, and deared, the trials to which it is exposed, and solemn, and reconciling truths, in emphalic the pure and peaceful enjoyments with which and elegant language-and anticipate, as it it may often be filled.

were, and bring out with effect, those salu. This, after all, we believe, is the tone of tary lessons which it seems to be the great true wisdom and true virtue—and that to end of our life to inculcate. The pictures which all good natures draw nearer, as they of violent passion and terrible emotion approach the close of life, and come to act the breathing characters, the splendid imless, and to know and to meditate more, on agery and bewitching fancy of Shakespeare the varying and crowded scene of human ex- himself, are less frequently recalled, than istence.-When the inordinate hopes of early those great moral aphorisms in which he has youth, which provoke their own disappoint- so often ment, have been sobered down by longer ex

Told us the fashion of our own estale perience and more extended views—when the keen contentions, and eager rivalries, which

The secrets of our bosomsemployed our riper age. have expired or been and, in spite of all that may be said by grave abandoned-when we have seen, year after persons, of the frivolousness of poerry, and of year, the objects of our fiercest hostility, and of its admirers, we are persuaded that the most our fondest affections, lie down together in the memorable, and the most generally admired hallowed peace of the grave-when ordinary of all its productions, are those which are pleasures and amusements begin to be insipid, chiefly recommended by their deep practical and the gay derision which seasoned them to wisdom; and their coincidence with those appear flat and importunate-when we reflect salutary imitations with which nature herself how often we have moured and been com- seems to furnish us from the passing scenes forted—what opposite opinions we have suc- of our existence. cessively maintained and abandoned—to what The literary character of the work is akin inconsistent habits we have gradually been to its moral character; and the diction is as formed—and how frequently the objects of soft, elegant, and simple, as the sentiments our pride have proved the sources of our are generous and true. The whole piece, shame! we are naturally led to recur to the indeed, is throughout in admirable keeping; careless days of our childhood, and from that and its beauties, though of a delicate, rather distant starting place, to retrace the whole than an obtrusive character, set off each other of our career, and that of our contemporaries, to an attentive observer, by the skill with with feelings of far greater humility and indul- which they are harmonised, and the sweetgence than those by which it had been actu- ness with which they slide into each other. ally accompanied to think all vain but af- The outline, perhaps, is often rather timidly fection and honour—the simplest and cheap-drawn, and there is an occasional want of est pleasures the truest and most precious force and brilliancy in the colouring; which and generosity of sentiment the only mental we are rather inclined to ascribe to the refined superiority which ought either to be wished and somewhat fastidious taste of the artist, for or admired.

than to any defect of skill or of power. We We are aware that we have said “ some have none of the broad and blazing tints of thing too much of this;" and that our readers Scott-nor the startling contrasts of Byronwould probably have been more edified, as nor the anxious and endlessly repeated touch well as more delighted, by Mr. Rogers' text, of Southey — but something which comes than with our preachment upon it. But we much nearer to the soft and tender manner were anxious to convey to them our sense of of Campbell; with still more reserve and cauthe spirit in which this poem is written ;-and tion, perhaps, and more frequent sacrifices conceive, indeed, that what we have now of strong and popular effect, to an abhorrence said falls more strictly within the line of our of glaring beauties, and a disdain of vulgar critical duty, than our general remarks can resources. always be said to do;-because the true The work opens with a sort of epitome of character and poetical effect of the work its subject-and presents us with a brief abseems, in this instance, to depend much more stract of man's (or at least Gentleman's) life, ou its moral expression, than on any of its as marked by the four great eras of-his birth merely literary qualities.

-his coming of age-his marriage—and his The author, perhaps, may not think it any death. This comprehensive picture, with its compliment to be thus told, that his verses four compartments, is comprised in less than are likely to be greater favourites with the thirty lines.—We give the two latter scenes old than with the young ;-and yet it is no only: small compliment, we think, to say, that they are likely to be more favourites with his Soon, issuing forth, shall glitter through the trees

"And soon again shall music swell the breeze; readers every year they live :— And it is at Vestures of Nuptial white; and hymns be sung,

levents true, whether it be a compliment | And violets scatter'd round; and old and young,


In every cottage-porch with garlands green, Known by her laugh that will not be suppress'd.
Stand still to gaze, and, gazing, bless The scene ! Then before All they stand! The holy vow
While, her dark eyes declining, by his side And ring of gold, no fond illusions now,
Moves in her virgin-veil the gentle Bride.

Bind her as his! Across the threshold led, " And once, alas! nor in a distant hour,

And ev'ry tear kiss'd off as soon as shed, Another voice shall come from yonder tower! His house she enters; there to be a light When in dim chambers long black weeds are seen, Shining within, when all without is night! And weepings heard, where only joy had been; A guardian-angel o'er his life presiding, When by his children borne, and froin his door Doubling his pleasures, and his cares dividing ! Slowly departing to return no more,

How oft her eyes read his; her gentle mind, He rests in holy earth, with them that went before! To all his wishes, all his thoughts inclin'd;

* And such is Human Life! So gliding on, Still subject-even on the watch to borrow It glimmers like a meteor, and is gone!”—P;). 8—10. Mirth of his mirth, and sorrow of his sorrow.” After some general and very striking re

pp. 32, 33. flections upon the perpetual but unperceived Beautiful as this is, we think it much infegradations by which ihis mysterious being is rior to what follows; when Parental affection carried through all the stages of its fleeting comes to complete the picture of Connubial existence, the picture is resumed and expand-bliss. ed with more touching and discriminating And laughing eyes and laughing voices fill details. Infancy, for example, is thus finely Their halls with gladness. She, when all are still, delineated :

Comes and undraws the curtain as they lie

In sleep, how beautiful! He, when the sky • The hour arrives, the monient wish'd and Gleams, and ihe wood sends up iis harmony, fear'd;

When, gathering rourid his bed, they climb to share
The child is born, by many a pang endear’d. His kisses, and with genıle violence ihere
And now the mother's ear has caught his cry ; Break in upon a dream not half so fair,
Oh grant the cherub to her asking eye!

Up to the hill top leads their little feet;
He comes !-she clasps him. To her bosom press’d, or by the fores-lodge; perchance to meet
He drinks the balm of life, and drops to rest.
Her by her smile how soon the stranger knows; | The otier rustling in the sedgy mere ;

The stag.herd on its march, perchance to hear
How soon, by his, the glad discovery shows! Or to the echo near The Abbot's tree,
As to her lips she lifts the lovely boy,

That gave him back his words of pleasantryWhat answering looks of sympathy and joy! When the House stood, no merrier man than he ! He walks, he speaks. In many a broken word

And, as they wander with a keen delight, His wanis, his wishes, and his griefs are heard. If but a leveret catch their quicker sight And ever, ever to her lap he flies,

Down a green alley, or a squirrel then When rosy Sleep comes on with sweet surprise.

Climb the gnarled oak, and look and climb again, Lock'd in her arms, his arms across her flung If but a moih flit by, an acorn fall, (That name most dear for ever on his tongue),

He turns their thoughts to Him who made them all." As with soft accents round her neck he clings,

pp. 31–36. And, cheek to cheek, her lulling song she sings, " But Man is born to suffer. On the door How blest to feel the beatings of his heart,

Sickness has set her mark; and now no more Breathe his sweet breath, and kiss for kiss impart; Laughter within we hear, or wood-notes wild Watch o'er his slumbers like the brooding dove, As of a mother singing to her child. And, if she can, exhaust a mother's love !"

All now in anguish from that room retire, pp. 19, 20.

Where a young cheek glows with consuming fire, This is pursued in the same strain of ten- And innocence breathes contagion !--all but one, derness, and beauty through all its most in. The medicine cup is taken. Through the night, teresting bearings;-and then we pass to the And through the day, that with its dreary light bolder kindlings and loftier aspirations of Comes unregarded, she sits silent by, Youth.

Watching the changes with her anxious eye :

While they without, listening below, above, Then is the Age of Admiration-ihen

(Who but in sorrow know how much they love ?) Gods walks the earth, or beings more than men!

From every little noise catch hope and fear, Ha! then come thronging many a wild desire,

Exchanging still, still as they turn to hear, And high imaginings and thoughts of fire !

Whispers and sighs, and smiles all tenderness ! Then from within a voice exclaims . Aspire !' That would in vain ihe starting tear repress.'' Phantoms, that upward point, before him pass, As in the Cave aihwart ihe Wizard's glass,”' &c.

The scene, however, is not always purely We cut short this tablature, however, as

(lomestic—though all its lasting enjoyments well as the spirited sketches of impetuous

are of that origin, and look back to that con. courage and devoted love that belong to the summation. His country requires the arm of same period, to come to the joys and duties a free man! and home and all its joys must of maturer life ; which, we think, are described be left, for the patriot battle. The sanguinary with still more touching and characteristic the return is exquisite; nor do we know, any

and tumultuous part is slightly touched; But beauties. The Youth passes into this more tranquil and responsible state, of course, by heartfelt beauty, than some of those we are

where, any verses more touching and full of Marriage; and we have great satisfaction in

about to extract. recurring, with our uxorious poet, to his representation of that engaging ceremony, upon with Shricks of horror!-and a vault of Name !

* He goes, and Night comes as it never came ! which his thoughts seem to dwell with so much fondness and complacency.

And lo! when morning mocks the desolate,

Red runs the rivulet by; and at the gate "Then are they blest indeed! and swift the hours Breathless a horse without his rider stands ! Till her young Sisters wreathe her hair in flowers, But bush! .. a shout from the victorious bands ! Kindling her beauty-while, unseen, the least And on the smiles and tears! a sire restor'd! Twitches her robe, then runs behind the rest, One wears his helm-one buckles on his sword.

pp. 38, 39.

P. 24.

One hangs the wall with laurel-leaves, and all Again with honour to his hearth restor'd,
Spring to prepare the soldier's festival;

Lo, in the accustom'd chair and at the board, While She best-lov'd, till then forsaken never, Thrice greeting those that most withdraw their Clings round his neck, as she would cling for ever!

Such golden deeds lead on to golden days, (The humblest servant calling by his name),
Days of domestic peace-by him who plays He reads thanksgiving in the eyes of all,
On the great stage how uneventful thought; All met as at a holy festival !
Yer with a thousand busy projects fraught, -On the day destin'd for his funeral !
A thousand incidents that stir the mind

Lo, there the Friend, who, entering where he lay,
To pleasure, such as leaves no sting behind! Breath'd in his drowsy ear · Away, away!
Such as the heart delights in--and records

Take thou my cloak-Nay, start not, bui obeyWithin how silently-in more than words ! Take it and leave me.' And the blushing Maid, A Holyday-the frugal banquet spread

Who through the streets as through a desert stray'd; On the fresh herbage near the fountain-head And, when her dear, dear Father pass'd along, With quips and cranks—what time the wood-lark Would not be held; but, bursting through ihe throng, there

Halberd and ballle-axe-kissed him o'er and o'er; Scatters her loose notes on the sultry air,

Then turn'd and went—then sought him as before, What time the king-fisher sits perch'd below, Believing she should see his face no more!" Where, silver-bright, the water lilies blow:

pp. 48–70. A Wake-the booths whit’ming the village-green, Where Punch and Scaramouch aloft are seen;

What follows is sacred to still higher reSign beyond sign in close array unfurl'd,

membrances. Picturing at large the wonders of the world; And far and wide, over the vicar's pale,

“And now once more where most he lov'd tu be, Black hoods and scarlet crossing hill and dale, In his own fields-breathing tranquillityAll, all abroad, and music in the gale :

We hail him-nor less happy, Fox, than thee! A Wedding-dance-a dance into the night! Thee at St. Anne's, so soon of Care beguil'd, On the barn-floor when maiden-feet are light; Playful, sincere, and artless as a child ! When the young bride receives the promis'd dower, Thee, who wouldse waich a bird's nest on the spray, And flowers are flung, 'herself a fairer flower:'-- Through the green leaves exploring, day by day. A morning-visit to the poor man's shed,

How oli from grove to grove, from seat to sear, (Who would be rich while One was wanting bread ?) With thee conversing in thy lov'd retreat, When all are emulous to bring relief,

I saw the sun go down !-Ah, then 'twas thine And tears are falling fast-but not for grief: Ne'er to forget some volume half divine, (shade A Walk in Spring-Gr*ti*n, like those with thee, Shakespeare's or Dryden's—thro' the chequer'd By the heath-side (who had not envied me ?) Borne in thy hand behind thee as we stray'd When the sweet limes, so full of bees in June, And where we sale (and many a hall we made) Led us to meet beneath their boughs at noon; To read there with a fervour all thy own, And thou didst say which of the Great and Wiso, And in ihy grand and melancholy ione, Could ihey bui hear and at thy bidding rise, Some splendid passage not to thee unknown, Thou wouldst call up and question."'-pp. 42-46. Fit theme for long discourse.-Thy bell has collid!

-But in thy place among us we behold Other cares and trials and triumphs await one that resembles thee.”-pp. 52, 53. him. He fights the good fight of freedom in the senate, as he had done before in the field- The scene of closing Age is not less beautiful and with greater peril. The heavy hand of and attractive-nor less true and exemplary. power weighs upon him, and he is arraigned

" 'Tis the sixth hour. of crimes against the State.

The village-clock strikes from the disiant tower. " Like Hampden struggling in his country's cause, And to the inn spurs forward. 'Nature wears

The ploughman leaves the field; the traveller hears, The first, the foremost 10 obey the laws, The last to brook oppression! On he moves,

Her sweetest smile; the day-slar in the west Careless of blame while his own heart approves,

Yet hovering, and the thistle's down at rest. Careless of ruin-/** For the general good

“And such, his labour done, the calm He knows, 'Tis not the first time I shall shed my blood.”) Whose footsteps we have follow'd. Round him On through that gate misnamed,* through which

glows before,

An atmosphere that brightens to the last; Went Sidney, Russel, Raleigh. Cranmer, More! The light, that shines, reflected from the Past, On into twilight within walls of stone,

- And from the Future 100! Active in Thought Then to the place of trial; and alone,

Among old books, old friends; and not unsought Alone before his judges in array

By the wise stranger. In his morning hours, Stands for his life! there, on that awful day, When gentle airs stir the fresh-blowing flowers, Counsel of friends-all human help denied He muses, turning up the idle weed; All but from her who sits the pen to guide. Or prunes or grafis, or in the yellow mead Like that sweet saint who sat by Russel's sidet Watches his bees at hiving-time; and now, Under the judgment-seat!--But guiliy men The ladder resting on the orchard-bough, Triumph not always. To his hearth again, Culls the delicious fruit that hangs in air,

The purple pluin, green fig, or golden pear, * Traitor's Gate, in the Tower.

Mid sparkling eyes, and hands uplifted there. + We know of nothing at once so pathetic and so At night, when all, assembling round the fire, sublime, as the few simple sentences here alluded Closer and closer draw till they retire, to, in ihe account of Lord Russel's trial.

A tale is told of India or Japan, Lord Russel. May I have somebody write to help of merchants from Golcond or Astracan, my memory?

What uime wild Nature revell'd unrestrain'd, MIr. Altorney General. Yes, a Servant. And Sinbad voyag'd and the Caliphs reign'd ;

Lord Chief Justice. Any of your Servants shall Of some Norwegian, while the icy gale assist you in writing any thing you please for you. Rings in the shrouds and beats the iron sail, Lord Russel. My Wise is here, my Lord, to do it? Anong the snowy Alps of Polar seas

-When we recollect who Russel and his wife Immoveable--for ever there to freeze! were, and what a destiny was then impending, this Or some great Caravan, from well to well

makes the heart swell, almost to bursting. I Winding as darkness on the desert fell," &c.

[ocr errors]

Age has now

• They stand between the mountains and the sea ; Stamp'd with its signet that ingenuous brow; Awful memorials—but of whom we know not! And,''mid his old hereditary trees,

The seaman, passing, gazes from the deck. Trees he has climb'd so oft, he sits and sees The buffalo-driver, in his shaggy cloak, His children's children playing round his knees : Points to the work of magic, and moves on. Envying no more the young their energies Time was they stood along the crowded street, Than they an old man when his words are wise; Temples of Gods! and on their ample steps His a delight how pure . . . without alloy ;

What various habits, various longues beset Strong in their strength, rejoicing in their joy! The brazen gates, for prayer and sacrifice!

How many centuries did the sun go round “ Now in their turn assisting, they repay From Mount Alburnus to the Tyrrhene sea, The anxious cares of many and many a day; And now by those he loves reliev'd, restor’d,

While, by some spell render'd invisible,

Or, if approach'd, approached by him alone His very wants and weaknesses afford

Who saw as though he saw noi, they remain'd A feeling of enjoyment. In his walks,

As in the darkness of a sepulchre, Leaning

on them, how oft he stops and talks, While ihey look up! Their questions, their replies, Proclaims that Nature had resum'd her right,

Waiting the appointed time! All, all within Fresh as the welling waters, round him rise,

And taken to herself what man renounc'd; Gladdening his spirit.”—pp. 53–61.

No cornice, triglyph, or worn abacus, We have dwelt too long, perhaps, on a But with thick ivy hung or branching fern, work more calculated to make a lasting, than Their iron-brown o'erspread with brightest verdure!

“From my youth upward have I longed to tread a strong impression on the minds of its readers This classic ground. And am I here at last ? --and not, perhaps, very well calculated for Wandering at will through the long porticoes, being read at all in the pages of a Miscel. And catching, as through some majestic grove, laneous Journal. We have gratified ourselves, Now the blue ocean, and now, chaos-like, however, in again going over it; and hope we Towns like the living rock from which they grew ?

Mountains and mouniain-gulphs! and, half-way up, have not much wearied our readers. It is A cloudy region, black and desolate, followed by a very striking copy of verses Where once a slave withstood a world in arms. written at Pæstum in 1816—and more char- The air is sweet with violets, running wild acteristic of that singular and most striking Mid broken sculptures and fallen capitals ! scene, than any thing we have ever read, in Sweet as when l'ully, writing down his thoughts, prose or verse, on the subject. The ruins of Sail'd slowly by, iwo thousand years ago,

For Athens; when a ship, if north-east winds Pæstum, as they are somewhat improperly Blew from the Pæstan gardens, slack'd her course. called, consist of three vast and massive The birds are hush'd awhile; and nothing stirs, Temples, of the most rich and magnificent Save the shrill-voic'd cigala flitting round architecture; which are not ruined at all, On the rough pediment to sit and sing; but as entire as on the day when they were

Or the green lizard rustling shrough the grass, built, while there is not a vestige left of the lo vanish in the chinks that Time has made!

And up the fluted shaft, with

short quick motion, city to which they belonged! They stand in a " In such an hour as this, the sun's broad disk desert and uninhabited plain, which stretches Seen at his setting, and a flood of light for many miles from the sea to the mountains Filling the courts of these old sanctuaries, -and, after the subversion of the Roman (Gigantic shadows, broken and confus'd, greatness, had fallen into such complete obli- Across the innumerable columns flung) vion, that for nearly nine hundred years they Led by the mighty Genius of the Place!

In such an hour he came, who saw and told, had never been visited or heard of by any in- Walls of some capital city first appear’d, telligent person, till they were accidentally Half raz'd, half sunk, or scatter'd as in scorn; discovered about the middle of the last cen. -And what within them ? what but in the midst tury.--The whole district in which they are

These Three, in more than their original grandeur, situated, though once the most fertile and And. round about, no stone upon another

As if the spoiler had fallen back in fear, flourishing part of the Tyrrhene shore, has And, turning, left them to the elements." been almost completely depopulated by the Malaria; and is now, in every sense of the The volume ends with a little ballad, entiword, a vast and dreary desert. The follow- tled " The Boy of Egremond”—which is well ing lines seem to us to tell all that need be enough for a Lakish ditty, but not quite wortold, and to express all that can be felt of a thy of the place in which we meet it. scene so strange and so mournful.


( June, 1313.) Roderick : The Last of the Goths. By RJBERT SUCther, Esq., Poet-Laureate, and Member

of the Royal Spanish Academy. 410. pp. 477. London : 1814.*
This is the best, we think. and the most itself in a work of such length; but its worst
overfol of all Mr. Sou:hey's poems. It effect is that it gives an air of falsetto and
abounds with lofty sentiments, and magifi: pretension to the whole strain of the compo-

cent imagery; and contains more rich and sition, and makes us suspect the author of
comprehensive descriptions—more beautiful imposture and affectation, even when he has
pictures of pure atfection—and more im good enough cause for his agonies and rap-
Pressive representations of mental agony and tures.
exultation than we have often mei with in How is it possible, indeed, to commit our
the compass of a single volume.

sympathies, without distrust, to the hands of A work, of which all this can be said with a writer, who, after painting with infinite force justice, cannot be without great merit; and the anguish of soul which pursued the fallen ought not, it may be presumed, to be without Roderick into the retreat to which his crimes great popularity. Justice, however, has some- had driven him, proceeds with redoubled Thing more to say of it: and we are not quite emphasis to assure us, that neither his resure either that it will be very popular, or that morse nor his downfal were half so intolerait deserves to be so. It is too monotonous- ble to him, as the shocking tameness of the sea too wordy—and too uniformly stately, tragical, birds who flew round about him in that utter and emphatic. Above all

, it is now and then solitude! and were sometimes so familiar as little absurd—and pretty frequently not a to brush his cheek with their wings? little affected. The author is a poet undoubtedly; but not' And sceptre never had he felt a thought

"For his lost crown
of the highest order. There is rather more of pain ! Repentance

had no pangs to spare
of rhetoric than of inspiration about him- For trifles such as these. The loss of these
and we have oftener to admire his taste and Was a cheap penalty :.. that he had fallen
industry in borrowing and adorning, than the Down to the lowest depth of wretchedness,
boldness or felicity of his inventions. He His hope and consolation. But to lose
has indisputably a great gift of amplifying To see brute Nature scorn him, and renounce

His human station in the scale of things, . .
and exalting; but uses it, we must say, rather lis homage to the human form divine!.
unmercifully. He is never plain, concise, or Had then almighty vengeance thus reveal'd
unaffectedly simple, and is so much bent upon His punishment, and was he fallen indeed
making the most of every thiug, that he is Below fallen man,.. below redemprion's reach, ..
perpetually overdoing. His sentiments and Made lower than the beasts?”—p. 17.
situations are, of course, sometimes ordinary

This, if we were in bad humour, we should enough; but the tone of emphasis and pre. be tempted to say, was little better than driveltension is never for a moment relaxed ; and ling ;—and certainly the folly of it is greatly the most trivial occurrences, and fantastical aggravated by the tone of intense solemnity distresses, are commemorated with the same in which it is conveyed : But the worst fault vehemence and exaggeration of manner, as by far, and the most injurious to the effect of the most startling incidents, or the deepest the author's greatest beauties, is the extreme and most heart-rending disasters. This want diffuseness and verbosity of his style, and his of relief and variety is sufficiently painful of unrelenting anxiety to leave nothing to the

fancy, the feeling, or even the plain under* I have, in my time, said petulant and provo: standing of his readers—but to have every king things of Mr. Southey :-and such as I would thing set down, and impressed and hammered

But I am not conscious that I was into them, which it may any how conduce to ever unfair to his Poetry : and if I have noted his glory that they should comprehend. There risive a spirit, I think I have never failed to give never was any author, we are persuaded, who hearty and cordial praise to its beauties -- and had so great a distrust of his readers' capagenerally dwelt much more largely on the latter city, or such an unwillingness to leave any ihan the former. Few things, at all events, would opportunity of shining unimproved; and acnow grieve me more, than to think I might give cordingly, we rather think there is no author, ing. so soon after his death, any thing which might who, with the same talents and attainments

appear derogatory either 10 his character or his has been so generally thought tedious-or
genius; and therefore, though I cannot say that I acquired, on the whole, a popularity so in-
have substantially changed any of the opinions Iferior to his real deservings. On the present
have formerly expressed as to his writings, I only occasion, we have already said, his deserv-
insert in this publication my review of his lastings appear to us unusually great, and his
considerable poem : which may be taken as con; faults less than commonly conspicuous. But
veving my matured opinion of his merits—and will
Die toll, I trust, to have done no scanty or unwilling though there is less childishness and trifling
i to his great and peculiar powers.

in this, than in any of his other productions,

not say now.

« PreviousContinue »