網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

And deep his midnight lair1 had made
In lone Glenartney's' hazel shade;
But, when the sun his beacon3 red
Had kindled on Benvoirlich's head,
The deep-mouthed bloodhound's heavy bay
Resounded up the rocky way,

And faint, from farther distance borne,
Were heard the clanging hoof and horn.

As chief, who hears his warder call,
"To arms! the foemen storm the wall!"
The antlered monarch of the waste
Sprang from his heathery couch in haste.
But, ere his fleet career he took,
The dewdrops from his flanks he shook;
Like crested leader, proud and high,
Tossed his beamed frontlet to the sky;
A moment gazed adown the dale,
A moment snuffed the tainted gale,
A moment listened to the cry

That thickened as the chase drew nigh;
Then, as the headmost foes appeared,

With one brave bound the copse he cleared,
And, stretching forward free and far,
Sought the wild heaths of Uam-Var.

Yelled on the view the opening pack,

Rock, glen, and cavern, paid them back ;7

(1) Lair-derived from lay or lie-the place where any one (deer or other animal) is laid. Cowper (see p. 69) uses the word in the well-known lines:--

"But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,

The beast is laid down in his lair."

(2) Glenartney-a vale in Menteith.

(3) Beacon-from Anglo-Saxon bien-ian, or becn-ian, to beck or beckon, to call by signs-anything so placed as to give a signal or warning. The use of the word in the above passage is highly picturesque.

(4) Benvoirlich-one of the Grampian mountains.

(5) As chief, &c.-This description is full of animation. The stag awakening at the summons of his pursuers-his proud survey of the scene-his decisive actionhis escape;-the entrance of the hunting-party-the shouts and halloos which give "Benvoirlich's echoes no rest"-and the deep silence which succeeds-are all touched with the hand of a master.

(6) Uam-Var-a mountain in Menteith.

(7) Paid them back-echoed back the sound.

To many a mingled sound at once
The awakened mountain gave response.
A hundred dogs bayed deep and strong,
Clattered a hundred steeds along,
Their peal the merry horns rang out,
A hundred voices joined the shout;
With hark, and whoop, and wild halloo,
No rest Benvoirlich's echoes knew.
Far from the tumult fled the roe,
Close in her covert cowered the doe,
The falcon, from her cairn' on high,
Cast on the rout a wondering eye,
Till far beyond her piercing ken
The hurricane had swept the glen.
Faint, and more faint, its failing din
Returned from cavern, cliff, and linn,*
And silence settled wide and still,
On the lone wood and mighty hill.

Walter Scott.

THE GLORY OF GOD IN CREATION.3

THE spacious firmament on high,

With all the blue ethereal sky,

And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.*

(1) Cairn-a heap of stones-here, a crag or cliff.

(2) Linn-a waterfall, precipice.

(3) This beautiful poem is a paraphrase of the first four verses of the 19th Psalm, with which it should be compared.

(4) For some variations in the commencement, see Appendix, Note B.

The words firmament, sky, and heaven, may be thus distinguished :-Firmament (from firmare, to strengthen), that which is strong, and therefore solid;-the arch or vault of heaven. The old astronomers believed the sky to be a sort of solid frame, in which the stars were set. Sky (Greek σkia, a shadow; Swed. sky, a cloud; Anglo-Saxon, scua, the same), in old English, a cloud or shadow; afterwards the region of clouds-cloudland. Chaucer speaks of "not a skie" being left "in all the welkin." Heaven-that which is heaved or heaven up (according to Horne Tooke), comprehending the upper regions, as opposed to the earth.

In accordance with these distinctions we may correctly speak of the spacious firmament--the blue sky-the spangled heavens, but scarcely of the firmament with the sky and the heavens, as above.

The unwearied sun from day to day
Does his Creator's power display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an almighty hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,'
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth;

While all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What, though in solemn silence all
Move round this dark terrestrial ball!
What, though no real voice nor sound2
Amid their radiant orbs be found!
In Reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice;
For ever singing as they shine,
"The hand that made us is divine."

Addison.

THE SLEEPING BABE.3

"She is not dead, but sleepeth." Luke viii. 52.

THE baby wept;

The mother took it from the nurse's arms,

And soothed its grief, and stilled its vain alarms,
And baby slept.

(1) Tale-The idea of the Creation declaring, as if in speech, the goodness and greatness of God is preserved throughout the poem, by the use of the words 66 proclaim," ""publish," "tell," "story," "tidings," &c.

(2) What though, &c.-Bishop Horsley translates the 3rd verse of the 19th Psalm thus:

"There is no speech, no words,

No voice of them is heard;

Yet their sound goes throughout the earth;"

which is nearly the same rendering as Cranmer's in the Book of Common Prayer. (3) The simple beauty of these lines well deserves attention; particularly the striking use made of the double meaning of the word sleep. The change in the tense from past to present, heightens the climax, which is almost sublime.

Again it weeps,

And God doth take it from the mother's arms,
From present pain, and future unknown harms,
And baby sleeps.

Hinds.

TO THE RAINBOW.

TRIUMPHAL arch,' that fill'st the sky
When storms prepare to part,2
I ask not proud Philosophy

To teach me what thou art ;

Still seem, as to my childhood's sight,
A midway station given
For happy spirits to alight,

Betwixt the earth and heaven.

Can all that optics teach unfold
Thy form to please me so,
As when I dreamt of gems and gold
Hid in thy radiant how?

When Science from Creation's face
Enchantment's veil withdraws,
What lovely visions yield their place
To cold material laws !3

And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,
But words of the Most High,

Have told why thy first robe of beams
Was woven in the sky.

(1) Triumphal arch-There is something very fine in the conception of the rainbow being a triumphal arch, raised to celebrate the peace which follows the war of the elements. One copy of this poem in a popular collection reads "triumphant arch," to the utter confusion of the sense.

(2) Part-i. e. to depart. Gray, in his "Elegy" (see p. 60), writes :-
"The curfew tolls the knell of parting (i. e. departing or dying) day."

(3) Akenside has expressed a very different opinion on this point. Appendix, Note C.

See

(4) And yet, &c.-i. e. though fiction may be sometimes more agreeable than fact, yet here the fact itself is especially interesting.

When o'er the green undeluged1 earth,
Heaven's covenant thou didst shine,
How came the world's grey fathers3 forth,
To watch thy sacred sign!

And when its yellow lustre smiled
O'er mountains yet untrod,
Each mother held aloft her child
To bless the bow of God.

Methinks, thy jubilee to keep,
The first-made anthem1 rang
On earth, delivered from the deep,
And the first poet sang.

Nor ever shall the Muse's eye,
Unraptured greet thy beam:
Theme of primeval prophecy,
Be still the poet's theme! 5

The earth to thee her incense yields,
The lark thy welcome sings,
When glittering in the freshened fields,
The snowy mushroom springs.

How glorious is thy girdle, cast
O'er mountain, tower, and town!
Or mirrored in the ocean vast,
A thousand fathoms down!

As fresh in yon horizon dark,
As young thy beauties seem,
As when the eagle from the ark,
First sported in thy beam.

(1) Undeluged-no longer overwhelmed by the deluge.

The prefix un in this

word does not fully convey the meaning of the writer; un is simply not, without that reference to a previous state which is implied by the prefix dis.

(2) Heaven's covenant-strictly speaking, the rainbow is not the covenant, but the sign or token of it. See Gen. ix. 13.

(3) The world's grey fathers-This beautiful expression is borrowed from Henry Vaughan, a poet of the 17th century. See Appendix, Note D.

(4) Anthem-literally anti-hymn—a piece of music arranged to be sung in parts, answering to each other-music for a cathedral choir.

(5) In the ordinary copies we have "poet's theme," as above; the reading, however, in the standard edition of Campbell's poems is "prophet's theme," a less appropriate expression, though not inconsistent with the first-named; inasmuch as the original idea of a poet included that of a prophet, or one who was, as it were, inspired to sing of things eternally true-of things, past, present, and future.

« 上一頁繼續 »