Billeder på siden

Careless of thy neighbourhood,
Thou dost show thy pleasant face
On the moor and in the wood,
In the lane—there's not a place,
Howsoever mean it be,
But 'tis good enough for thee.

Ill befall the yellow flowers,
Children of the flaring hours !
Buttercups, that will be seen,
Whether we will see or no;
Others, too, of lofty mien
They have done as worldlings do,
Taken praise that should be thine,
Little, humble Celandine!

Prophet of delight and mirth,
Scorn'd and slighted upon earth!
Herald of a mighty band,
Of a joyous train ensuing,
Singing at my heart's command,
In the lanes my thoughts pursuing,
I will sing, as doth behove,
Hymns in praise of what I love.

To the Small Celandine.


BENEATH these fruit-tree boughs that shed
Their snow-white blossoms on my head,
With brightest sunshine round me spread

Of Spring's unclouded weather,

In this sequester'd nook how sweet
To sit upon my orchard-seat!
And flowers and birds once more to greet,

My last year's friends together.

One have I mark'd, the happiest guest
In all this covert of the blest:
Hail to thee, far above the rest

In joy of voice and pinion.
Thou, Linnet! in thy green array,
Presiding spirit here to-day,
Dost lead the revels of the May,

And this is thy dominion.

While birds, and butterflies, and flowers
Make all one band of paramours,
Thou, ranging up and down the bowers,

Art sole in thy employment;
A life, a presence like the air,
Scattering thy gladness without care,
Too blest with any one to pair,

Thyself thy own enjoyment.

Upon yon tuft of hazel trees,
That twinkle to the gusty breeze,
Behold him perch'd in ecstasies,

Yet seeming still to hover:
There! when the flutter of his wings
Upon his back and body flings
Shadows and sunny glimmerings,

That cover him all over !

While thus before my eyes he gleams,
A brother of the leaves he seems ;

When in a moment forth he teems

His little song in gushes :
As if it pleased him to disdain
And mock the form which he did feign,
While he was dancing with the train
Of leaves among the bushes.

To the Green Linnet.


She was a phantom of delight
When first she gleam'd upon my sight;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament;
Her eyes as stars of twilight fair,
Like twilight's, too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful dawn :
A dancing shape, and image gay,
To baunt, to startle, and waylay.

I saw her upon nearer view,
A spirit, yet a woman too;
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet ;
A creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food,
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.

And now I

see with

eye serene The very pulse of the machine ; A being breathing thoughtful breath, A traveller betwixt life and death; The reason firm, the temperate will, Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill: A perfect woman, nobly plann'd, To warn, to comfort, and command And yet a spirit still, and bright With something of an angel light.



PRINCIPAL WORKS :— The Lay of the Last Minstrel, 1805, the first of a style of poetry quite new and original. It met with immediate success.

- Marmion, 1808, the most ambitious of all his poetic tales.— The Lady of the Lake, 1810, the crowning point of the fame and popularity of the author.— The Vision of Don Roderick, 1813--Rokeby, and The Bride of Triermain, 1814The Lord of the Isles, 1815. Besides these and his numerous well-known novels, he published some dramatic pieces which, however, did not add to his fame. Besides inferiority in merit, the diminished popularity which attended the later poetic productions of Scott was doubtless owing to the appearance of a new and still more brilliant favourite. In 1812 Childe Harold, in part at least, had already blazed upon the admiring world: and this brilliant effort had been followed up in rapid succession by the Giaour, the Bride of Abydos, &c. Of all the poems of Scott few, it may be taken for granted, will hesitate to give the palm to The Lady of the Lake. The plan of the romance, the graphic descriptive scenes of Highland life and manners, their clangatherings, the picturesque pictures of natural scenery, and not least the introduction of some exquisite lyrics at intervals between the narrative parts, combine to give a peculiar interest and charm to that poem.

Scott is the poet par excellence, of chivalry. In graphic description of the manners of feudal times, of tournaments, knightly-combats, and their fair patronesses, &c., whether in his poetic or prose fiction, he is probably without a rival. He had deeply studied, and was thoroughly appreciative of the spirit of, the old national ballads; and hence it is that his incidental lyrical or ballad pieces are often amongst his happiest productions. The perfect clearness and transparency of his style is one of his distinguishing features; and it was further aided by his peculiar versification. Coleridge had exemplified the fitness of the octosyllabic measure for romantic narrative poetry, and parts of his Christabel having been recited to Scott, he adopted its wild rhythm and harmony, joining to it some of the abruptness and irregularity of the old ballad metre. In his hands it became a powerful and flexible instrument, whether for light narrative and pure description, or for scenes of

« ForrigeFortsæt »