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To Mary in Heaven.

209

courted his acquaintance. He was taken to Edinburgh, fêted, petted—and spoiled. Lords and ladies who had invited him to their houses soon neglected him, or, when they met him, passed over to the other side of the street. What wonder, then, that in the bitterness of disappointed hope, he should speak too freely about freedom, and be voted as one who was to be kept down! When he failed in that farm for which, by their toadyism, they unfitted him, they made him an exciseman, and told him if he would only lick-spittle their order, he might hope to rise to the rank of a supervisor. He couldn't do it ; the natural dignity of his genius prevented him. Burns did not “boo and boo” himself into favour, as he might have done ; his true genius soared above even this nationality, and he was given to understand that his hopes of preferment were blasted—nay, his continuance in office was made dependent on his silence. He did not survive this degradation long; he never held up his head again. He died in the summer of 1796; and thenthe lion dead, uprose the chorus of repentant asses! All Scotland claimed him for her own.]

Thou lingering star with lessening ray

That lov'st to greet the early morn!
Again thou usherest in the day,

My Mary from my soul was torn!
O Mary! dear departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest ?
See'st thou thy lover lowly laid ?

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast ?

That sacred hour can I forget ?

Can I forget the hallowed grove,
Where by the winding Ayr, we met

To live one day of parting love ?
ETERNITY will not efface

Those records dear of transports past !
Thy image at our last embrace-

Ah ! little thought we, 'twas our last!
Ayr, gurgling, kissed his pebbled shore,

O'er-hung with wild woods, thickening green;
The fragrant birch, and hawthorn hoar,

Twined amorous round the raptured scene.
The flowers sprang wanton to be pressed ;

The birds sang love on every spray ;
Till, too, too soon, the glowing west

Proclaimed the speed of winged day.
Still o'er these scenes my memory wakes,

And fondly broods with miser care ;
Time but the impression deeper makes,-

As streams their channels deeper wear.
My Mary! dear departed shade

Where is thy blissful place of rest ?
See'st thou thy lover lowly laid ?

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast ?

P

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46.—TO THE NIGHTINGALE.

JOHN KEATS.

[See page 167.] My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains

One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness-
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,

In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,

Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O for a draught of vintage, that hath been

Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country-green,

Dance, and Provençal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,

And purple-stainèd mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,

And with thee fade away into the forest dim :
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget

What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret,

Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow

And leaden-eyed despairs ;
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,

Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,

Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,

Though the dull brain perplexes and retards :
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;

But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown

Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways. I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,

Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,

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But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet

Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The
grass,

the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves;

And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,

The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and for many a time

I have been half in love with easeful death,
Call’d him soft names in many a musèd rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;

Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad

In such an ecstasy !
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain-

To thy high requiem become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!

No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard

In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;

The same that oft-times hath
Charm’d 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!
Adieu ! the fancy cannot cheat so well

As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep

In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream ?

Fled is that music :-do I wake or sleep ?

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47.—THE COMET.

JAMES HOGG. [James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, was born on the anniversary of the natal day of Robert Burns, a coincidence he was proud of referring to, January 25, 1782; fortunately for the young poet, some of his fugitive pieces, written at the age of eighteen, were submitted to Sir Walter Scott, who encouraged him to proceed. A volume of ballads, “The Forest Minstrel,” was subsequently published; but it was not until he produced his “Queen's Wake" that his fame was established. He became a contributor to “Blackwood's Magazine," and John Wilson, by introducing him frequently into the “Noctes," put the key-stone upon his popularity. Hogg wrote some magnificent songs. His taste, however, led him more to romance and legendary story: to fairy lore and the realms of fancy. These subjects he treated with the feeling of a poet and the imagination of a painter. His “Kilmeny” is a fairy tale worthy of Spenser. If he had not the strength of Burns, he was more playful and inventive, and as a master of rhythm he was unequalled. He died at Altrive Lake, on the Yarrow, November, 1835.]

STRANGER of Heaven! I bid thee hail!

Shred from the pall of glory riven,
That flashest in celestial gale,

Broad pennon of the King of Heaven !
Art thou the flag of woe and death,

From angel's ensign-staff unfurled ?
Art thou the standard of His wrath,

Waved o'er a sordid, sinful world ?
No, from that pure pellucid beam,

That erst o'er plains of Bethlehem shone,
No latent evil we can deem,

Bright herald of the eternal throne !
Whate'er portends thy front of fire,

Thy streaming locks so lovely pale-
Or
peace

to man, or judgment dire,
Stranger of Heaven! I give thee hail !
Where hast thou roamed these thousand years?

Why sought these polar paths again,
From wilderness of glowing spheres,

To fling thy vesture o'er the Wain ?
And when thou scal’st the milky way-

And vanishest from human view,
A thousand worlds shall hail thy ray

Through wilds of yon empyreal blue !
0! on thy rapid prow to glide !

To coast through fields of air with thee,
And plough the twinkling stars aside,

Like foam-bells on a tranquil sea!
To brush the embers from the sun,

The icicles from off the pole;
Then far to other systems run,

Where other moons and planets roll!
Stranger of Heaven! O let thine eye

Smile on a rapt enthusiast's dream;
Eccentric as thg course on high,

And airy as thine ambient beam!

The Ministry of May.

213

And long, long may thy silver ray

Our northern arch at eve adorn;
Then, wheeling to the east away,

Light the grey portals of the morn.

48.—THE MINISTRY OF MAY.

T. K. HERVEY. [Thomas Kibble Hervey was a native of Manchester, born 1804. For many years he was the editor of the Atheneum. He was a frequent contributor to the annuals, and published “ Australia, and other Poems,” 1824; “The Poetical Sketch Book,” 1829, “Illustrations of Modern Sculpture,” 1832, “The English Helicon," 1841, &c. Died 1859.]

The earth is one great temple, made

For worship everywhere;
And its Howers are the bells, in glen and glade,

That ring the heart to prayer.
A solemn preacher is the breeze,

At noon or twilight dim-
The ancient trees give homilies,

The river hath a hymn.
For the city bell takes seven days

To reach the townsman's ear,
But he who kneels in Nature's ways

Hath Sabbath all the year;
A worship with the cowslip born,
For March is Nature's Sabbath morn-
And hawthorn-chimes, with higher day,
Call
up

the votaries of May !
Out, then, into her holy ways !

The lark is far on high;
Oh! let no other song than thine

Be sooner in the sky!
If beauty to the beautiful

Itself be gladness, given,
No happier being should move than thou

Beneath the vault of heaven.
With thee 'tis spring, as with the world, -

When hopes make sport of fears,
And clouds that gather round the heart

Fall off at once in tears,
And in thy spirit, one by one,
The flowers are gathering to the sun.
Away unto the woodland paths !

And yield that heart of thine
To hear the low, sweet oracles

At every living shrine !

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