« 上一頁繼續 »
Wit, pathos, poetry are there,
And death's sublimity.”
It is cheering to find a poet speak boldly of a fellow bard, even though he was not the pattern of a man “after a bishop's own heart."
“ And Burns--though brief the race he ran,
Though rough and dark the path he trod,
The image of his God!
* * *
A hate of tyrant and of knave,
Of coward and of slave.
* * * * *
Like flower seeds by the far winds sown,
The birds of fame have flown.
“ Praise to the man !-a nation stood
Beside his coffin with wet eyes,
As when a loved one dies.
* * *
Shrines to no creed or code confined,
The Mecca's of the mind.”
We are afraid that the pharisees of this republic, like their fellow hypocrites of the Old Country, have no more faith in
truth, or reverence for poets or prophets, than had their Jewish forefathers, who cried out, “ Crucify him,”—“Release unto us Barabbas,"—more especially if the modern Barabbas were a millionaire.
It is seldom that a modern touches the Latin harp with any degree of success. We were therefore agreeably surprised with Halleck's verses to the field of Grounded Arms.
« Strangers ! your eyes are on that valley fixed
When the mind's wings o'erspread
“ True, 'tis a scene of loveliness; the bright
Whose wakened leaf and bud
Are welcoming the morn.” The next verse is very sweet, notwithstanding a kind of halt in the first line.
“ The song of the wild bird is on the wind,
Of waves upon the bank,
Such is the prejudice of custom that a critic of some classical taste refused to allow any merit to this poem, and quoted with great energy Horace's ode :
“Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa,
Grata Pyrrha sub antro?
Cui flavam religas comam
The author of “Paracelsus ” had a favorite theory to account for the slowness with which contemporaries acknowledge the merit of any superior mind. He declared his firm conviction, that it partly rose from envy and partly from the meanness of the masses, who could not realize the fact of a schoolfellow or companion rising so much above themselves. When, however, the man is too great for any doubt, then the acquaintances applaud the decision to the very echo, in order to elevate themselves into a spurious vain-glory, as they to a certain extent share his fame, being his intimates. These self-satisfied toadies are to a man of genius most terrible and deadly enemies : they deal in dark inuendoes, and spit their venom on all who are above them.
To return to Halleck.
“ But all is song and beauty in the land,
A thousand scenes like this
These lines are full of force and pith :
Land of his frolic youth ;
Land of his bridal eve;
Choose ye the morrow's doom
A prison or a grave !" As an instance of Mr. Halleck's incongruities, we quote a characteristic stanza from another of his poems :
“ Youth's coffin ! hush, the tale it tells,
Be silent, memory's funeral bells !
Untold till death,
O'er buried faith.”
After two more verses, alluding to the revolutions in empires, we come to this finale :
“ Empires to-day are upside down,
The castle kneels before the town,
A brickbat’s range:
Five shillings change!" Surely, it is unworthy to mar a fine subject by such an old joke. It scarcely seems credible that so poor a verse could have slipped in even by accident.
These are sweetly said ::
“ A poet's daughter-dearer word
Lip hath not spoke, nor listener heard ;
From morn till even,
Of star-lit heaven.
“My spirit's wings are weak—the fire
Poetic comes but to expire ;
To bid it live:
All bard can give."
The whole of the poem from which we have quoted these lines is very peculiar, and shows how very small a temptation it takes to lead our poet astray.
We shall give a few specimens from his longest poem, but by no means his most successful. It is certainly a light and graceful collection of pleasantly expressed odds and ends of thought, but its entire want of story is fatal.
" I've felt full many a heartache in my day,
At the mere rustling of a muslin gown,
While shivering in the shade of beauty's frown,
“Her father kept, some fifteen years ago,
A retail dry good shop in Chatham street,
Till having mustered wherewithal to meet
“ Money is power—'t is said—I never tried ;
I'm but a poet—and bank-notes to me
Whene'er I get them, as a stone would be
The sudden investment of wit which the crowd discover in a wealthy man is well described.
"_brilliant traits of mind, And genius, clear and countless as the dies