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The Pleasures of Memory.
IN TWO PARTS.
Os could my mind, unfolded in my page, regularity. They are sometimes excited by sensible Enlighten climes and mould a future age; objects, and sometimes by an internal operation of the There as it glow'd, with noblest frenzy fraught, mind. Of the former species is most probably the memDispense the treasures of exalted thought; ory of brutes; and its many sources of pleasure to them, To Virtue wake the pulses of the heart,
as well as to us, are considered in the first part. The And bid the tear of emulation start!
latter is the most perfect degree of memory, and forms Oh could it still, through each succeeding year, the subject of the second. My life, my manners, and my name endear; When ideas have any relation whatever, they are atAnd, when the poet sleeps in silent dust,
tractive of each other in the mind; and the perception Sall hold communion with the wise and just ! of any object naturally leads to the idea of another, Yet should this Verse, my leisure's best resource, which was connected with it either in time or place, or When through the world it steals its secret course, which can be compared or contrasted with it. Hence Revive but once a generous wish supprest,
arises our attachment to inanimate objects; hence also, Chase but a sigh, or charm a care to rest;
in some degree, the love of our country, and the cmoIn one good deed a fleeting hour employ,
tion with which we contemplate the celebrated scenes Or flush one faded cheek with honest joy;
of antiquity. Hence a picture directs our thoughts 10 Blest were my lines, though limited their sphere, the original: and, as cold and darkness suggest forcibly Though short their date, as his who traced them here. the ideas of heat and light, he, who feels the infirmities
1793. of age, dwells most on whatever reminds him of the
vigor and vivacity of his youth.
The associating principle, as here employed, is no less PART I.
conducive to virtue than to happiness; and, as such,
it frequently discovers itself in the most tumultuous Dolce sentier.
scenes of life. It addresses our finer feelings, and gives Colle, che mi piacesti,
exercise to every mild and generous propensity. Ov' ancor per usanza Amor mi mena; Ben riconosco in voi l' usate forme,
Not confined to man, it extends through all animated Non, lasso, in me.
nature; and its effects are peculiarly striking in the Petrarch.
Twilight's soft dews steal o'er the village-green, The Poern begins with the description of an obscure With magic tints to harmonize the scene : village, and of the pleasing inelancholy which it excites Still'd is the hum that through the hamlet broke, on being revisited after a long absence. This mixed When round the ruins of their ancient oak sensation is an effect of the memory. From an effect The peasants flock'd to hear the minstrel play, we naturally ascend to the cause; and the subject And games and carols closed the busy day. proposed is then unfolded, with an investigation of Her wheel at rest, the matron thrills no more the nature and leading principles of this faculty. With treasured tales, and legendary lore.
It is evident that our ideas flow in continual succes- All, all are fled; nor mirth nor music flows sion, and introduce each other with a certain degree of To chase the dreams of innocent repose.
All, all are fled; yet still I linger here!
Soar'd in the swing, half pleased and half afraid, What secret charms this silent spot endear? Through sister elms that waved their summer shade.
Mark yon old Mansion frowning through the trees, Or strew'd with crumbs yon root-inwoven seat, Whose hollow turret wooes the whistling brecze. To lure the red-breast from his lone retreat! That casement, arch'd with ivy's brownest sbade, Childhood's loved group revisits every scene, First 10 these eyes the light of heaven convey'd. The tangled wood-walk, and the tufted green! The mouldering gateway strews the grass-grown Indulgent MEMORY wakes, and lo, they live! court,
Clothed with fur softer hues than Light can give Once the calm scene of many a simple sport, Thou first, best friend that Heaven assigns below When nature pleased, for life itself was new, To soothe and sweeten all the cares we know; And the heart promised what the fancy drew. Whose glad suggestions still each vain alarm,
See, through the fractured pediment reveald, When nature fades, and life forgets to charm ; Where moss inlays the rudely-sculptured shield, Thee would the Muse invoke-o thee belong The martin's old hereditary nest :
The sage's precept, and the poet's song. Long may the ruin spare its hallow'd guest! What sosten’d views thy magic glass reveals,
As jars the hinge, what sullen echoes call! When o'er the landscape Time's meek twilight steals! Oh haste, unfold the hospitable hall!
As when in ocean sinks the orb of day, That hall, where once, in antiquated state, Long on the wave reflected lustres play; The chair of justice held the grave debate. Thy temper'd gleams of happiness resign'd
Nowstaind with dews, with cobwebs darkly hung, Glance on the darken'd mirror of the mind. Oft has its roof with peals of rapture rung;
The School's lone porch, with reverend mosses grey, When round yon ple board, in due degree, Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay. We sweeten'd every meal with social glee. Mute is the bell that rung at pecp of dawn, The heart's light laugh pursued the circling jest; Quickening my truant feet across the lawn : And all was sunshine in each little breast. Unheard the shout that rent the noontide air, 'Twas here we chased the slipper by the sound; When the slow dial gave a pause to care. And turn'd the blindfold hero round and round. Up springs, at every step, to claim a tear, (1) 'Twas here, at eve, we form'd our fairy ring; Some little friendship form'd and cherish'd here, And fancy flutter'd on her wildest wing.
And not the lightest leaf, but trembling teems Giants and genii chain'd each wondering ear; With golden visions, and romantic dreams! And orphan-sorrows drew the ready tear.
Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blazed Oft with the babes we wander'd in the wood, The Gipsey's fagot—there we stood and gazed ; Or view'd the forest-feats of Robin Hood : Gazed on her sun-burnt face with silent awe, Oft, fancy-led, at midnight's searful hour,
Her tauler'd mantle, and her hood of straw; With startling step we scaled the lonely tower; Her moving lips, her caldron brimming o'er; O'er infant innocence to hang and weep,
The drowsy brood that on her back she bore, Murder'd by ruffian hands. when smiling in its sleep. Imps in the barn with mousing owlet bred,
Ye Household Deities! whose guardian eye From rilled roost at nightly revel fed; (shade, Mark'd each pure thought, ere register'd on ligh; Whose dark eyes flush'd through locks of blackest Still, still ye walk the consecrated ground, When in the breeze the distant watch-dog bay’d:And breathe the soul of Inspiration round. And heroes fled the Sibyl's muiter'd call, As o'er the dusky furniture I bend,
Whose elfin prowess scaled the orchard-wall. Each chair awakes the feelings of a friend. As o'er my palm the silver piece she drew, The storied arras, source of fond delight,
And traced the line of life with searching view, With old achievement charms the wilder'd sight; How throbb’d my flattering pulse with hopes and And still, with Heraldry's rich hues imprest,
fears, On the dim window glows the pictured crest. To learn the color of my future years! The screen unfolds its many-color'd chart;
Ah, then, what honest triumph flush'd my breast; The clock still points its moral to the heart; This truth once known-To bless is to be blost! That faithful monitor 't was heaven to hear, We led the bending beggar on his way, When soft it spoke a promised pleasure near : (Bare were his feet, his tresses silver-grey) And has its sober hand, its simple chime, Soothed the keen pangs his aged spirit felt. Forgot to trace the feather'd feet of Time ?
And on his tale with mute attention dwelt. That massive beam, with curious carvings wrought, As in his scrip we dropt our little store, Whence the caged linnet soothed my pensive thought; And sigh’d to think that little was no more, [live!" Those muskets, cased with venerable rust; [dust, He breathed his prayer, “ Long may such goodness 'Those once-loved forms, still breathing thro' their 'Twas all he gave, ’iwas all he had to give. Suill, from the frame in mould gigantic cast,
But hark! through those old firs, with sullen swell, Starting to life--all whisper of the Past !
The churcb-clock strikes! ye tenderscenes, farewell! As through the garden's desert paths I rove, It calls me lence, beneath their shade, to trace What fond illusions swarm in every grove ! The few fond lines that Time may soon effuce. How oft, when purple evening tinged the west, On yon grey stone, that fronts the chancel-door, We watch'd the emmet to her grainy nest ; Worn smooth by busy feet now seen no more, Welcomed the wild-bee home on weary wing, Each eve we shot the marble through the ring, Laden with sweets, the choicest of the spring! When the heart danced, and life was in its spring, How oft inscribed, with Friendship’s votive rhyme, Alas! unconscious of the kindred earth, The bark now silver'd by the touch of Time; That faintly echo'd to the voice of mirth.
The glow-worm loves her emerald light to shed, Long o'er the wave a wistful look he cast,
So Scotia's Queen, (5) as slowly dawn'd the day,
Hush, ye fond flutterings, hush! while here alone Her eyes had bless'd the beacon's glimmering height
And lo, what busy tribes were instant on the wing!
Thus kindred objects kindred thoughts inspire, (6)
As summer-clouds flash forth electric fire.
Hence home-felt pleasure (7) prompts the Patriot's
For this young Foscari, (8) whose hapless fate
When reason, justice, vainly urged his cause,
Glad to return, though Hope could grant no more,
Aerial forms in Tempe's classic vale
Glance through the gloom, and whisper in the gale;
In wild Vaucluse with love and Laura dwell, Brightens or fades; yet all, with magic art, And watch and weep in Eloisa's cell. (10) Control the latent fibres of the heart.
"T was ever thus. As now at Virgil's tomb (11) As studious Prospero's mysterious spell
We bless the shade, and bid the verdure bloom : Drew every subject-spirit to his cell ;
So Tully paused, amid the wrecks of Time, (12)
On the rude stone to trace the truth sublime;
Where once a Plato taught, a Pindar sung;
Who now but meets him musing, when he roves
And hence that calm delight the portrait gives :
The adventurous boy, that asks his little share, And the lost friend still lingers in his shade!
Tremblingly still, she lists his veil to trace
Forgets his age, and acts again the boy.
What though the iron school of War erase
What though the fiend's torpedo-touch arrest
Melts at the long-lost scenes that round him rise, Want with her babes round generous Valor clung,
To wring the slow surrender from his tongue,
the sky Sought the lone limits of a forest-shed.
Hark! the bee (21) winds her small but mellow When Diocletian's self-corrected mind (17)
horn, The imperial fasces of a world resign'd,
Blithe to salute the sunny smile of morn.
And many a stream allures her to its source.
Its orb so full, its vision so confined !
Undamp'd by time, the generous Instinct glows With conscious truth retrace the mazy clue
Of varied scents, that charm'd her as she flew ?
Guards the least link of Being's glorious chain.
Delle cose custode, e dispensiera.
The Memory has hitherto acted only in subservi
ence to the senses, and so far man is not eminently When not a sheep-bell soothed his listening ear, distinguished from other animals: but, with respect And the big rain-drops told the tempest near; to man, she has a higher province; and is often busily Then did his horse the homeward track descry, (19) employed, when excited by no external cause whalThe track that shunn'd his sad, inquiring eye ; ever. She preserves, for his use, the treasures of art And win each wavering purpose to relent, and science, history and philosophy. She colors all With warmth so mild, so gently violent,
the prospects of life : for “ we can only anticipate the That his charm'd hand the careless rein resign'd, future, by concluding what is possible from what is And doubts and terrors vanish'd from his mind. past.” On her agency depends every effusion of the
Recall the traveller, whose alter'd form Fancy, who with the boldest effort can only comHlas borne the buffet of the mountain-storm : pound or transpose, augment or diminish, the mateAnd who will first his fond impatience meet? rials which she has collected. His faithful dog's already at his feet!
When the first emotions of despair have subsided, Yes, though the porter spurn him from the door, and sorrow has softened into melancholy, she amuses Though all, that knew him, know his face no more, with a retrospect of innocent pleasures, and inspires His faithful dog shall tell his joy to each,
that noble confidence which results from the conscious. With that mute eloquence which passes speech.— ness of having acted well. When sleep has suspended And see, the master but returns to die!
the organs of sense from their office, she not only supYet who shall bid the watchful servant fly? plies the mind with images, but assists in their combiThe blasts of heaven, the drenching dews of earth, nation. And even in madness itself, when the soul is The wanton insults of unfeeling mirth,
resigned over to the tyranny of a distempered imagiThese, when to guard Misfortune's sacred grave, nation, she revives past perceptions, and awakens that Will firm Fidelity exult to brave.
train of thought which was formerly most familiar. Led by what chart, transports the timid dovo Nor are we pleased only with a review of the The wreaths of conquest, or the vows of love ? brighter passages of life. Events, the most distressing Say, through the clouds what compass points her flight? in their immediate consequences, are often cherished Monarchs have gazed, and nations bless'd the sight. in remembrance with a degree of enthusiasm. Pile rocks on rocks, bid woods and mountains rise, But the world and its occupations give a mechanical Eclipse her native shades, her native skies :- impulse to the passions, which is not very favorable "T'is vain! through Ether's pathless wilds she goes, to the indulgence of this feeling. It is in a calm and And lights at last where all her cares repose. well-regulated mind that the Memory is most perfect; Sweet bird! thy truth shall Haarlem's walls at- and solitude is her best sphere of action. With this test, (20)
sentiment is introduced a Talc illustrative of her inAnd unborn ages consecrate thy nest.
fuence in solitude, sickness, and sorrow. And the suh When, with the silent energy of grief,
ject having now been considered, so far as it relates w With looks that ask'd, yet dared not hope relief, man and the animal world, the Poem concludes witla