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The fern was press'd beneath her hair,
She listen'd to the tale divine, The dark-green Adder's Tongue* was there; And closer still the Babe she press'd; And still as past the flagging sea-gale weak,
And while she cried, the Babe is mine! The long lank leaf bow'd fluttering o'er her cheek. The milk rush'd faster to her breast :
Joy rose within her, like a summer's morn; Chat pallid cheek was flush'd : her eager look Peace, Peace on Earth! the Prince of Peace is born Beam'd eloquent in slumber! Inly wrought, Imperfect sounds her moving lips forsook,
Thou Mother of the Prince of Peace, And her bent forehead work'd with troubled
Poor, simple, and of low estate! thought.
That Strife should vanish, Battle cease,
O why should this thy soul elate?
Did'st thou ne'er love to hear of Fame and Glory?
And is not War a youthful King,
A stately Hero clad in mail ?
Beneath his footsteps laurels spring ;
Him Earth's majestic monarchs hail Here, where stands God's altar droad,
Their Friend, their Play-mate! and his bold bright eye Stood his parents' marriage-bed.
Compels the maiden's love-confessing sigh Here first, an infant to her breast,
“Tell this in some more courtly scene, Him his loving mother prest;
To maids and youths in robes of state ! And kiss'd the babe, and bless'd the day,
I am a woman poor and mean, And pray'd as mothers use 10 pray :
And therefore is my Soul elate.
War is a ruffian, all with guilt defiled, “ Vouchsafe him health, O God, and give
That from the aged Father tears his Child !
He kills the Sire and starves the Son ;
The Husband kills, and from her board Yet stirring blood in Freedom's cause
Steals all his Widow's toil had won ; A spirit to his rocks akin,
Plunders God's world of beauty; rends away The eye of the Hawk, and the fire therein! All safety from the Night, all comfort from the Day
To Nature and to Holy writ
“ Then wisely is my soul elate,
That Strife should vanish, Battle cease :
The Mother of the Prince of Peace.
He knew not that his chosen hand,
ON THE DENIAL OF IMMORTALITY
If dead, we cease to be ; if total gloom
Swallow up life's brief flash for aye, we fare THE Shepherds went their hasty way,
As summer-gusts, of sudden birth and doom,
Whose sound and motion not alone declare,
But are their whole of being! If the Breath
Be Life itself, and not its task and tent,
If even a soul like Milton's can know death,
O Man! thou vessel, purposeless, unmeant, A Mother's song the Virgin-Mother sung.
Yet drone-hive strange of phantom purposes !
Surplus of Nature's dread activity,
Which, as she gazed on some nigh-finish'd vase, Around them shone, suspending night!
Retreating slow, with meditative pause,
She form'd with restless hands unconsciously! Blest Angels heralded the Savior's birth,
Blank accident! nothing's anomaly! Glory to God on high! and peace on Earth.
If rootless thus, thus substanceless thy state,
Go, weigh thy dreams, and be thy Hopes, thy Fears, A botanical nestake. The plant which the poet bere de- The counter-weights !—Thy Laughter and thy Tears scribes is called the Hart's Tongue.
Mean but themselves, each fittest to create,
And to repay the other! Why rejoices
But soon did righteous Heaven her guilt pursue! Thy heart with hollow joy for hollow good ? Where'er with wilder'd steps she wander'd pale.
Why cowl thy face beneath the mourner's hood, Still Edmund's image rose to blast her view,
Image of image, Ghost of Ghostly Elf,
These costless shadows of thy shadowy self? Nor all that lured her faith from Edmund's arms Be sad! be glad! be neither! seek, or shun!
Could lull the wakeful horror of her mind.
Go, Traveller! tell the tale with sorrow fraught
Some tearful maid, perchance, or blooming youth
That Riches cannot pay for Love or Trutn.
IMITATED FROM SCHILLER.
NEVER, believe me,
OR, A VISION IN A DREAM.
[The following fragment is here published at the request of a Lo! Phoebus the Glorious descends from his Throne! poet of great and deserved celebrity, and, as far as the Author's They advance, they float in, the Olympians all! own opinions are concerned, rather as a psychological curiosity, With Divinities fills my
than on the ground of any supposed poetic merits. Terrestrial Hall !
In the summer of the year 1797, the Author, then in ill health, had retired to a lonely farm-houge between Porlock and Linton,
on the Exmoor confines of Somerset and Devonshire. In conHow shall I yield you
sequence of a slight indisposition, an anodyne bad been preDue entertainment,
scribed, from the effects of which he fell asleep in his chair at Celestial Quire ?
the moment that he was reading the following sentence, or Me rather, bright guests! with your wings of up Here the Khan Kubla commanded a palace to be built, and a
words of the same substance, in Purchas's “ Pilgrimage :". buoyance
stately garden thereunto; and thus ten miles of fertile ground Bear aloft to your homes, to your banquets of joyance, were inclosed with a wall.” The author continued for abou' That the roofs of Olympus may echo my lyre! .
three hours in a profound sleep, at least of the external genses, Ha! we mount! on their pinions they waft up my Soul! during which time he has the most vivid confidence that he could
not have composed less than from two to three hundred lines; if
that indeed can be called composition in which all the images O give me the Nectar!
rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the O fill me the Bowl!
correspondent expressions, without any sensation, or conscious Give him the Nectar!
ness of effort. On awaking he appeared to himself to have a
distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and Pour out for the Poet,
paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here Hebe! pour free!
preserved. At this moment he was unfortunately called out by Quicken his eyes with celestial dew,
a person on business from Porlock, and detained by him above That Styx the detested no more he may view,
an hour, and on his return to his room, found, to his no small
surprise and mortification, that though he still retained some And like one of us Gods may conceit him to be!
vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, Thanks, Hebe! I quaff it! Io Pæan, I cry!
yet, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered lines and The Wine of the Immortals
images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the Forbids me to die!
surface of a stream into which a stone had been cast, but, alas!
Then all the charm
Vanishes, and a thousand circlets spread,
And ench misshapes the other. Stay awhile,
The stream will soon renew its smoothness, soon
The visions will return! And lo, he stays,
And soon the fragments dim of lovely forins
Come trembling back, unite, and now once more Near the lone pile with ivy overspread,
The pool becomes a mirror. Fast by the rivulet's sleep-persuading sound,
Yet from the still surviving recollections in his mind, the Autho Where "sleeps the moonlight” on yon verdant bed has frequently purposed to finish for himself what had been O humbly press that consecrated ground ! originally, as it were, given to him. Eapepov adiev aow.
but the to-morrow is yet to come. For there does Edmund rest, the learned swain!
As a contrast to this vision, I have annexed a fragment of a And there his spirit most delights to rove:
very different character, describing with equal fidelity tho
dream of pain and disease. Note to the first Edition, 1916.) Young Edmund! famed for each harmonious strain, And the sore wounds of ill-requited love.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
And loads the west-wind with its soft perfume, Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
Since in me, round me, everywhere,
In anguish and in agony,
Up-starting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me :
And whom I scorn'd, those only strong!
Still baffled, and yet burning still! And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seeth- Desire with lothing strangely mix'd, ing,
On wild or hateful objects fix'd.
And shame and terror over all!
Deeds to be hid which were not hid,
My own or others', still the same
Sadden'd and stunn'd the coming day.
Distemper's worst calamity.
The third night, when my own loud scream The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Had waked me from the fiendish dream,
O'ercome with sufferings strange and wild,
And having thus by tears subdued
My anguish to a milder mood, A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
Such punishments, I said, were due A damsel with a dulcimer"
To natures deepliest staind with sin. In a vision once I saw :
For aye entempesting anew It was an Abyssinian maid,
The unfathomable hell within, And on her dulcimer she play'd,
The horror of their deeds to view, Singing of Mount A bora.
To know and lothe, yet wish and do! Could I revive within me
Such griefs with such men well agree,
But wherefore, wherefore fall on me?
And whom I love, I love indeed.
TO "FIRE, FAMINE, AND SLAUGHTER."
[See page 26)
At the house of a gentleman, who by the principles THE PAINS OF SLEEP.
and corresponding virtues of a sincere Christian con
secrates a cultivated genius and the favorable acciEre on my bed my limbs I lay,
dents of birth, opulence, and splendid connexions, it It hath not been my use to pray
was my good fortune to meet, in a dinner-party, with With moving lips or bended knees;
more men of celebrity in science or polite literature, But silently, by slow degrees,
than are commonly found collected round the same My spirit I to Love compose,
table. In the course of conversation, one of the par. In humble Trust mine eye-lids close,
ty reminded an illustrious Poet, then present, of some With reverential resignation,
verses which he had recited that morning, and which No wish conceived, no thought expressid ! had appeared in a newspaper under the name of a Only a sense of supplication,
War-Eclogue, in which Fire, Famine, and Slaughter A sense o'er all my soul imprest
were introduced as the speakers. The gentleman so That I am weak, yet not unblest,
addressed replied, that he was rather surprised that
none of us should have noticed or heard of the poem, and strengthens it. But the more intense and insane
After the recitation, our amiable host observed, common sailors, each speaking of some one who had that in his opinion Mr. ***** had overrated the merits wronged or offended him: that the first with appaof the poetry; but had they been tenfold greater, rent violence had devoted every part of his adversathey could not have compensated for that malignity ry's body and soul to all the horrid phantoms and of heart, which could alone have prompted senti- fantastic places that ever Quevedo dreamt of, and ments so atrocious. I perceived that my illustrious this in a rapid flow of those outré and wildly-comfriend became greatly distressed on my account; but bined execrations, which too often with our lower fortunately I was able to preserve fortitude and press classes serve for escape-valves to carry off the excess ence of mind enough to take up the subject without of their passions, as so much superfluous steam that exciting even a suspicion how nearly and painfully would endanger the vessel if it were retained. The it interested me.
other, on the contrary, with that sort of calmness of What follows, is substantially the same as I then tone which is to the ear what the paleness of anger replied, but dilated and in language less colloquial. is to the eye, shall simply say, "If I chance to be It was not my intention, I said, to justify the publi- made boatswain, as I hope I soon shall, and can but cation, whatever its author's feelings might have once get that fellow under my hand (and I shall be been at the time of composing it. That they are upon the watch for him), l'll tickle his pretty skin! calculated to call forth so severe a reprobation from I wont hurt him! oh no! I'll only cut the a good man, is not the worst feature of such poems. the liver!" I dare appeal to all present, which of the Their moral deformity is aggravated in proportion to two they would regard as the least deceptive sympthe pleasure which they are capable of affording tom of deliberate malignity ? nay, whether it would to vindictive, turbulent, and unprincipled readers. surprise them to see the first fellow, an hour or two Could it be supposed, though for a moment, that the afterward, cordially shaking hands with the pery author seriously wished what he had thus wildly im- man, the fractional parts of whose body and sout he agined, even the attempt to palliate an inhumanity so had been so charitably disposing of; or even perhaps monstrous would be an insult to the hearers. But it risking his life for him. What language Shakspeare seemed to me worthy of consideration, whether the considered characteristic of malignant disposition, we mood of mind, and the general state of sensations, see in the speech of the good-natured Gratiano, who in which a Poet produces such vivid and fantastic spoke “an infinite deal of nothing more than any images, is likely to coexist, or is even compatible, man in all Venice ;" with that gloomy and deliberate ferocity which a serious wish to realize them would presuppose. It
-Too wild, too rude and bold of voice ! had been often observed, and all my experience the skipping spirit, whose thoughts and words recip tended to confirm the observation, that prospects of rocally ran away with each other ; pain and evil to others, and, in general, all deep feel. ings of revenge, are commonly expressed in a few
O be thou damn'd, inexorable dog' words, ironically tame, and mild. The mind under
And for thy life let justice be accused! so direful and fiend-like an influence seems to take a and the wild fancies that follow, contrasted with Shy. morbid pleasure in contrasting the intensity of its lock's tranquil “ I stand here for law." wishes and feelings, with the slightness or levity of Or, to take a case more analogous to the present the expressions by which they are hinted; and in- subject, should we hold it either fair or charitable 10 deed feelings so intense and solitary, if they were believe it to have been Dante's serious wish, that all not precluded (as in almost all cases they would be) the persons mentioned by him, (many recently deby a constitutional activity of fancy and association, parted, and some even alive at the time), should ac and by the specific joyousness combined with it, tually suffer the fantastic and horrible punishments would assuredly themselves preclude such activity. to which he has sentenced them in his Hell and Passion, in its own quality, is the antagonist of ac- Purgatory? Or what shall we say of the passages tion ; though in an ordinary and natural degree the in which Bishop Jeremy Taylor anticipates the state former alternates with the latter, and thereby revives of those who, vicious themselves, have been ik?
cause of vice and misery to their fellow-creatures ?
l'in wae to think upon yon den, Could we endure for a moment to think that a spirit,
Ev'n for your sake! like Bishop Taylor's, burning with Christian love; I need not say that these thoughts, which are here that a mari constitutionally overflowing with plea- dilated, were in such a company only rapidly sug. surable kindliness ; who scarcely even in a casual gested. Our kind host smiled, and with a courteous illustration introduces the image of woman, child, or compliment observed, that the defence was too good bird, but he embalms the thought with so rich a for the cause. My voice faltered a little, for I was tenderness, as makes the very words seem beauties somewhat agitated; though not so much on my own and fragments of poetry from a Euripides or Simo- acco as for the uneasiness that so kind and nides ;-can we endure to think, that a man so na-friendly a man would feel from the thought that he tured and so disciplined, did at the time of composing had been the occasion of distressing me. At length this horrible picture, attach a sober feeling of reality I brought out these words : “ I must now confess, to the phrases ? or that he would have described in Sir! that I am author of that Poem. It was written the same tone of justification, in the same luxuriant some years ago. I do not attempt to justify my past flow of phrases, the tortures about to be inflicted on self
, young as I then was; but as little as I would a living individual by a verdict of the Star-Chamber? now write a similar poem, so far was I even then or the still more atrocious sentences executed on the from imagining, that the lines would be taken as Scotch anti-prelatists and schismatics, at the com- more or less than a sport of fancy. At all events, if mand, and in some instances under the very eye of I know my own heart, there was never a moment the Duke of Lauderdale, and of that wretched bigot in my existence in which I should have been more who afterwards dishonored and forfeited the throne ready, had Mr. Pitt's person heen in hazard, to interof Great Britain ? Or do we not rather feel and un- pose my own body, and defend his life at the risk of derstand, that these violent words were mere bubbles, my own.” flashes and electrical apparitions, from the magic I have prefaced the Poem with this anecdote, becaldron of a fervid and ebullient fancy, constantly cause to have printed it without any remark might fuelled by an unexampled opulence of language ? well have been understood as implying an uncondi.
Were I now to have read by myself for the first tional approbation on my part, and this after many time the Poem in question, my conclusion, I fully years' consideration. But if it be asked why I rebelieve, would be, that the writer must have been published it at all? I answer, that the Poem had some man of warm feelings and active fancy; that been attributed at different times to different other he had painted to himself the circumstances that ac- persons; and what I had dared beget, I thought it company war in so many vivid and yet fantastic neither manly nor honorable not to dare father. forms, as proved that neither the images nor the From the same motives I should have published feelings were the result of observation, or in any perfect copies of two Poems, the one entitled The way derived from realities. I should judge, that they Devil's Thoughts, and the other The Two Round were the product of his own seething imagination, Spaces on the Tomb-Stone, but that the three first and therefore impregnated with that pleasurable ex. stanzas of the former, which were worth all the rest ultation which is experienced in all energetic exer- of the poem, and the best stanza of the remainder, tion of intellectual power; that in the same mood were written by a friend of deserved celebrity; and he had generalized the causes of the war, and then because there are passages in both, which might personified the abstract, and christened it by the have given offence to the religious feelings of certain name which he had been accustomed to hear most readers. I myself indeed see no reason why vulgar often associated with its management and measures. superstitions, and absurd conceptions that deform the I should guess that the minister was in the author's pure faith of a Christian, should possess a greater mind at the moment of composition, as completely immunity from ridicule than stories of witches, or aralis, dvaruosapkos, as Anacreon's grasshopper, and the fables of Greece and Rome. But there are that he had as little notion of a real person of flesh those who deem it profaneness and irreverence to and blood,
call an ape an ape, if it but wear a monk's cowl on Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb,
its head; and I would rather reason with this weak
ness than offend it. as Milton had in the grim and terrible phantoms (half The passage from Jeremy Taylor to which I reperson, half allegory) which he has placed at the ferred, is found in his second Sermon on Christ's gates of Hell. I concluded by observing, that the Advent to Judgment; which is likewise the second Poem was not calculated to excite passion in any in his year's course of sermons. Among many re mind, or to make any impression except on poetic markable passages of the same character in those readers; and that from the culpable levity, betrayed discourses, I have selected this as the most so. “But at the close of the Eclogue by the grotesque union when this Lion of the tribe of Judah shall appear, of epigrammatic wit with allegoric personification, then Justice shall strike and Mercy shall not hold in the allusion to the most fearful of įhoughts, I her hands ; she shall strike sore strokes, and Pity should conjecture that the “ rantin' Bardie," instead shall not break the blow As there are treasures of of really believing, much less wishing, the fate spo- good things, so hath God a treasure of wrath and ken of in the last line, in application to any human fury, and scourges and scorpions ; and then shall be individual, would shrink from passing the verdict produced the shame of Lust and the malice of Envy, even on the Devil himself, and exclaim with poor and the groans of the oppressed and the persecutions Burns,
of the saints, and the cares of Covetousness and the But fare ye weel, auld Nickie-ben!
troubles of Ambition, and the indolence of trailors Oh! wad ye tak a thought an' men'!
and the violences of rebels, and the rage of anger and Ye aiblins might dinna kenStill hae á stakethe uneasiness of impatience, and the restlessness of