« ForrigeFortsæt »
And oft thy smiles across life’s gloomy way,
Could throw a gleam of transitory day.
How gay, in youth, the flattering future seems;
How sweet is manhood in the infant's dreams;
The dire mistake too soon is brought to light,
And all is buried in redoubled night.
Yet some can rise superior to their pain,
And in their breasts the charmer Hope retain:
While others, dead to feeling, can survey,
Unmoved, their fairest prospects fade away:
But yet a few there be,—too soon o'ercast !
Who shrink unhappy from the adverse blast,
And woo the first bright gleam, which breaks the gloom,
To glide the silent slumbers of the tomb.
So in these shades the early primrose blows,
Too soon deceived by suns and melting snows,
So falls untimely on the desert waste;
Its blossoms withering in the northern blast.
Now pass’d whate’er the upland heights display,
Down the steep cliff I wind my devious way;
Oft rousing, as the rustling path I beat,
The timid hare from its accustom'd seat.
And oh ! how sweet this walk o'erhung with wood,
That winds the margin of the solemn flood !
What rural objects steal upon the sight!
What rising views prolong the calm delight!
The brooklet branching from the silver Trent,
The whispering birch by every zephyr bent,
The woody island, and the naked mead,
The lowly hut half-hid in groves of reed,
The rural wicket, and the rural stile,
And frequent interspersed, the woodman's pile.
Above, below, where'er I turn my eyes,
Rock, waters, woods, in grand succession rise.
High up the cliff the varied groves ascend,
And mournful larches o'er the wave impend.
Around, what sounds, what magic sounds, arise,
What glimmering scenes salute my ravish'd eyes?
Soft sleep the waters on their pebbly bed,
The woods wave gently o'er my drooping head,
And, swelling slow, comes wafted on the wind
Lorn Progne's note from distant
Still every rising sound of calm delight
Stamps but the fearful silence of the night,
Save when is heard between each dreary rest,
Discordant from her solitary nest,
The owl, dull-screaming to the wandering moon;
Now riding, cloud wrapp'd near her highest noon;
Or when the wild duck, southering, hither rides,
And plunges sullen in the sounding tides.
How oft, in this sequester'd spot, when youth Gave to each tale the holy force of truth, Have I long linger'd, while the milk-maid sung The tragic legend, till the woodland rung! That tale, so sad! which, still to memory dear, From its sweet source can call the sacred tear, And (lull’d to rest stern Reason's harsh control) Steal its oft magic to the passive soul. These hallow'd shades,—these trees that woo the wind, Recal its faintest features to my mind.
A hundred passing years, with march sublime,
Have swept beneath the silent wing of time,
Since, in yon hamlet's solitary shade,
Reclusely dwelt the far-famed Clifton Maid,
The beauteous Margaret; for her each swain
Confess’d in private his peculiar pain,
In secret sigh'd, a victim to despair,
Nor dared to hope to win the peerless fair.
No more the shepherd on the blooming mead
Attuned to gaiety his artless reed,
No more entwined the pansied wreath, to deck
His favourite wether's unpolluted neck,
But listless, by yon bubbling stream reclined,
He mix'd his sobbings with the passing wind,
Bemoan'd his helpless love; or, boldly bent,
Far from these smiling fields, a rover went,
O’er distant lands, in search of ease,
A self-will'd exile from his native home.
Yet not to all the maid express'd disdain; Her Bateman loved, nor loved the youth in vain. Full oft, low whispering o'er these arching boughs The echoing vault responded to their vows, As here deep hidden from the glare of day, Enamour'd oft, they took their secret way.
Yon bosky dingle, still the rustics name: 'Twas there the blushing maid confess'd her flame. Down yon green lane they oft were seen to hie, When evening slumber'd on the western sky. That blasted yew, that mouldering walnut bare, Each bears mementos of the fated pair.
One eve, when Autumn loaded every breeze With the fallen honours of the mourning trees, The maiden waited at the accustom'd bower, And waited long beyond the appointed hour, Yet Bateman came not:-o'er the woodland drear Howling portentous, did the winds career; And bleak and dismal on the leafless woods, The fitful rains rush'd down in sullen floods ;
The night was dark; as, now and then, the gale
Paused for a moment,-Margaret listen'd pale;
But through the covert to her anxious ear,
No rustling footstep spoke her lover near.
Strange fears now fill'd her breast, she knew not why
She sigh’d, and Bateman's name was in each sigh.
She hears a noise,—’tis he!-he comes at last,-
Alas! 'twas but the gale which hurried past:
But now she hears a quickening footstep sound,
Lightly it comes, and nearer does it bound;
'Tis Bateman's self,—he springs into her arms,
'Tis he that clasps, and chides her vain alarms.
“Yet why this silence ?-I have waited long,
And the cold storm has yell’d the trees among.
And now thou’rt here my fears are fled—yet speak,
Why does the salt tear moisten on thy cheek?
Say, what is wrong?”—Now through a parting cloud,
The pale moon peer'd from her tempestuous shroud,
And Bateman's face was seen :—'twas deadly white,
And sorrow seem'd to sicken in his sight.
“Oh speak, my love!" again the maid conjured,
“Why is this heart in sullen wo immured?”
He raised his head, and thrice essay'd to tell,
Thrice from his lips th' unfinish'd accents fell;
When thus at last reluctantly he broke
His boding silence, and the maid bespoke :
“Grieve not, my love, but ere the morn advance,
I on these fields must cast my parting glance;
For three long years, by cruel fate’s command,
I go to languish in a foreign land.
Oh, Margaret! omens dire have met my view, !
Say, when far distant, wilt thou bear me true?
Should honours tempt thee, and should riches fee,
Wouldst thou forget thine ardent vows to me,
And on the silken couch of wealth reclined,
Banish thy faithful Bateman from thy mind?".
“Oh! why,” replies the maid, “my faith thus prove? Canst thou! ah, canst thou then, suspect my love?
Hear me, just God! if from my traitorous heart,
My Bateman's fond remembrance e'er shall part;
If, when he hail again his native shore,
He finds his Margaret true to him no more,