صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Ειμι δ' ασχολος α

ναθεμεν πασαν μακραγοριαν
Λυρα σε και φθεγμα-
τι μαλθακω.

PINDAR.–Pyth : Od: viii. Lin : 40

« Præter cetera, me Romæ ne poemata censes

Scribere posse, inter tot curas, totque labores ?
Hic sponsum vocat, hic auditum scripta, relictis
Omnibus officiis : cubat hic in colle Quirini :
Hic extremo in Aventino : visendus uterque :
Intervalla vides humanè commoda ! Verum
Puræ sunt plateæ, nihil ut meditantibus obstet !"

HORAT :-Epis : ii. Lib: 2.

Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses !"

CITIZEN, IN JULIUS CÆSAR.

SONNETS ON THE GIANTS CAUSEWAY.

This natural phænomenon forms the extreme Northern boundary of Ireland. The Causeway is composed of pillars most exactly adjusted to each other-principally pentagons—and presents all the regular insertion, though not the even surface, of a Mosaic. It runs like a pier or jetty into the sea, and no termination has been found of it. Majestic cliffs of the same pillars rise on each side of it, and distinguish at intervals a considerable line of the coast. Some of the caves, into which you row, add greatly to the grave, and almost dread, character of the scenery: the waves constantly rolling into them and awakening the echoes, which often resemble the cries of living things. The influence of the whole is that of intense solemnity,—there is an awful charm, which even a smile might break !

I.

WHENCE rose ye? on what basement are ye stayed,

Ye forms of wondrous grandeur? Who hath hewn

These matchless strong proportions? Who hath strewn This mass of glorious power? Whom obeyed Nature in rearing thee, Dread Colonnade ? Answers come sounding forth from depth and height !

While ocean bears me on, hark from these caves

A thousand echoes tell,—and as it raves
Against yon headland shores, its voice of might

Thunders the Name at which Heaven's pillars bow !
E'en

ye, too mean to prop his footstool-worldDown at His presence shall ye quickly flowSoon from your sunless rests shall ye be hurled ;

When in one flame the Universe shall glow!

II.

Where are the deep-laid chymic cisterns, whence (1.)

Precipitate congealed these crystals vast ? Or what the forges, whose wild vehemence,

Fanned by the bellows of an earthquake-blast,

Into these moulds the molten mineral cast?
O! far from scenes like these be banished hence
Proud theory and arrogant pretence !

Memorials of a world adjudged and past !
Ye solemn monuments, of nothing vain,

Over some guilty race like tombs ye rise !
Or, sweeter thought, ye shaped to Heaven's strain

Attuning mighty order from the skies,– (2)
The trophied architecture of a reign

With whose mysterious harmony it vies !

III.

A highway for your God! and lo! the Sea (3)

Gave way, and wondering Spectator stood ;

Its boiling fury was at once subdued,
And its waves kissed the mole, no longer free!
A highway for your God ! and suddenly

The promontory cross-way clave the flood :

And still the surge repeats that “all is good”
To the Primeval Mandate, “Let it be !”
So when Thy Footsteps, Lord, are still unknown

As through the waters deep Thou hold'st thy course, Thy people onward pass, not overflown,

The wildest billows soon have spent their force,Soft gales just breathe where tempests long have blown,

All stilled and hushed to ocean's deepest source !

IV.

Are ye not bulwarks to this lovely Isle,

Isle of the shamrock, of the harp, and saint ?

Where verdure doth its greenest beauties paint, And hill, glen, lake, in each proportion smile, Framed in by every mountain's grim defile !

What though among its legends, strangely quaint,

We trace the spread of superstition's taint, As flaws deform thee, thou great Barrier Pile ! The trefoil twined around Life's healing tree,

The song of holy burden filled the air,Wide flew the seed of the devout Culdee, (4.)

And grateful harvests well repaid his care ! And Thou wast as the Porch to which to flee,

When Erin was Earth's purest House of Prayer !

V.

And stretches outward,—to yon Wondrous Rock, (5.)

In magic pillars rising from the deep,

Of lightest cluster or with bending sweep, Braving the eddy's waste and billow's shock, As placed the works of human art to mock,

Stretches this platform's massive masonry,

As if a pathway, leading through the main, To the ne'er-closing threshold of this Fane, Paving the ocean's dark immensity ?

That hidden cloister shall no eye discern : That sunken passage shall no plummet sound :

There only monsters plunge who may not learn Why reaches on this sea-dividing bound,

Secrets, still Sea shall dry and Earth shall burn!

VI.

Dread Temple of the Waters! Ocean-Shrine ! (6.)

Oft beneath pointed roof, through lengthened aisle,

Of superstition's dight and columned style,
The Pattern we recall of Truth divine,
And as we gaze, deplore the strange decline.

No sin thy self-hewn pillars can defile !

No cheat thy self-sprung arches can beguile! Far nobler than where golden altars shine! Ages have seen thee! while the piles of earth

Have mouldered: if indeed thou wast not flung In all thy majesty from Nature's birth :

And when the Morning Stars blest jubilee sung, Didst thou not all reverberate their mirth ?

Here Pilgrim-Waves aye bowed, and Choir-Winds rung!

(1.) The Basaltic formations, it is well known, are attributed by the rival sects of Geology, the Neptunists or Wernerians, and the Plutonists or Huttonians, to aqueous causes on the one hand, to igneous on the other.

(2.) It seems impossible to disconnect the association of exact arrangement and music :

“ From harmony, to heavenly harmony,

This Universal Frame began." (3.) It rather suggests the idea of “ His footsteps which are in the sea," than of those Titans who are fabled to have reared it.

(4.) The Culdees were a most zealous community of Christian Ministers, allied to the old Cathari,-opponents of superstition, and missionaries of transcendent excellence. Ireland was their home,—the latest refuge of primitive Christianity amid general defection and corruption, and was then indeed “an isle of saints." Why it remained not so, let the History of our Second Henry tell.

(5.) Many have supposed that the Causeway extends by a submarine range to Staffa, on the opposite coast of Scotland. It is exactly similar, only that Hebridean wonder is more singularly developed.

(6.) Fingal's Cave, in Staffa, exhibits the appearance of an august sanctuary, open to the sea, which swells and breaks in it, and symphonious with the eddy of the wind. Its sides, its roof, its tout ensemble, must be seen to be estimated, but never can be described.

« السابقةمتابعة »