صور الصفحة

aspiration must have acted as a self-corrective had time been given him. Chatterton, on leaving his employer, went to London, with great confidence in his own. powers, panting for distinction, and sanguine of success, but still possessing a very limited knowledge of life. In whatever he was deficient, he wanted not natural affection. His letters to his mother and sisters at this time were kind and sanguine, though probably many of his expressions of confidence were meant to sooth their anxiety for the young adventurer. While his short-lived prosperity continued, they shared in it; and the adverse fortune which rapidly followed was confined to his own bosom. Finding himself disappointed of procuring a living by writing for the book. sellers, and either unacquainted with the temporary shifts to which the literary adventurer must submit, or too proud to practise them, want of food-literal famine -led the way to a voluntary death. It is told, that the day before his death his landlady offered him a dinner, which he indignantly refused, saying he was not hungry. He was buried at the charge of the parish, in the bury.

ing-ground of a workhouse. The genius of Chatterton, wonderful though it be, is less extraordinary than its singular bent. A poetical anti. quary of sixteen is an anomaly in literature. The strongest proof on which the poems attributed by him to Rowley are pronounced forgeries, is, that they surpass the style of the age to which they are assigned. That these productions are throughout poetical and animated, is surely no great crime, at least in the eyes of those who prefer good to bad verse, though the former may have been written three centuries later, and by a youth of fifteen instead of an ancient priest. The strongest marks of antiquity which Chatterton's poems possess, is the apparently antiquated spelling, and the use of a few poetical epithets now become obsolete. Yet they bear

so well to be restored to modern orthography, that no scruple is made in adopting it in the following specimen selected from Ella, a drama attributed by Chatterton to his imaginary Rowley, and thus supposed to be written long before any drama had appeared in the language.


O! SING unto my roundelay,
O! drop the briny tear with me,
Dance no more on holiday,
Like a running river be ;

For my love's dead,
Gone to his deathbed,
All under the willow-tree.

Black his hair as winter night,
White his throat as summer snow,
Red his cheek as morning light,
Cold he lies in the grave below:

My love is dead, &c.

Sweet his tongue as throstle's note,
Quick in dance as thought was he,
Deft his tabor, cudgel stout,
0! he lies by the willow-tree :

My love is dead, &c.

Hark! the raven flaps his wing
In the brier'd dell below;
Hark! the death-owl loud doth sing
To the nightmares as they go :

My love is dead, &c.

See! the white moon shines on high ; Whiter is my true love's shroud ; Whiter than the morning sky, Whiter than the evening cloud :

My love is dead, &c.

Here upon my true love's grave
Shall the garen (a) flowers be laid ;
Not one holy saint to save
All the sorrows of a maid :

My love is dead, &c.

Come with acorn-cup and thorn,
Drain my heartis blood away;
Life and all its goods I scorn,
Dance by night or feast by day :

My love is dead, &c.

Water-witches crown'd with reeds,
Bear me to your deadly tide.
I die! I come ! my true love waits :
Thus the damsel spoke, and died.

(a) Bright, garish.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Mason was the son of the vicar of St Trinity, in the East

Riding of York. He studied at Cambridge, obtained orders, and in 1754 was appointed one of the king's chaplains. Mason's tragedies of ELFRIDA and CARACTACUS have been much admired; nor were his attainments in the fine arts confined to poetry. On obtaining a prebend in York cathedral, Mason married. His epitaph on his wife, who did not survive her marriage above two years, bears testimony to the tenderness of his affections and

the elegance of his mind. Mason was long the favourite and confidential friend of Gray, who left him all his books and MSS., with a legacy of L.500. He was a firm and consistent Whig in politics, and often took a more active part in public affairs than men of letters generally assume.

Mona on Snowdon calls :
Hear, thou king of mountains, hear;

Hark, she speaks from all her strings :

Hark, her loudest echo rings ; King of mountains, bend thine ear :

Send thy spirits, send them soon,

Now, when midnight and the moon Meet upon thy front of snow :

See, their gold and ebon rod,

Where the sober sisters nod,
And greet in whispers sage and slow.

Snowdon, mark ! 'tis magic's hour;
Now the mutter'd spell hath power;
Power to rend thy ribs of rock,
And burst thy base with thunder's shock :
But to thee no ruder spell
Shall Mona use, than those that dwell
In music's secret cells, and lie
Steep'd in the stream of harmony.

Snowdon has heard the strain :
Hark, amid the wondering grove

Other harpings answer clear,

Other voices meet our ear, Pinions flutter, shadows move,

Busy murmurs hum around,

Rustling vestments brush the ground; Round and round, and round they go,

Through the twilight, through the shade, Mount the oak's majestic head, And gild the tufted misletoe. Cease, ye glittering race of light, Close your wings, and check your flight; Here, arranged in order due, Spread your robes of saffron hue ; For, lo ! with more than mortal fire, Mighty Mador smites the lyre : Hark, he sweeps the master-strings ; Listen all —


IN THE CATHEDRAL OF BRISTOL TAKE, holy earth! all that my soul holds dear : Take that best gift which Heaven so lately

gave :

« السابقةمتابعة »