Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Ha! com'st thou now so late to mock

A wanderer's banish'd heart forlorn, Now that his frame the lightning shock

Of sun-rays tipt with death has borne ?

From love, from friendship, country, torn, To memory's fond regrets the prey,

Vile slave, thy yellow dross I scorn! Go mix thee with thy kindred clay !

FROM SCENES OF INFANCY.

E’En as I muse, my former life returns, And youth's first ardour in my bosom burns. Like music melting in a lover's dream, I hear the murmuring song of Teviot's stream : The crisping rays, that on the waters lie, Depict a paler moon, a fainter sky; While through inverted alder-boughs below The twinkling stars with greener lustre glow.

On these fair banks thine ancient bards no more, Enchanting stream ! their melting numbers pour ; But still their viewless harps, on poplars hung, Sigh the soft airs they learn'd when time was

young : And those who tread with holy feet the ground, At lonely midnight, hear their silver sound ; When river-breezes wave their dewy wings, And lightly fan the wild enchanted strings.

What earthly hand presumes, aspiring bold, The airy harp of ancient bards to hold,

With ivy's sacred wreath to crown his head,
And lead the plaintive chorus of the dead ;
He round the poplar's base shall nightly strew
The willow's pointed leaves, of pallid blue,
And still restrain the gaze, reverted keen,
When round him deepen sighs from shapes unseen,
And o'er his lonely head, like summer bees,
The leaves self-moving tremble on the trees.
When morn's first rays fall quivering on the strand,
Thon is the time to stretch the daring hand,
And snatch it from the bending poplar pale,
The magic harp of ancient Teviotdale.

JOHN KEATS.

BORN 1796-DIED 1820.

Tuis young poet was of humble origin. He was born in

London, educated at Enfield, and apprenticed to a surgeon at the age of fifteen. John Keats was as unlucky in his early friends and patrons as he was happy in natural genius ; yet they probably all meant well and even kindly by him: and we can only regret that he became, from evil juxta-position, the foot-ball between contending partisans. Lord Byron has attributed the death of this youth to the injustice and acrimony of the critics; but whatever effect their severity may have had on his poetically-constituted and singular mind, the immediate and unequivocal cause of his death was confirmed phthisis, to which he fell a victim in Rome, in his twenty-fourth year. With the productions of Collins, Chatterton, Bruce, White, and others, full in memory, it is impossible not to be. struck by the early writings of John Keats, which, amid their wild extravagance, display much of the power, fervour, and exuberance of original genius.

EXTRACT FROM HYPERION.

Lo ! 'tis for the Father of all verse. Flush every thing that hath a vermeil hue, Let the rose glow intense, and warm the air, And let the clouds of even and of morn Float in voluptuous fleeces o'er the hills ; Let the red wine within the goblet boil, Cold as a bubbling well ; let faint-lipp'd shells, On sands, or in great deeps, vermilion turn Through all their labyrinths; and let the maid Blush keenly, as with some warm kiss surprised. Chief isle of the embowered Cyclades, Rejoice, O Delos, with thine olives green, And poplars, and lawn-shading palms, and beech, In which the Zephyr breathes the loudest song, And hazels thick, dark-stemm'd beneath the

shade : Apollo is once more the golden theme ! Where was he, when the Giant of the Sun Stood bright, amid the sorrow of his peers ? Together had he left his mother fair And his twin-sister sleeping in their bower, And in the morning twilight wandered forth Beside the osiers of a rivulet, Full ankle-deep in lilies of the vale. The nightingale had ceased, and a few stars Were lingering in the heavens, while the thrush Began calm-throated. Throughout all the isle

There was no covert, no retired cave
Unhaunted by the murmurous noise of waves,
Though scarcely heard in many a green recess.
He listen'd, and he wept, and his bright tears
Went trickling down the golden bow he held.
Thus with half-shut suffused eyes he stood,
While from beneath some cumbrous boughs hard

by,
With solemn step, an awful Goddess came,
And there was purport in her looks for him,
Which he with eager guess began to read,
Perplex'd, the while melodiously he said :
" How cam'st thou over the unfooted sea ?
Or hath that antique mien and robed form
Moved in these vales invisible till now ?
Sure I have heard those vestments sweeping o'er
The fallen leaves, when I have sat alone
In cool mid-forest. Surely I have traced
The rustle of those ample skirts about
These grassy solitudes, and seen the flowers
Lift up their heads, as still the whisper pass’d.
Goddess ! I have beheld those eyes before,
And their eternal calm, and all that face,
Or I have dream'd.”—“ Yes,” said the supreme

shape, " Thou hast dream'd of me; and awaking up, Didst find a lyre all golden by thy side, Whose strings touch'd by thy fingers, all the vast Unwearied ear of the whole universe Listen’d, in pain and pleasure, at the birth Of such new tuneful wonder. Is't not strange That thou shouldst weep, so gifted ? Tell me,

youth, What sorrow thou canst feel; for I am sad

When thou dost shed a tear : explain thy griefs
To one who in this lonely isle hath been
The watcher of thy sleep and hours of life,
From the young day when first thy infant hand
Pluck'd witless the weak flowers, till thine arm
Could bend that bow heroic to all times.
Show thy heart's secret to an ancient Power
Who hath forsaken old and sacred thrones
For prophecies of thee, and for the sake
Of loveliness new born.”-Apollo then,
With sudden scrutiny and gloomless eyes,
Thus answer'd, while his white melodious throat
Throbb’d with the syllables" Mnemosyne !
Thy name is on my tongue, I know not how;
Why should I tell thee what thou so well seest ?
Why should I strive to show what from thy

lips
Would come no mystery ? For me, dark, dark,
And painful vile oblivion seals my eyes :
I strive to search wherefore I am so sad,
Until a melancholy numbs my limbs ;
And then upon the grass I sit, and moan,
Like one who once had wings.-0! why should I
Feel cursed and thwarted, when the liegeless air
Yields to my step aspirant? Why should I
Spurn the green turf as hateful to my feet ?
Goddess benign, point forth some unknown thing:
Are there not other regions than this isle ?
What are the stars ? There is the sun, the sun !
And the most patient brilliance of the moon !
And stars by thousands ! Point me out the way
To any one particular beauteous star,
And I will flit into it with my lyre,
And make its silvery splendour pant with bliss.

« ForrigeFortsæt »