Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Or unconcerning, where the heart not finds
History or prophecy of friend, or child,
Or gentle maid, our first and early love,
Or father, or the venerable name
Of our adored country! O thou Queen,
Thou delegated Deity of Earth,
O dear, dear England ! how my longing eye
Turn'd westward, shaping in the steady clouds
Thy sands and high white cliffs !

My native land! Fill'd with the thought of thee this heart was proud, Yea, mine eye swam with tears: that all the view From sovran Brocken, woods and woody hills, Floated away, like a departing dream, Feeble and dim! Stranger, these impulses Blame thou not lightly; nor will I profane, With hasty judgment or injurious doubt, That man's sublimer spirit, who can feel That God is every where! the God who framed Mankind to be one mighty family, Himself our Father and the world our home.

RECOLLECTIONS OF LOVE.

How warm this woodland wild recess!

Love surely hath been breathing here.

And this sweet bed of heath, my dear!
Swells up, then sinks with fain caress,

As if to have you get more near.

Eight springs have flown, since last I lay

On sea-ward Quantock's heathy hills,
Where quiet sounds from hidden rills

Float here and there, like things astray,

And high o'er head the skylark shrills.

No voice as yet had made the air

Be music with your name; yet why

That asking look ? that yearning sigh? That sense of promise every where?

Beloved ! flew your spirit by ?

As when a mother doth explore

The rose-mark on her long-lost child,

I met, I loved you, maiden mild ! As whom I long had loved before

So deeply had I been beguiled.

You stood before me like a thought,

A dream remember'd in a dream.

But when those meek eyes first did seem To tell me, Love within you wrought

O Greta, dear domestic stream!

Has not, since then, Love's prompture deep,

Has not Love's whisper evermore

Been ceaseless, as thy gentle roar ? Sole voice, when other voices sleep,

Dear under-song in Clamour's hour.

HENRY Hart MILMAN was born in London, in 1791, and is the youngest son of Sir Francis Milman, an eminent physician. He received his early education at a school in Greenwich, where Dr. Charles Burney was his tutor. He was afterwards placed at Eton; and in 1810, entered at Brazen-nose College, Oxford. He soon became a distinguished scholar; obtained prizes for English and Latin verse, and for English and Latin essays; and gained first honours in the examinations. In 1815, he became a fellow of his College; and in 1817, took holy orders, and was presented to the vicarage of St. Mary, Reading. In 1821, he was elected Professor of Poetry in the University. Mr. Milman's first appearance before the public was as the author of “Fazio,” a Tragedy. It met with considerable success; and, after it had passed the ordeal of periodical criticism, was produced on the 5th of February, 1818, at Drury Lane Theatre. It was written, he states, “ with some view to the stage;" it was successful in representation, and is still occasionally performed. The nature of his professional duties probably prevented his again writing for the stage; but in 1820, he produced another dramatic work, the “ Fall of Jerusalem.” “Belshazzar,” the “Martyr of Antioch,” and “ Anne Boleyn,” are also dramatic; and these, with “ Samor, Lord of the Bright City," and a few minor poems, comprise the whole of his published poetical productions. He has, of late years, appeared but seldom before the world as an author. In 1830, he published a “ History of the Jews," a work which gave rise to much controversy, and subjected the writer to various attacks, on the ground that he desired to merge the divine in the historian, and to exhibit himself as a simple narrator of facts,without any regard to the source whence he derived his materials, as an inspired and infallible record. He was accused of treating the Bible as a philosophical inquirer would treat any profane work of antiquity,-as having ascribed to natural causes, events which the Scriptures unequivocally declare to be miraculous,—and as having, therefore, unwittingly contributed to subvert the bulwarks of the faith he was bound, by every consideration of honour and consistency, to defend. Such criticisms, however, he ably and effectually combated.

Mr. Milman is still the Vicar of St. Mary, Reading, and in that town he continues to reside. He is described as an eloquent

preacher, and a zealous clergyman. In person he is tall; his countenance is fine, and expressive; his manners are distant and reserved; and, however different he may be in the society of his friends, he is described by those who have had but little intercourse with him as perpetually reminding them that he is a dignitary of the church to which he belongs; and that he is indisposed to touch any thing “common or unclean.”

Mr. Milman is a learned Poet. His study has been the cloister; and neither in the city nor the green fields has he sought the Muse. Books, and not men, have been his companions. His poems are fine examples of sound intellect and cultivated taste ; but we look in vain through them for evidence of inventive power, and origi. nality of thought. He is certainly not an enthusiast,—and without enthusiasm there never was a true Poet. He brings Truth before us dressed in “fairy fiction;" but he permits her to seek her way to the heart without any of those aids which a warm imagination and a lively sensibility would have lent her. She leans upon judgment rather than upon fancy, and appears loath to receive any votaries who would worship“ without knowing why, or caring wherefore.” In a preface to one of his later poems, Mr. Milman expresses a hope that his works “will tend to the advancement of those interests, in subservience to which alone our time and talents can be worthily employed,—those of piety and religion.” This is honourable to one,

whose grand object is to forward, by every means, the cause of which he is the chosen advocate; and, if he had been of a warmer temperament, he might have brought poetry effectually to his aid,—it has often been so brought,-in the task he has undertaken. But there is a cold pomp about his writings, a frigid dignity of style, and a want of sympathy with human passions and desires,—which, unhappily, defeat his purpose. The temple to which he would conduct his followers, is grand, lofty, and paved with marble; but it chills us the moment we have passed the inner gate. Among religious readers, therefore, Mr. Milman has never been popular; and from the same causes, added to others, his fame in the world at large is not extensive. His mind is of a high order, his knowledge large and ready; but he has little skill in mastering the heart, or in controlling the feelings, or in guiding the opinions of mankind.

MILM AN.

HYMN.

When God came down from Heaven-the living God

What signs and wonders mark'd His stately way: Brake out the winds in music where He trod ?

Shone o'er the heavens a brighter, softer day?

The dumb began to speak, the blind to see,

And the lame leap'd, and pain and paleness fled; The mourner's sunken eye grew bright with glee,

And from the tomb awoke the wondering dead !

When God went back to Heaven—the living God

Rode He the Heavens upon a fiery car ? Waved seraph-wings along His glorious road ?

Stood still to wonder each bright wandering star?

Upon the cross He hung, and bowed the head,

And pray'd for them that smote, and them that curst; And, drop by drop, His slow life-blood was shed,

And His last hour of suffering was His worst.

THE MERRY HEART.

I would not from the wise require

The lumber of their learned lore;
Nor would I from the rich desire
A single counter of their store.

« ForrigeFortsæt »