صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Still less the gathering ills of present wrong,
And unforgetful sighs, a tireless throng,

Which day by day sink deeper than before ;

Weak sighs, which still are mightier than the strong,
Soon-soon-oh, when shall the vain strife be o'er,

And I repose in peace, and ye torment no more?

Yet will I hush this voice of weak lament;Yet will I conquer this unmanly grief;— But the strong pain of passion first must vent Its throbbing woes in words for sad relief: "T is done,—my waning pilgrimage be brief,— Though young and dying, scarcely can I mourn ;Time cannot bind my feelings' shatter'd sheaf, Nor bid the loved, the long, long lost return,— Then welcome be my journey towards the perilous bourne.

Methinks it scarcely matters when we tread
The road which all must tread who have not trod,
Though the dark journey be replete with dread ;-
Firm by the mercy of a pitying God,

And humbled at the chastening of his rod,
How sweet, this aching heart and painful head
Slumbering in peace beneath the grass-green sod,
To join those ancient worthies who have fled,
And meet the mightier spirits of the mighty dead!

With them and such as them I have conversed
More than with men, and thus the fruit has been
That they and their old mouldering tomes have nursed
Feelings and thoughts and hopes which do not win
Men's charity, though haply not of, sin:

For Roman, Grecian lore has been to me
The mistress of my love;-'mid cities' din
I've loved all Rome while yet she was the free,
And wander'd, lost in mists, through sage Philosophy.

Perchance it did not profit me ;—at least,
I learnt that knowledge doth not always bring
The fabled pleasures of the mental feast;-
That intellectual streams might own a spring
Of bitter wave, whose sun-bright vapors fling
An arch of promise o'er the cheating source,
Lit by the ray of man's own hopes, which cling
To all delusion with a desperate force,

Till doubts and darkness soon obstruct their stumbling course.

Perchance my draught was shallow, and confused
The brain it did not sober-let it pass:

Even from my childhood upward I have used
To search into my being-but alas!
The scrutiny was fruitless;-that I was
Wretched I knew-but why I could not tell,—
Born but to perish as a blade of grass;-
One fate awaited all, I saw full well,--
Alike the sage and fool-the vile and virtuous fell.

For one grew ripe in honorable age,
And others at his voice all lowly bow'd
While he discoursed as from a pictured page
Most eloquent music to a listening crowd,
Who ever and anon fell shouting loud ;—
Till with a golden circlet (save this crown
No other virtue had he,) terror-brow'd,

Came one they call'd a king, and at his frown

Blood from the old man's silvery locks went running down.

Another fell in manhood's ripen'd day,

In the full flow of his warm bosom's tide ;—
His wasted strength like weakness pass'd away,
And his heart's lingering streams of life were dried
By the enduring shame of humbled pride,

Or rankling poison left by passion's sting,

Or foul disease ungorged, and gaping wide;For each hath plumed his shaft from Horror's wing, And each ten thousand shapes of varying fate can bring.

And there was one who, by the kindling flush
And happiness which beauty round her shed,
Seem'd 'mid her pure hours, lit by that soft blush,
Some stray grace tripping o'er a violet bed,
In spring, but ere the lingering aster fled,
They laid her ringlets 'neath the early snow ;-
Men marvell'd that so fair a thing was dead,
And when flowers blossom, blue-eyed maidens go,
With memory's garland-gifts for her who sleeps below.

And dreamy boys in the rathe bloom of youth,
Ere frozen years had bid them cease to lave
Their glowing cheeks with tears of joy or ruth,
Went down in silence to the marble grave,

Scorch'd by the flame of passions which they crave;—
Or else embarking all their hope upon

Some voyage of love ;-and on the fickle wave
Of that false sea perchance the worshipp'd one
Made shipwreck of their hopes, and so they were undone.

And some, dishearten'd at the world's cold frown
And chilly aspect of its frozen eye,

Weep like the clouds, until they seem to drown
The life of their young ears, and sigh on sigh
Exhausts their being's source, and so they lie
Down in the loveliness of innocent youth
And welcome the Deliverer, as they die
Siniling for joy; yet do we feel, in sooth,
How wild the loss to us-how dark the frantic truth.

I know not if they sleep without the dreams
Which grim delusion wraps around the core
Of hearts which were not made to feel their streams
Mix with unfathom'd lakes of guilty lore;-
I know not if their pure souls upward soar,
Or in the green earth's ample breast abide ;-
But he who wanders by the twilight shore
When long slow curls climb up its silent side,
May hear strange flitting notes die on the solemn tide.

But when in quick wild wrath the wave of fears,
Lash'd by careering winds from the fierce sleep
Where heavily groaning late he lay, uprears
The crested horror of his mountain heap ;-
Ah, then go stand by the tumultuous deep
Alone, and if thou darest, try to cast

Away the mortal dread which then shall creep
Into thy soul, as on the shrieking blast

Mad mirth and devilish shouts peal round thee loud and fast.

[blocks in formation]

Away, ye pleasant fancies;-let me now
Recall my vision,-and methought I stood
On a precipitous seashore's craggy brow;—
It was at evening,-and the level flood


Where the fledged younglings of the tempest brood
Sported of late, lay fair and placid, save,

As thoughts of their glad play would oft intrude,
They now reposing in their azure cave,

Sent pealing laughter upward on the curling wave.

Fold after fold of that long line of water Unfurl'd its sullen length, and like the stride Of a strong phalanx ripe for battle-slaughter, Came the firm slow march of the solemn tide Towards the broad beach, whose huge rocks, high and wide, Death-black as if the lightning of the thunder Had spent its wrath upon some mountain side, And half its monstrous bulk had riven asunder,There smiled on time and chance a mockery and a wonder.

Then as I stood by the bleak barren beach,
And gazed upon its vast magnificence,
While the proud waters vainly strove to reach
The bulwark'd summit of that rocky fence,-
Came on my soul some feelings so intense.
Roused by the glory of that mighty swell,
The exultation of my quivering sense

Joy'd in the power of some o'ermastering spell,
While from my unclosed lips these prompted accents fell:

Thou who hast grovell'd 'mid the things accursed
Which the world's dross hath spread about thy soul,
And thou, whose wayward bosom hath been nursed
'Mid frantic doubts which scorn Heaven's just control,—
Oh that ye heard with me the wondrous whole
Of these majestic waves' tumultuous din;
For standing where their starry summits roll,
Some overwhelming feeling must rush in

To blot for one blest moment each vile thought of sin.

Oh that the monarchs of the world were here,-
The demi-gods of fawning slaves who pour
The heartless tribute of their guilty fear

At the false shrines they hate while they adore ;—
For musing by this moralizing shore,

Its beautifully grand array in sight,

Methinks one little hour would teach them more How weakly faltering is their boasted height, Than philosophic texts preach'd on for ages might.

O that the full-swoln monsters of the world,-
The rich in groaning wretches' sighs, might stand,
And see these glittering ocean treasures hurl'd
In proud profusion towards the golden sand ;-
Might see the far deep, venerably bland,

In silver hoary, and the lavish shore

Mock the free offering of its wasteful hand,— Might feel some generous glow unfelt before, Or pious line sublime of gentle pity's lore.

O that the trampled world's nobility,
Proud of dull currents of degenerate blood,
And boastful of the antique pedigree

Which makes them worth contemptuous scorn, now stood Where the slow marching waters of the flood

In solemn state majestic dash below,

Then might they see each of that graceful brood

On the lone rock its destined being throw,

Though old Eternity saw its ancestral flow.

O thou illimitable ocean,-thou
Shadowest the image of eternity;—

Thy many-sparkling waves are wanton now
Like reckless voyagers on that gloomy sea:
Ten thousand of thy billows momently
Ripple to being, then upon the shore

Shrink back to death and nothingness, so we

Wake to the energies of life and pour

Our few sad sighs,—one gasp,—and then are heard no more.


WIFE of James G. Brooks already mentioned. Her pieces have been published under the signature of Norna.


THE warrior kneit before the maid-
A blush came o'er her cheek;

Telling, as o'er her brow it play'd,
What not her tongue would speak.

"Ah! yes," he softly said, "thou 'lt be My own, my lily bride;"

« السابقةمتابعة »