صور الصفحة





Hail thou, the ever young, albeit of night

And of primaeval chaos, eldest born ;
Thou, at whose birth broke forth the Founts of Light,

And o'er Creation flush'd the earliest morn!
Life, in thy life, suffused the conscious whole;
And formless matter took the harmonious soul,

Hail, Love! the Death-defyer! age to age

Linking, with flowers, in the still heart of man!
Dream to the Bard, and marvel to the Sage,

Glory and mystery since the world began.
Shadowing the cradle, bright’ning at the tomb,
Soft as our joys, and solemn as our doom!

Ghost-like amidst the unfamiliar Past,

Dim shadows flit along the streams of Time;
Vainly our learning trifles with the vast

Unknown of ages! Like the wizard's rhyme
We call the dead, and from the Tartarus
'Tis but the dead that rise to answer us!

Voiceless and wan, we question them in vain ;

They leave unsolv'd earth's mighty yesterday.
But wave thy wand—they bloom, they breathe again!

The link is found as we love, so loved they!
Warm to our clasp our human brothers start,
Man smiles on man, and heart speaks out to heart.

Arch power, of every power most dread, most sweet,

Ope at thy touch the far celestial gates;
Yet Terror dies with Joy before thy feet,

And, with the Graces, glide unseen the Fates;
Eos and Hesperus,-one, with twofold light,
Bringer of day, and herald of the night.


Mild, like all Strength, sits crowned Liberty,

Wearing the aspect of a youthful Queen ;
And far outstretch'd along the unmeasured sea

Rolls the vast shadow of her throne; serene
From the dumb icebergs to the fiery zone,
Rests the vast shadow of that guardian throne.

I Venus is sometimes a morning (Eos) sometimes an evening star (Hesperus': sec note 3, p. 428. Some of the beauties of this invocation are drawn from the Crphic and Heslo odic mythology.

And round her group the Cymrian's changless race,

Blent with the Saxon, brother-like; and both
Saxon and Cymrian from that sovereign trace

Their hero line ;-sweet flower of age-long growth;
The single blossom on the twofold stem;
Arthur's white plume crests Cerdic's diadem.

Behold the close of thirteen hundred years ;

Lo! Cymri's daughter on the Saxon throne !
Free as their air thy Cymrian mountaineers,

And in the heavens one rainbow cloud alone
Which shall not pass, until, the cycle v'er,
The soul of Arthur comes to earth once more.


MR SERJEANT TALFOURD's tragedies are “The Athenian Captive," "lon. and “ The Massacre of Glencoe.” The two former dramas are constructed on the classical model, the incidents and catastrophe of each piece being independent of the character of the hero, and urged on under the law of an uncontrollable destiny (see note 4, p. 219, supra). Both tragedies are extremely interesting in the conduct of the story, rich in imagery, and pure and elegant in language. The poet has produced a number of small occasional pieces ; and he has been twice the biographer of his beloved friend Charles Lamb.


ACT IV. sc. 3.
SCENEThe Hall of Statues in the Palace (at Argos).
Thoas. [Alone.] Again I stand within this awful hall ;
I found the entrance here, without the sense
Of vision ; for a foul and clinging mist,
Like the damp vapour of a long-closed vault,

1 Cymri, Cumbri, the ancient Britons, of whom Arthur was king: hence Cambria. Wales ; Cumberland, and the Cumbrae isles, on the coast of the “British" kingdom of Strathclyde. For the Welsh Cymri, see Scott's " Betrothed."-Cerdic, the Saron found. er of the Heptarch kingdom of Wessex, Arthur's antagonist - While flume, see p. 58 supra.

2 The poet has recently been created a judge.

3 Thoas, an Athenian warrior, captured in battle by the Corinthians, and reduced to sla very by Creon the Corinthian king, is urged by the queen Ismene, originally an Athenian lady, to murder Creon in revenge for the injuries she has suffered froin the king. Thoas performs her will, and escapes in remorse to the approaching Athenian army; the city surrenders, and Ismene reveals herself as the mother of Thoas.



Is round me. Now its objects start to sight
With terrible distinctness! Crimson stains
Break sudden on the walls ! The fretted roof
Grows living! Let me hear a human voice,
Or I shall play the madman !

Enter Ismene, richly dressed.
Ismene. Noble soldier,
I bid thee welcome, with the rapturous heart
Of one, for whom thy patriot arm bath wrought
Deliverance and revenge-but more for Athens,
Than for myself, I hail thee: why dost droop?
Art thou oppressed with honours, as a weight
Thou wert not born to carry? I will tell
That which shall show thee native to the load,
And shall requite thee with a joy as great
As that thou hast conferr'd. Thy life was hid
Beneath inglorious accident, till force
Of its strong current urged it forth to-day,
To glisten and expand in sun-light. Know
That it has issued from a fountain bright
As is its destiny.-Thou sharest with me
The blood of Theseus,

Thoas. If thy speech is true,
And I have something in me which responds
To its high tidings,- I am doom'd to bear
A heavier woe than I believed the gods
Would ever lay on mortal ; I have stood
Unwittingly upon a skiey height,
By ponderous gloom encircled, -thou hast shown
The mountain-summit mournfully reversed
In the black mirror of a lurid lake,
Whose waters soon shall cover me, I've stain'd
A freeman's nature; thou hast shown it sprung
From gods and heroes, and would'st have me proud
Of the foul sacrilege.

If that just deed,
Which thus disturbs thy fancy, were a crime,
What is it in the range of glorious acts,
Past and to come, to which thou art allied,
But a faint speck, an atom, which no eye
But thine would dwell on ?

It infects them all ;
Spreads out funereal blackness as they pass
In sad review before me. Hadst thou pour'd
This greatness on my unpolluted heart,
How had it bounded I now it tortures me,
From thee, fell sorceress, who shared my soul,

I The Hero-king of Athens and the founder of her constitution,

Here in this very hall !1_May the strong curse
Which breathes from out the ruins of a nature
Blasted by guilt-

Ismene. Hold! Parricide-forbear!
She whom thou hast avenged, she whom the death
Of Creon hath set free, whom thou would'st curse,
Is she who bore thee!

Thou !

Dost doubt my word!
Is there no witness in thy mantling blood
Which tells thee whence 'twas drawn? Is nature silent?
If, from the mists of infancy, no form
Of her who, sunk in poverty, forgot
Its ills in tending thee, and made the hopes
Which glimmer'd in thy smiles her comfort,-gleams
Upon thee yet ;-hast thou forgot the night
When foragers from Corinth toss'd a brand
Upon the roof that shelter'd thee; dragg'd out
The mother from the hearth where she had sat
Resign'd to perish, shrieking for the babe
Whoin from her bosom they had rent? That child
Now listens. As in rapid flight I gazed
Backward upon the blazing ruin, shapes
Of furies, from amid the fire, look'd out
And grinn'd upon me. Every weary night,
While I have lain upon my wretched bed,
They have been with me, pointing to the hour
Of vengeance. Thou hast wrought it for me, Son !
Embrace thy mother !

Would the solid earth
Would open, and enfold me in its strong
And stifling grasp, that I might be as though
I ne'er was born.

Dost mock me? I have clasp'd
Sorrow and shame, as if they were my sons,
To keep my heart from hardening into stone;
The promised hour arrived ; and, when it came,
The furies, in repayment, sent an arm
Moulded from mine, to strike the oppressor dead.
I triumph'd, and I sent thee!

Dost confess
That, conscious who I was, thou urged my knife
Against the king ?

Confess !-I glory in it !-
Thy arm hath done the purpose of my will ;
For which I bless it. Now I am thy suitor.
Victorious hero! Pay me for those cares
Long past, which man ne'er guesses at;for years

Referring to Act iii. Sc. 2.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Of daily, silent suffering, which young soldiers
Have not a word to body forth; for all,
By filling for a moment these fond arms,
Which held thee first.

Thoas. [Shrinking from her.] I cannot. I will kneel
To thank thee for thy love, ere thou didst kill
Honour and Hope ;-then grovel at thy feet,
And pray them trample out the wretched life
Thou gav'st me.

Ismene. Ha! Beware, unfeeling man :-
I had opposed, had crush'd all human loves,
And they were wither'd; thou hast call'd them forth,
Rushing in crowds from memory's thousand cells,
To scoff at them. Beware! They will not slumber,
But sting like scorpions.




Think upon the time
When the clear depths of thy yet lucid soul
Were ruffled with the troublings of strange joy,
As if some unseen visitant from heaven
Touch'd the calm lake, and wreath'd its images
In sparkling waves ;-recal the dallying hope,
That on the margin of assurance trembled,
As loth to lose in certainty too bless'd
Its happy being ;-taste in thought again
Of the stolen sweetness of those evening walks,
When pansied turf was air to wingéd feet,
And circling forests, by ethereal touch
Enchanted, wore the livery of the sky,
As if about to melt in golden light
Shapes of one heavenly vision; and thy heart,
Enlarged by its new sympathy with one,
Grew bountiful to all!


MR TENNTson is the author of a volume of miscellaneous pocms, and latterly of a longer composition, the “ Princess." The characteristics of his poetry lie rather in its external dress of imagery and language, than in any bias towards a particular line of thought or subject. His pieces might be classed, in the manner of Mr Wordsworth, into Poems of the Affections ;

« السابقةمتابعة »