صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

-half-physical, half-ideal, and finer than all the agencies of Time-linked together by spells, which are the spontaneous magic of genius, which he that can use, never understands—the wĒird hosts of words fly forth, silently, with silver wings, to win resistlessly against the obstacles of Days, and Distance, and Destruction, to fetter nations in the viewless chains of admiration, and be, in the ever-presence of their all-vitality, the immortal portion of the r author's being.

6. Say what we will of the reil character of the strifes of war, and policy, and wealth, the accents of the singer are the true acts of the race. What prince, in the secret places of his dalliänce, uses such delights as his ? Passing through the life of the actual, with its transitory blisses, its deciduous' hopes, its quickly waning fires, his interests dwell only in the deep consciousness of the soul and mind, to which belong undecaying raptures, and the tone of a gödlike force. Within that glowing universe of Sentiment and Fancy, which he generates from his own strenuous and teeming spirit, he is visited by immortal forms, whose motions torment the heart with ecstasy-whose vesture is of light-whose society is a frāgrance of all the blossoms of Hope.

7. To him the True approaches in the rādiant garments of the Beautiful ; the Good unvails to him the princely splendors of her native lineaments, and is seen to be Pleasure. His soul lies strewn upon its flowery desires, while, from the fountains of ideal loveliness, flows softly over him the rich, warm luxury of the Fancy's passion. His Joys are Powers; and it is the blessedness of his condition that Triumph to him is prepared not by toil, but by indulgence. Begotten by the creative might of rapture, and beaming with the strength of the delight of their conception, the shapes of his imagination come forth in splendor, and he fascinates the world with his felicities.

H. B. WALLACE

II.

176. TO THE SPIRIT OF POETRY.

LEAVE me not xětLeave me not cold and lonely,

of
Thou art the friend—the beautiful—the only,

Whom I would keep, though all the world depart!
De cid' u oug, falling in autumn, as leaves; not permanent.

Thou, that dost vail the frailest flower with glory,

Spirit of light and loveliness and truth! Thou that didst tell me a sweet, fairy story

Of the dim future, in my wistful youth! Thou, who canst weave a halo round the spirit,

Through which naught mean or evil dare intrude, Resume not yet the gift, which I inherit

From heaven and thee, that dearest, holiest good! Leave me not now! Leave me not cold and lonely,

Thou starry prophet of my pining heart! Thou art the friend—the tenderest, the only,

With whom, of all, 'twould be despair to part. 2. Thou that camest to me in my dreaming childhood,

Shaping the chăngeful clouds to pāgeants rare,
Peopling the smiling vale and shaded wildwood

With airy beings, faint yět strāngely fair ;
Telling me all the sea-born breeze was saying,

While it went whispering through the willing leaves ;
Bidding me listen to the light rain playing

Its pleasant tune about the household eaves ;
Tuning the low, sweet ripple of the river,

Till its melodious murmur seemed a song!.
A tender and sad chant, repeated ever,

A sweet, impassioned plaint of love and wrong!
Leave me not yet! Leave me not cold and lonely,

Thou star of promise o'er my clouded path!
Leave not the life, that borrows from thee only

All of delight and beauty that it hath!
3. Thou, that when others knew not how to love me,

Nor cared to fathom half my yearning soul,
Didst wreathe thy flowers of light around, above me,

To woo and win me from my grief's control;
By all my dreams, the passionate, the holy,

When thou hast sung love's lullaby to me;
By all the childlike worship, fond and lowly,

Which I have lavished upon thine and thee;
By all the lays my simple lute was learning,

To echo from thy voice-stay with me still!
Once flown-alas! for thee there's no returning!

The charm will die o'er valley, wood, and hill.

Tell me not TIME, whose wing my brow has shaded,

Has withered spring's sweet bloom within my heart : Ah, no! the rose of love is yet unfaded,

Though hope and joy, its sister flowers, depart. 4. Well do I know that I have wronged thine altar

the light offerings of an idler's mind ;
And thus with shame, my pleading prayer I falter,

Leave me not, spirit! děaf, and dumb, and blind!
Deaf to the mystic harmony of nature,

Blind to the beauty of her stars and flowers ;
Leave me not, heavenly yệt human teacher,

Lonely and lost in this cold world of ours!
Heaven knows I need thy music and thy beauty

Still to beguile me on my weary way,
To lighten to my soul the cares of duty,

And bless with rādiänt dreams the darkened day;
To charm my wild heart in the worldly revel,

Lest I, too, join the aimless, false and vain :
Let me not lower to the soulless level

Of those whom I now pity and disdain !
Leave me not yet!—leave me not cold and pining,

Thou bird of paradise, whose plumes of light,
Where'er they rested, left a glory shining :

Fly not to heaven, or let me share thy flight! OSGOOD. FRANCES SARGENT OSGOOD, daughter of Joseph Locke, a Boston merchant, was born in that city about the year 1812. Some of her first poems appeared in a juvenile Miscellany, conducted by Mrs. L. M. Child, rapidly followed by others, which soon gave their signature, “Florence," a wide reputation. About 1834 she was married to 8. S. Osgood, a young painter already distinguished in bis profession. They soon after went to London, where Mr. Osgood pursued his art of portrait-painting with success; and his wife's poetical compositions to various periodicals met with equal favor. In 1839 a collection of her poems was published in London, entitled “A Wreath of Wild-Flowers from New England." About the same period she wrote “The Happy Release, or the Triumphs of Love," a play in three acts. She returned with Mr. Osgood to Boston in 1840. They removed to New York soon afterward, where the remainder of her life was principally passed. Her poems, and prose tales and sketches, appeared at brief intervals in the magazines. In 1841 she edited“The Poetry of Flowers and Flowers of Poetry," and in 1847,“The Floral Offering,” two illustrated gift-books. Her poems were collected and published in New York in 1846. She possessed an unusual facility in writing verses, with a felicitous style, and was happy in the selection of subjects. Her rare gracefulness and delicacy, and her unaffected and lively manners, won her a large circle of warm friends. She died on the 12th of May, 1850.

III.

177. THE INFLUENCE OF POETRY.

W

E believe that poëtry, far from injuring society, is one

of the great instruments of its refinement and exaltation. It lifts the mind above ordinary life, gives it a respite from depressing cares, and awakens the consciousness of its affinity with what is pure and noble. In its legitimate and highest efforts, it has the same tendency and aim with Christianity (krist yăn'i ti),—that is, to spiritualize our nature.

2. True, poëtry has been made the instrument of vice, the pander of bad passions ; but when genius thus stoops, it dims its fires, and parts with much of its power; and even when poetry is enslaved to licéntiousness and misăn'thropy, she can not wholly forgět her true vocation. Strains of pure feeling, touches of tenderness, images of innocent happiness, sympathies with what is good in our nature, bursts of scorn or indignation at the hollowness of the world, passages true to our mõral nature, often escape in an immoral work, and show us how hard it is for a gifted spirit to divorce itself wholly from what is good.

3. Poëtry has a natural alliänce with our best affections. It delights in the beauty and sublimity of outward nature and of the soul. It indeed portrays with terrible energy the excesses of the passions ; but they are passions which show a mighty nature, which are full of power, which command awe, and excite a deep though shuddering sympathy. Its great tendency and purpose is to carry the mind beyond and above the beaten, dusty, weary walks of ordinary life; to lift it into a purer element, and to breathe into it more profound and generous emotion.

4. It reveals to us the loveliness of nature, brings back the freshness of youthful feeling, revives the relish of simple pleasures, keeps unquenched the enthusiasm which warmed the spring-time of our being, refines youthful love, strengthens our interest in human nature by vivid delineations of its tenderest and loftiest feelings, spreads our sympathies over all classes of society, knits us by new ties with universal being, and, through the brightness of its prophetic visions, helps faith to lay hold on the future life.

5. We are aware that it is objected to poëtry that it gives wrong views and excites false expectations of life, peoples the mind with shadows and illusions, and builds up imagination on the ruins of wisdom. That there is a wisdom against which poetry wars—the wisdom of the senses, which makes physical comfort and gratification the supreme good, and wealth the chief interest of life—we do not deny ; nor do we deem it the least service which poetry renders to mankind, that it redeems them from the thraldom of this earth-born prudence.

6. But, passing over this topic, we would observe that the complaint against poëtry, as abounding in illusion and deception, is, in the main, groundlèss. In many poems there is more of truth than in many histories and philosophic theories. The fictions of genius are often the vehicles of the sublimest verities, and its flashes often open new regions of thought, and throw new light on the mysteries of our being. In poetry, when the letter is falsehood, the spirit is often profoundest wisdom.

7. And if truth thus dwells in the boldest fictions of the poet, much more may it be expected in his delineations of life; for the present life, which is the first stage of the immortal mind, abounds in the materials of poetry, and it is the highest office of the bard to detect this divīne element among the grūsser pleasures and labors of our earthly being. The present life is not wholly prosaic, precise, tame, and finite. To the gifted eye it abounds in the poetic.

8. The affections which spread beyond ourselves, and stretch far into futurity ; the workings of mighty passions, which seem to arm the soul with an almost superhuman energy; the innocent and irrepressible joy of infancy ; the bloom, and buoyancy, and dazzling hopes of youth; the throbbings of the heart when it first wakes to love, and dreams of a happiness too vast for earth ; woman, with her beauty, and grace, and gentleness, and fullness of feeling, and depth of affection, and her blushes of purity, and the tones and looks which only a mother's heart can inspire,—these are all poetical.

9. It is not true that the poet paints a life which does not exist. He only extracts and concentrates, as it were, life's ethereal essence, arrests and condenses its volatile frāgrance, brings together its scattered beauties, and prolongs its more refined but évaněs'cent joys; and in this he does well ; for it is

« السابقةمتابعة »