صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني



UNDRAW yon curtain, look within that room,
Where all is splendour, yet where all is gloom:
Why weeps that mother? why, in pensive mood,
Group noiseless round, that little, lovely brood?
The battledore is still, lain by each book,
And the harp slumbers in its 'custom'd nook.
Who hath done this? what cold, unpitying foe,
Hath made his house the dwelling-place of woe?
"Tis he, the husband, father, lost in care,
O'er that sweet fellow in his cradle there:
The gallant bark that rides by yonder strand,
Bears him to-morrow from his native land.
Why turns he, half unwilling, from his home,
To tempt the ocean and the earth to roam?
Wealth he can boast, a miser's sigh would hush,
And health is laughing in that ruddy blush;
Friends spring to greet him, and he has no foe-
So honour'd and so bless'd, what bids him go?
eye must see, his foot each spot must tread,
Where sleeps the dust of earth's recorded dead;
Where rise the monuments of ancient time,
Pillar and pyramid in age sublime:

The pagan's temple and the churchman's tower,
War's bloodiest plain, and Wisdom's greenest bower;
All that his wonder woke in schoolboy themes,
All that his fancy fired in youthful dreams:
Where Socrates once taught he thirsts to stray,
Where Homer pour'd his everlasting lay;
From Virgil's tomb he longs to pluck one flower,
By Avon's stream to live one moonlight hour;


To pause where England "garners up" her great,
And drop a patriot's tear to Milton's fate;
Fame's living masters, too, he must behold,
Whose deeds shall blazon with the best of old:
Nations compare, their laws and customs scan,
And read, wherever spread, the book of Man;
For these he goes, self-banish'd from his hearth,
And wrings the hearts of all he loves on earth.
Yet say, shall not new joy those hearts inspire,
When grouping round the future winter fire,
To hear the wonders of the world they burn,
And lose his absence in his glad return?
Return? alas! he shall return no more,

To bless his own sweet home, his own proud shore.
Look once again: cold in his cabin now,
Death's finger-mark is on his pallid brow;
No wife stood by, her patient watch to keep,
To smile on him, then turn away to weep;
Kind woman's place rough mariners supplied,
And shared the wanderer's blessing when he died.
Wrapp'd in the raiment that it long must wear,
His body to the deck they slowly bear;
The setting sun flings round his farewell rays,
O'er the broad ocean not a ripple plays;

How eloquent, how awful in its power,
The silent lecture of death's sabbath-hour!
One voice that silence breaks-the prayer is said,
And the last rite man pays to man is paid;
The plashing water marks his resting-place,
And folds him round in one long, cold embrace;
Bright bubbles for a moment sparkle o'er,
Then break, to be, like him, beheld no more;
Down, countless fathoms down, he sinks to sleep,
With all the nameless shapes that haunt the deep.




BIRD of the lone and joyless night,
Whence is thy sad and solemn lay?
Attendant on the pale moon's light,

Why shun the garish blaze of day?

When darkness fills the dewy air,

Nor sounds the song of happier bird, Alone, amid the silence there,

Thy wild and plaintive note is heard.

Thyself unseen, thy pensive moan
Pour'd in no living comrade's ear,
The forest's shaded depths alone
Thy mournful melody can hear.

Beside what still and secret spring,

In what dark wood the livelong day,
Sett'st thou with dusk and folded wing,
To while the hours of light away?

Sad minstrel! thou hast learn'd, like me,
That life's deceitful gleam is vain;

And well the lesson profits thee,

Who will not trust its charm again.

Thou, unbeguiled, thy plaint dost trill
To listening night, when mirth is o'er:
I, heedless of the warning, still

Believe, to be deceived once more,



THOU glorious mocker of the world! I hear
Thy many voices ringing through the glooms
Of these green solitudes-and all the clear,
Bright joyance of their song enthralls the ear
And floods the heart. Over the sphered tombs
Of vanish'd nations rolls thy music tide.
No light from history's starlike page illumes
The memory of those nations—they have died.
None cares for them but thou-and thou mayst sing,
Perhaps, o'er me—as now thy song doth ring
Over their bones by whom thou once wast deified.

Thou scorner of all cities! Thou dost leave
The world's turmoil and never-ceasing din,

Where one from other's no existence weaves,
Where the old sighs, the young turns gray and grieves,

Where misery gnaws the maiden's heart within :
And thou dost flee into the broad green woods,

And with thy soul of music thou dost win
Their heart to harmony-no jar intrudes
Upon thy sounding melody. Oh, where,
Amid the sweet musicians of the air,
Is one so dear as thee to these old solitudes ?

Ha! what a burst was that! the Eolian strain
Goes floating through the tangled passages
Of the lone woods and now it comes again-
A multitudinous melody-like a rain

Of glossy music under echoing trees,





Over a ringing lake; it wraps the soul
With a bright harmony of happiness-
Even as a gem is wrapt, when round it roll
Their waves of brilliant flame-till we become,
Even with the excess of our deep pleasure, dumb,
And pant like some swift runner clinging to the goal.

I cannot love the man who doth not love
(Even as men love light,) the song of birds:
For the first visions that my boy-heart wove,
To fill its sleep with, were, that I did rove
Amid the woods-what time the snowy herds
Of morning cloud fled from the rising sun
Into the depths of heaven's heart; as words
That from the poet's tongue do fall upon
And vanish in the human heart; and then
I revel'd in those songs, and sorrow'd, when
With noon-heat overwrought, the music's burst was done.

I would, sweet bird, that I might live with thee,
Amid the eloquent grandeur of the shades,
Alone with nature-but it may not be;

I have to struggle with the tumbling sea

Of human life, until existence fades

Into death's darkness. Thou wilt sing and soar
Through the thick woods and shadow-checker'd glades,
While nought of sorrow casts a dimness o'er
The brilliance of thy heart-but I must wear,
As now, my garmenting of pain and care-
As penitents of old their galling sackcloth wore.

Yet why complain ?-What though fond hopes deferr'd
Have overshadow'd Youth's green paths with gloom!
Still, joy's rich music is not all unheard,—
There is a voice sweeter than thine, sweet bird!

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