Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

Now, could I range those verdant isles,

Invisible, at this soft hour, And see the looks, the beaming smiles,

That brighten many an orange bower; And could I lift each pious veil,

And see the blushing cheek it shades, – Oh! I should have full many a tale,

To tell of young Azorian maids. Yes, Strangford, at this hour, perhaps,

Some lover (not too idly blest, Like those, who in their ladies' laps

May cradle every wish to rest,) Warbles, to touch his dear one's soul,

Those madrigals, of breath divine, Which Camoens' harp from Rapture stole

And gave, all glowing warm, to thine.2 Oh! could the lover learn from thee, And breathe them with thy graceful

tone, Such sweet, beguiling minstrelsy

Would make the coldest nymph his

I thought of those days, when to pleasure

alone My heart ever granted a wish or a sigh; When the saddest emotion my bosom had

known, Was pity for those who were wiser

than I.

I reflected, how soon in the cup of Desire The pearl of the soul may be melted

away; How quickly, alas, the pure sparkle of

fire We inherit from heaven, may be

quenched in the clay;

Own.

[blocks in formation]

But, hark ! - the boatswain's pipings

tell 'T is time to bid my dream farewell: Eight bells:

- the middle watch is set; Good night, my Strangford ! — ne'er

forget That far beyond the western sea Is one whose heart remembers thee.

So that, sullied but little, or brightly the

same, I might give back the boon I had bor

rowed from Him.

STANZAS. θυμός δε πότ' εμός

με προσφωνεί τάδε. . γίνωσκε τάνθρώπεια μη σέβειν άγαν.

Æschyl. Fragment. A BEAM of tranquillity smiled in the west, The storms of the morning pursued us

no more; And the wave, while it welcomed the

moment of rest, Still heaved, as remembering ills that

were o'er.

[blocks in formation]

Serenely my heart took the hue of the

hour, Its passions were sleeping, were mute

as the dead;

TO THE FLYING-FISH.8 WHEN I have seen thy snow-white wing From the blue wave at evening spring,

1 I believe it is Guthrie who says, that the inhabitants of the Azores are much addicted to gallantry. This is an assertion in which even Guthrie may be credited.

2 These islands belong to the Portuguese.

3 It is the opinion of St. Austin upon Genesis, and I believe of nearly all the Fathers, that hirds, like fish, were originally produced from

And show those scales of silvery white,
So gayly to the eye of light,
As if thy frame were formed to risé,
And live amid the glorious skies;
Oh! it has made me proudly feel,
How like thy wing's impatient zeal
Is the pure soul, that rests not, pent
Within this world's gross element,
But takes the wing that God has given,
And rises into light and heaven!

Then, haply if a week, a day,
I lingered from that home away,
How long the little absence seemed !
How bright the look of welcome beamed,
As mute you heard, with eager smile,
My tales of all that past the while !

But, when I see that wing, so bright,
Grow languid with a moment's Alight,
Attempt the paths of air in vain,
And sink into the waves again;
Alas! the flattering pride is o'er;
Like thee, awhile, the soul may soar,
But erring man must blush to think,
Like thee, again the soul may

sink.

Yet now, my Kate, a gloomy sea
Rolls wide between that home and me;
The moon may thrice be born and die,
Ere even that seal can reach mine eye,
Which used so oft, so quick to come,
Still breathing all the breath of home,
As if, still fresh, the cordial air
From lips beloved were lingering there.
But now, alas, far different fate!
It comes o’er ocean, slow and late,
When the dear hand that filled its fold
With words of sweetness may lie cold.

Oh Virtue! when thy clime I seek, But hence that gloomy thought! at Let not my spirit's flight be weak:

last,
Let me not, like this feeble thing, Beloved Kate, the waves are past :
With brine still dropping from its wing, I tread on earth securely now,
Just sparkle in the solar glow

And the green cedar's living bough And plunge again to depths below; Breathes more refreshment to my eyes But, when I leave the grosser throng Than could a Claude's divinest dyes. With whom my soul hath dwelt so At length I touch the happy sphere long,

To liberty and virtue dear, Let me, in that aspiring day,

Where man looks up, and, proud to Cast every lingering stain away,

claim And, panting for thy purer air,

His rank within the social frame, Fly up at once and fix me there.

Sees a grand system round him roll,

Himself its centre, sun, and soul !
TO MISS MOORE.

Far from the shocks of Europe - far
FROM NORFOLK, IN VIRGINIA, NOVEMBER, 1803. From every wild, elliptic star
In days, my Kate, when life was new, That, shooting with a devious fire,
When, lulled with innocence and you,

Kindled by heaven's avenging ire,
I heard, in home's beloved shade,

So oft hath into chaos hurled
The din the world at distance made; The systems of the ancient world.
When, every night my weary head
Sunk on its own unthorned bed,

The warrior here, in arms no more,
And, mild as evening's matron hour, Thinks of the toil, the conflict o’er,
Looks on the faintly shutting flower, And glorying in the freedom won
A mother saw our eyelids close,

For hearth and shrine, for sire and And blest them into pure repose;

son,

Smiles on the dusky webs that hide the waters; in defence of which idea they have His sleeping sword's remembered pride. collected every fanciful circumstance which can tend to prove a kindred similitude between them;

While Peace, with sunny cheeks of συγγένειαν τοις πετομένοις προς τα νηκτά. With toil, this thought in our minds, when we first see the Walks o'er the free, unlorded soil, Flying-Fish, we could almost fancy, that we are present at the moment of creation, and witness

Effacing with her splendid share he birth of the first bird from the waves.

The drops that war had sprinkled there.

Thrice happy land! where he who flies
From the dark ills of other skies,
From scorn, or want's unnerving woes,
May shelter him in proud repose;
Hope sings along the yellow sand
His welcome to a patriot land;
The mighty wood, with pomp, receives
The stranger in its world of leaves,
Which soon their barren glory yield
To the warm shed and cultured field;
And he, who came, of all bereft,
To whom malignant fate had left
Nor home nor friends nor country dear,
Finds home and friends and country

here.

And, though a sable spot may stain
The vestibule, 't is wrong, 't is sin
To doubt the godhead reigns within !
So here I pause — and now, my Kate,
To you, and those dear friends, whose

fate
Touches more near this home-sick soul
Than all the Powers from pole to pole,
One word at parting, — in the tone
Most sweet to you, and most my own.
The simple strain I send you here, 3
Wild though it be, would charm your

ear, Did you but know the trance of thought In which my mind its numbers caught. ’T was one of those half-waking dreams, That haunt me oft, when music seems To bear my soul in sound along, And turn its feelings all to song. I thought of home, the according lays Came full of dreams of other days; Freshly in each succeeding note I found some young remembrance float, Till following, as a clue, that strain, I wandered back to home again.

Such is the picture, warmly such, That Fancy long, with florid touch, Had painted to my sanguine eye Of man's new world of liberty. Oh! ask me not, if Truth have yet Her seal on Fancy's promise set; If even a glimpse my eyes behold Of that imagined age of gold; Alas, not yet one gleaming trace !1 Never did youth, who loved a face As sketched by some fond pencil's skill, And made by fancy lovelier still, Shrink back with more of sad surprise, When the live model met his eyes, Than I have felt, in sorrow felt, To find a dream on which I 've dwelt From boyhood's hour, thus fade and

flee At touch of stern reality!

But, courage, yet, my wavering heart ! Blame not the temple's meanest part 2 Till thou hast traced the fabric o’er: As yet, we have beheld no more Than just the porch to Freedom's fane;

Oh! love the song, and let it oft Live on your lip, in accents soft. Say that it tells you, simply well, All I have bid its wild notes tell, Of Memory's dream, of thoughts that

yet Glow with the light of joy that 's set, And all the fond heart keeps in store Of friends and scenes beheld no more. And now, adieu ! — this artless air, With a few rhymes, in transcript fair, Are all the gifts I yet can boast To send you from Columbia's coast; But when the sun, with warmer smile, Shall light me to my destined isle, 4 You shall have many a cowslip-bell, Where Ariel slept, and many a shell, In which that gentle spirit drew From honey flowers the morning dew.

1 Such romantic works as “The American Farmer's Letters," and the account of Kentucky by Imlay, would seduce us into a belief, that innocence, peace, and freedom had deserted the rest of the world for Martha's Vineyard and the banks of the Ohio. The French travellers, too, almost all from revolutionary motives, have contributed their share to the diffusion of this flattering misconception. A visit to the country is, however, quite sufficient to correct even the most enthusiastic prepossession.

2 Norfolk, it must be owned, presents an unfavorable specimen of America. The character. istics of Virginia in general are not such as can

delight either the politician or the moralist, and at Norfolk they are exhibited in their least attractive form. At the time when we arrived the yellow fever had not yet disappeared, and every odor that assailed us in the streets very strongly accounted for its visitation.

3 A trifling attempt at musical composition accompanied this Epistle.

4 Bermuda.

[blocks in formation]

gone to the

A BALLAD. THE LAKE OF THE DISMAL SWAMP.

WRITTEN AT NORFOLK, IN VIRGINIA. They tell of a young man, who lost his mind upon the death of a girl he loved, and who, suddenly disappearing from his friends, was never afterwards heard of. As he had frequently said, in his ravings, that the girl was not dead, but

ismal Swamp, it is supposed he had wandered into that dreary wilderness, and had died of hunger, or been lost in some of its dreadful morasses." - Anon. La Poésie a ses monstres comme la nature."

D'ALEMBERT. “ They made her a grave, too cold and

damp “For a soul so warm and true; “And she 's gone to the Lake of the

Dismal Swamp,1 “Where, all night long, by a fire-fly

lamp,
“She paddles her white canoe.

And the dim shore echoed, for many a

night, The name of the death-cold maid.

Till he hollowed a boat of the birchen

bark,
Which carried him off from shore;
Far, far he followed the meteor spark,
The wind was high and the clouds were

dark,
And the boat returned no more.

“And her fire-fly lamp I soon shall see,

“ And her paddle I soon shall hear; “Long and loving our life shall be, " And I'll hide the maid in a cypress

tree, “When the footstep of death is near.”

But oft, from the Indian hunter's camp

This lover and maid so true Are seen at the hour of midnight damp To cross the Lake by a fire-fly lamp,

And paddle their white canoe !

Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds –

His path was rugged and sore, Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds, Through many a fen, where the serpent

feeds, And man never trod before.

And, when on the earth he sunk to

sleep, If slumber his eyelids knew, He lay, where the deadly vine doth

weep Its venomous tear and nightly steep

The flesh with blistering dew!

TO THE MARCHIONESS DOWAGER OF

DONEGALL. FROM BERMUDA, JANUARY, 1804. LADY! where'er you roam, whatever

land Woos the bright touches of that artist

hand; Whether you sketch the valley's golden

meads, Where mazy Linth his lingering current

leads; 2 Enamoured catch the mellow hues that

sleep, At eve, on Meillerie's immortal steep; Or musing o'er the Lake, at day's decline, Mark the last shadow on that holy shrine, 3 Where, many a night, the shade of Tell

complains Of Gallia's triumph and Helvetia's

chains;

And near him the she-wolf stirred the

brake, And the copper-snake breathed in his

ear, Till he starting cried, from his dream

awake,

1 The Great Dismal Swamp is ten or twelve miles distant from Norfolk, and the Lake in the middle of it (about seven miles long) is called Drummond's Pond.

2 Lady Donegall, I had reason to suppose, was at this time still in Switzerland, where the well-known powers of her pencil must have been frequently awakened.

3 The chapel of William Tell on the Lake of Lucerne.

Oh! lay the pencil for a moment by,
Turn from the canvas that creative eye,
And let its splendor, like the morning

ray
Upon a shepherd's harp, illume my lay.

For every spirit was itself a lute,
Where Virtue wakened, with elysian

breeze,
Pure tones of thought and mental har-

monies.

Yet, Lady, no - for song so rude as Believe me, Lady, when the zephyrs mine,

bland Chase not the wonders of your art

Floated our bark to this enchanted land, divine;

These leafy isles upon the ocean thrown, Still, radiant eye, upon the canvas dwell;

Like studs of emerald o'er a silver zone,Still, magic finger, weave your potent Not all the charm, that ethnic fancy spell;

gave And, while I sing the animated smiles

To blessed arbors o'er the western wave, Of fairy nature in these sun-born isles, Could wake a dream, more soothing or Oh, might the song awake some bright sublime, design,

Of bowers ethereal, and the Spirit's clime. Inspire a touch, or prompt one happy line,

Bright rose the morning, every wave Proud were my soul, to see its humble was still, thought

When the first perfume of a cedar hill On painting's mirror so divinely caught; Sweetly awaked us, and, with smiling While wondering Genius, as he leaned charms, to trace

The fairy harbor woo'd us to its arms.2 The faint conception kindling into grace, Gently we stole, before the whispering Might love my numbers for the spark wind, they threw,

Through plaintain shades, that round, And bless the lay that lent a charm to like awnings, twined you.

And kist on either side the wanton sails,

Breathing our welcome to these vernal Say, have you ne’er, in nightly vision, vales; strayed

While, far reflected o'er the wave serene, To those pure isles of ever-blooming Each wooded island shed so soft a green shade,

That the enamoured keel, with whisperWhich bards of old, with kindly fancy,

ing play, placed

Through liquid herbage seemed to steal For happy spirits in the Atlantic waste? 1 There listening, while, from earth, each breeze that came

Never did weary bark more gladly Brought echoes of their own undying glide, fame,

Or rest its anchor in a lovelier tide! In eloquence of eye, and dreams of song, Along the margin, many a shining dome, They charmed their lapse of nightless White as the palace of a Lapland gnome, hours along:

Brightened the wave; in every myrtle Nor yet in song, that mortal ear might

grove suit,

Secluded bashful, like a shrine of love,

its way.

1 M. Gébelin says, in his Monde Primitif, Lorsque Strabon crût que les anciens théologiens et poëtes plaçoient les champs élysées dans les isles de l'Océan Atlantique, il n'entendit rien à leur doctrine." M. Cébelin's supposition, I have no doubt, is the more correct; but that of Strabo is, in the precent instance, most to my purpose,

2 Nothing can be more romantic than the little harbor of St. George's. The number of beautiful islets, the singular clearness of the water, and the animated play of the graceful little boats, gliding for ever between the islands, and seeming to sail from one cedar-grove into another, formed altogether as lovely a miniature of nature's beauties as can well be imagined.

« ForrigeFortsæt »