« IndietroContinua »
the distinct impress of individual character and of a character with which no reader can thus become acquainted without loving and wishing to share in its virtues.
We open the volume almost at random for a few specimens. The first piece consists of • Verses written in a Quaker Burialground;' and contains, among other things, this justification of their disallowance of sepulchral monuments. • Could we conceive Death was indeed the close
Of our existence, Nature might demand
Some record to their memory should stand,
| Then, then indeed, urn, tomb, or marble bust,
Would seem a debt due to their mouldering dust,
Knowing, because His word has told us so,
And is the first fruits of the dead below;
Dying-to rise again ! We would not grace
As if that “ shadowy vale” supply'd no trace
A simple, but a not unfeeling race:
As best befits the quiet dwelling-place
Who wait the promise by the Gospel given,-
Of tombs, of temples, pyramids be riven,
Unto the " spiritual body" will be found
Recorded on it ? --what avail the bound
As freely will the unencumber'd sod
As Royalty's magnificent abode :
pure its inmate rise, and stand before his God." pp. 2–8. The following extract from Verses on the Death of a Youth of great promise, will remind the admirers of Cowper of some of that author's smaller pieces. VOL. XXXIV. NO. 68.
We had hopes it was pleasure to nourish,
(Then how shall our sorrow be mute?)
And burst into blossoms and fruit.
For the plant which inspir'd them hath shed
Ere the beauty of spring-time hath fled.
Which sparkles, and sinks from the sight;
Though transiently, beauteously bright;
Like perfume, which dies soon as shed ;
Is Memory's dream of the dead.' The following, inscribed • To the Memory of Mary Fletcher," are nearly of the same character.
• Enthusiast, fanatic, and fool,
Many who read thy life' will style thee;
Will pity, who dare not revile thee.
The volume, neither power nor will
To flatter thee were idler still.
Was nothing : o'er thy mouldering earth,
But mockery of thy Christian worth!
Of truth is not the Gospel creed;
Thy path-a parable indeed!
Will heap thy name with obloquy;
“ Drest up in brief authority. ”
Who honour and revere thy name,
And vindicate thy well-earn'd fame.
Who tread the path which thou hast trod;' &c. pp. 76-78.
And the same model may be traced in the following lines to Bonaparte in his island prison.
• Far from the battle's shock,
Fate hath fast bound' thee;
Waves warring round thee.
Sea-birds are shrieking:
Billows are breaking.
Like sunbeams in brightness ;
Like snow-wreaths in whiteness.
With dreams of dominion ;
And ruffle thy pinion.' pp. 122, 123.
of night advances : slow Through fleecy clouds with majesty she wheels : Yon tower's indented outline, tombstones low,
And mossy grey, her silver light reveals :
hillock not in vain appeals To eyes that pass by epitaphs unread, Rise to the view. How still the dwelling of the dead !' p. 88 And the same image is brought still more prominently forward in the following. • How lonely and lovely their resting place seem'd !
An enclosure which care could not enter :
On the solitary tómb in its centre !
And in various lights have view'd it,
Has the magic of fancy endued it !
A white spot on the emerald billow;
Stretch'd in peace on its verdant pillow.
pp. 230, 231.
For lamented in death, as beloved in life,
Was he, who now slumbers within it.
Was a far and a fearless ranger;
Counted lightly of death or of danger.
All the freshness of gentlest feeling ;
More of softness and kindness revealing. The following is in a more gay and discursive vein; and affords a pleasing view of the literary recreations which are now permitted to those self-denying sectaries. “ To be by taste's and fashion's laws
The favourite of this fickle day ;
To strike, to startle, to display,
seem the aim
Brilliant and sparkling as the beams
And scatters round dews, gems, and streams;
With scenery, narrative, and tales
Of craggy rocks, and verdant vales ;
Around whose proud and haughty brow,
The muses' brightest, greenest bough,
Must Aling a glorious fame away ;
And make us own, yet loathe his sway:
With talents such as scarcely met
Who can peruse without regret ?
Or think, with cold, unpitying mien,
Of what thou art, and mightst have been ?' pp. 107–109. What follows has rather more of the ardour and tenderness of love, than we had supposed tolerated in the Society of Friends. • I did not forget how with Thee I had paced
On the shore I now trod, and how pleasant it seem'd; How my eye then sought thine, and how gladly it traced
Every glance of affection which mildly it beam'd. The beginning and end of our loves were before me;
And both touch'd a chord of the tenderest tone;
And told me that still thou wert truly my own.
That there still was a union which death could not break;
Yet even that sorrow was sweet for thy sake. Thus musing on thee, every object around
Seem'd to borrow thy sweetness to make itself dear ;
As soft as the tone of thy voice to my ear.
Seem'd to give back the glimpses of feeling and grace,
Of thy innocent heart as I gaz'd on thy face. And, when I look'd up to the beautiful sky,
So cloudless and calm; oh! it harmoniz'd well With the gentle expression which spoke in that eye,
Ere the curtain of death on its loveliness fell! The following stanzas on the Sea appear to us at once simple and powerful. • Oh! I shall not forget, until memory depart,
When first I beheld it, the glow of my heart;