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TO A SKYLARK.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.

[Percy Bysshe Shelley! It is the name of a great and inspired poet, and most unfortunate man. Were we not obliged to confine ourselves to mere biographical and critical notices of the writers we introduce from month to month to our readers, we should be tempted to trespass on their patience in this one instance, for Shelley lived more in one year than Wordsworth did in all'his lengthened career. There are men wbo live and men who merely vegetate. There is as much romance and incident in Shelley's life as in any dream-life that his friend and companion, Byron, ever invented. Shelley will never be thoroughly understood by the million, his poetry, for the most part, being too shadowy and mystical ; his “Prometheus Unbound " has been called “

a magnificent riddle."

He was the eldest son of Sir Timothy Shelley, Bart., of Field Place, Sussex, where he was born August 4th, 1792. He was sent to Eton, but, violating the rules of that school, was removed to Oxford at an earlier age than is usual. Here his opinions were too free and too freely spoken to please the Dons; he was expelled his college, at an age when opinions can be scarcely formed, certainly not fixed, because he did not believe all that they did, and had the courage to say so. He was no hypocrite; he did not nurse his heresies as some have done, and then, having obtained place and power, endeavour to undermine the foundation of the temple in which he was reared. Shelley an atheist! Shelley deny the Divine Law?

"Nothing in the world is single;

All things by a law divine

In one another's being mingle-" Not the words of an atheist these; but the opinion that Shelley had no faith nor no religion has been long since successfully refuted.

Shelley was twice married. His first marriage, considered by his family to be an ill-assorted one, led to an estrangement between them and him. After the birth of a boy and a girl he separated from his wife, who died shortly after. His second wife was Miss Godwin, daughter of an author, and herself famous as the author of "Frankenstein.” With his new wife he went to Italy, renewed his acquaintance with Byron, and joined Leigh Hunt in "The Liberal," as detailed in our sketch of that author. Shortly after this he met with his untimely death, by the wreck of his boat in a violent storm on his return to his house on the Gulf of

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Lerici, July 8th, 1822. His body was washed ashore fifteen days afterwards.

Drowned in a storm! his spirit passing away while battling with the unfathomable ocean ; his body cast like a weed upon the shore, afterwards burned, and his ashes placed in an urn. What a grand, mystic, and tragic end to that poet-life of his—that greater epic than any he composed—his own history !-Shelley, a poem! What a subject for some future Byron, if we should ever get one

What might Shelley have not written, had his life been prolonged ? High as is his place, where would it have been had he been spared to even that "span-long life” that is allotted to man? He died at thirty; he survived his nonage but nine years—what a nine years!

His principal poetical works are “Prometheus Unbound," “Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude," 'Queen Mab," "The Revolt of Islam,” and “The Cenci,” a tragedy.

As we have said, his was the poetry for the student, but many of his minor poems are simple and very beautiful, and, set to music by some of our best composers, have become home-songs.

The odes to “The Skylark” and “The Cloud" pure, as poetical, and as elevated as any similar poetry in the language.)

HAIL to thee, blithe spirit!

Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,

Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

are as

Higher still, and higher,

From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;

The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning

Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are brightning,

Thou dost float and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even

Melts around thy flight;

Like a star of heaven,

In the broad daylight
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.

Keen are the arrows

Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows

In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.

All the earth and air

With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,

From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is over-

flowed.

What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not

Drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

Like a poet hidden

In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,

Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not.

Like a high-born maiden

In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden

Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower;

Like a glow-worm golden

In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden

Its aërial hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the

Like a rose embower'd

In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflower'd,

Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy winged

thieves.
Sound of vernal showers

On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,

All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass :

Teach us, sprite or bird,

What sweet thoughts are thine;
I have never heard

Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

Chorus hymeneal,

Or triumphal chaunt,
Matched with thine would be all

But an empty vaunt, —
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains

Of thy happy strain ?
What fields, or waves, or mountains ?

What shapes of sky or plain ?
What love of thine own kind? What ignorance of

pain ?

With thy clear keen joyance

Languor cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance

Never came near thee;
Thou lovest; but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

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Things more true and deep

Than we mortals dream, Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream ?

We look before and after,

And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught :
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest

thought.

Yet if we could scorn

Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever could come near.

Better than all measures

Of delight and sound,
Better than all treasures

That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground

Teach me half the gladness

That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness

From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

IIOW COMMODORE TRUNNION WENT TO GET

MARRIED.

TOBIAS GEORGE SMOLLETT.

[Tobias Smollett formed the third of that glorious trio of novelists who first awakened our ancestors from the fustian over which they were wont to dream to that new class of literature which, while it was fiction, was still founded on the realities of

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