ePub 版

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,
Lived-died-in form and soul a man,

The image of his God!

* * *
“Strong sense, deep feeling, passions strong,

A hate of tyrant and of knave,
A love of right, a scorn of wrong,

Of coward and of slave.

* * * * *
“ Praise to the bard ! his words are driven,

Like flower seeds by the far winds sown,
Where'er beneath the sky of heaven,

The birds of fame have flown.

“ Praise to the man !-a nation stood

Beside his coffin with wet eyes,
Her brave-her beautiful-her good,

As when a loved one dies.

* * *
“ Such graves as his are pilgrim shrines,

Shrines to no creed or code confined,
The Delphian vales, the Palestines,

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
Intently, as we gaze on vacancy,

When the mind's wings o'erspread
The spirit world of dreams!

“ True, 'tis a scene of loveliness; the bright
Green dwelling of the summer's first-born hours,

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,
The hum of the wild bee—the music wild

Of waves upon the bank,
Of leaves upon the bough."

[ocr errors]

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,
Perfusus liquidis urget odoribus

Grata Pyrrha sub antro?

Cui flavam religas comam
Simplex munditiis !”

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,
Beneath her skies of June; then journey on,

A thousand scenes like this
Will greet you ere the eve."

These lines are full of force and pith :
“ Land where he learned to lisp a mother's name,
The first beloved in life, the last forgot ;

Land of his frolic youth ;

Land of his bridal eve;
Land of his children-vain your columned strength,
Invaders !—vain your battle's steel and fire,

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 !
Lone in one heart, her home, it dwells

Untold till death,
And where the grave mound greenly swells

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,
The monarch fears a printer’s frown,

A brickbat’s range:
Give me, in preference to a crown,

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 ;
Fit theme for song of bee and bird,

From morn till even,
And wind harp by the breathing stirred

Of star-lit heaven.

“My spirit's wings are weak—the fire

Poetic comes but to expire ;
Her name needs not my humble lyre

To bid it live:
She hath already from her sire

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,
And caught some dreadful colds, I blush to say,

While shivering in the shade of beauty's frown,
They say her smiles are sunbeams—it may be-
But never a sunbeam would she throw on me.

“Her father kept, some fifteen years ago,

A retail dry good shop in Chatham street,
And nursed his little earnings, sure though slow,

Till having mustered wherewithal to meet
The gaze of the great world—he breathed the air
Of Pearl street, and set up in Hanover square.

“ Money is power—'t is said—I never tried ;

I'm but a poet—and bank-notes to me
Are curiosities, as closely eyed,

Whene'er I get them, as a stone would be
Passed, from the moon, on Dr. Mitchell's table,
Or classic brickbat from the tower of Babel !"

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

« 上一頁繼續 »