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Thou dread ambassador from earth to heaven,
Great hierarch! tell thou the silent sky,
And tell the stars, and tell yon rising sun,
Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God.

One cannot look too often upon Mr. Wordsworth's charming female portrait :

She was a phantom of delight

When first she gleamed upon my sight:

A lovely apparition sent

To be a moment's ornament;
Her eyes as stars of twilight fair;
Like twilight too her dusky hair ;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful dawn;
A dancing shape, an image gay,
To haunt, 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 and 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 planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a spirit still and bright,
With something of an angel light.

I would add " Laodamia," if it were not too long, and the "Yew-trees," if I had not a misgiving that I have somewhere planted those deathless trunks before. In how many ways is a great poet glorious! I met with a few lines taken from that noble poem the other day in the "Modern Painters,” cited for the landscape:

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Huge trunks, and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine,

Upcoiling and inveterately convolved!

Beneath whose shade

With sheddings from the pinal umbrage tinged
Perennially-"

and so forth. Mr. Ruskin cited this fine passage for the picture, I for the personifications :

"Ghostly shapes

May meet at noontide, Fear and trembling Hope
Silence and Foresight, Death the skeleton,

And Time the shadow!

Both quoted the lines for different excellences, and both were right.

IX.

AMERICAN POETS.

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.

AMONGST the strange events of these strange days of ours, when revolutions and counter-revolutions, constitutions changed one week and rechanged the next, seem to crowd into a fortnight the work of a century, annihilating time, just as railways and electric telegraphs annihilate space-in these days of curious novelty, nothing has taken me more pleasantly by surprise than the school of true and original poetry that has sprung up among our blood relations (I had well nigh called them our fellow-countrymen) across the Atlantic; they who speak the same tongue and inherit the same literature. And of all this flight of genuine poets, I hardly know any one so original as Dr. Holmes. For him we can find no living prototype; to track his footsteps, we must travel back as far as Pope or Dryden; and to my mind it would be well if some of our own bards would take the same journey-provided always it produced the same result. Lofty, poignant, graceful, grand, high of thought, and clear of word, we could fancy ourselves reading some pungent page of "Absalom and Achitophel," or of the "Moral Epistles," if it

were not for the pervading nationality, which, excepting Whittier, American poets have generally wanted, and for that true reflection of the manners and the follies of the age, without which satire would fail alike of its purpose and its name.

The work of which I am about to offer a sample, all too brief, is a little book much too brief itself; a little book of less than forty pages, described in the title-page as" Astræa-a Poem, delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Yale College, August 1850, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, and printed at the request of the Society."

The introduction tells most gracefully, in verse that rather, perhaps, implies than relates, the cause of the author's visit to the college, dear to him as the place of his father's education:

What secret charm long whispering in mine ear,
Allures, attracts, compels, and chains me here,
Where murmuring echoes call me to resign
Their sacred haunts to sweeter lips than mine;
Where silent pathways pierce the solemn shade,
In whose still depths my feet have never strayed;
Here, in the home where grateful children meet,
And I, half alien, take the stranger's seat,
Doubting, yet hoping that the gift I bear
May keep its bloom in this unwonted air?
Hush, idle fancy, with thy needless art,
Speak from thy fountains, O my throbbing heart!
Say shall I trust these trembling lips to tell
The fireside tale that memory knows so well?
How in the days of Freedom's dread campaign,
A home-bred schoolboy left his village plain,
Slow faring southward, till his wearied feet
Pressed the worn threshold of this fair retreat;
How with his comely face and gracious mien,
He joined the concourse of the classic green,

Nameless, unfriended, yet by Nature blest
With the rich tokens that she loves the best;
The flowing locks, his youth's redundant crown,
Smoothed o'er a brow unfurrowed by a frown;
The untaught smile, that speaks so passing plain,
A world all hope, a past without a stain;

The clear-hued cheek, whose burning current glows
Crimson in action, carmine in repose;
Gifts such as purchase, with unminted gold,
Smiles from the young and blessings from the old.
Is not the portrait of the boy beautiful?
poem goes on:

Say shall my hand with pious love restore,
The faint far pictures time beholds no more?
How the grave senior, he whose later fame
Stamps on our laws his own undying name,
Saw from on high with half-paternal joy
Some spark of promise in the studious boy,
And bade him enter, with paternal tone,
The stately precincts which he called his own.

*

How kindness ripened, till the youth might dare,
Take the low seat beside his sacred chair,
While the gray scholar bending o'er the young,
Spelled the square types of Abraham's ancient tongue,
Or with mild rapture stooped devoutly o'er
His small coarse leaf alive with curious lore;
Tales of grim judges, at whose awful beck,
Flashed the broad blade across a royal neck;
Or learned dreams of Israel's long-lost child,
Fou in the wanderer of the western wild.
Dear to his age were memories such as these,
Leaves of his June in life's autumnal breeze;
Such were the tales that won my boyish ear,
Told in low tones that evening loves to hear.
Thus in the scene I pass so lightly o'er,
Trod for a moment, then beheld no more,

*

The

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