網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

METRICAL FEET.1

TROCHEE trips from long to short;
From long to long, in solemn sort,

Slow Spondee stalks; strong foot! yet ill able,
Ever to come up with Dactyl trisyllable.
Iambics march from short to long;-

With a leap and a bound the swift Anapæsts throng;
One syllable long, with one short at each side,
Amphibrachys hastes with a stately stride;

First and last being long, middle short, Amphimacer

Strikes his thundering hoofs like a proud high-bred racer.
Coleridge.

THE HOMERIC HEXAMETER DESCRIBED
AND EXEMPLIFIED.2

FROM THE GERMAN OF SCHILLER.

STRONGLY it bears us along in swelling and limitless billows, Nothing before and nothing behind but the sky and the ocean. Coleridge.

THE OVIDIAN ELEGIAC METRE DESCRIBED
AND EXEMPLIFIED.3

FROM THE GERMAN OF SCHILLER.

In the Hexameter rises the fountain's silvery column;
In the Pentameter aye falling in melody back.

It may be necessary for some readers to subjoin a feet named above. The mark denotes a long, and

Trochee
Dactyl

[merged small][ocr errors]

Coleridge.

scheme of the metrical a short syllable. IambusAmphibrach

2 Though brief, these specimens of versification are of rare beauty, and finely exemplify the flexibility of our native tongue.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

ON A CATARACT.'

FROM THE GERMAN OF STOLBERG.

UNPERISHING Youth! 2

Thou leapest from forth

The cell of thy hidden nativity;
Never mortal saw

The cradle of the strong one;
Never mortal heard

The gathering of his voices;

The deep-murmured3 charm of the son of the rock,
That is lisped evermore at his slumberless fountain.
There's a cloud at the portal, a spray-woven veil
At the shrine of his ceascless renewing;

It embosoms the roses of dawn,

It entangles the shafts of the noon,

And into the bed of its stillness

The moonshine sinks down as in slumber,

That the son of the rock, that the nursling of heaven,
May be born in a holy twilight!

Coleridge.

AGAINST CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.

THE heart is hard in nature, and unfit
For human fellowship, as being void
Of sympathy, and therefore dead alike
To love and friendship both, that is not pleased
With sight of animals enjoying life,

Nor feels their happiness augment his own.

I would not enter on my list of friends

(Though graced with polished manners and fine sense,
Yet wanting sensibility) the man

Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.

These lines, as a specimen of pure rhythm without rhyme, are perhaps unparalleled in the English language. They are musical, vigorous, and in every sense adapted to the subject, even, perhaps, in their occasional obscurity. 2 Unperishing Youth-i. e. the torrent is boldly personified as a sort of infant Hercules.

3 Deep-murmured, &c.—the gurgling of the water on issuing from the spring. Embosoms, &c.-i. e. the veil of mist catches the rosy tints of the morning, as well as the more direct beams of noon.

An inadvertent step may crush the snail
That crawls at evening in the public path;
But he that has humanity, forewarned,
Will tread aside, and let the reptile live.
Ye, therefore, who love mercy, teach your sons
To love it too. The spring-time of our years
Is soon dishonoured and defiled in most
By budding ills, that ask a prudent hand
To check them. But alas! none sooner shoots,
If unrestrained, into luxuriant growth,
Than cruelty, most devilish of them all.
Mercy to him that shows it, is the rule
And righteous limitation of its act,

By which heaven moves in pardoning guilty man;
And he that shows none, being ripe in years,
And conscious of the outrage he commits,
Shall seek it, and not find it, in his turn.

Cowper.

THE SOUTH AFRICAN DESERT.2

AFAR in the desert I love to ride,
With the silent bushboy alone by my side:
Away-away from the dwellings of men,
By the wild deer's haunt, by the buffalo's glen;
By valleys remote where the oribi3 plays,

Where the gnu, the gazelle, and the hastebeest graze;
And the kudu and eland unhunted recline

By the skirts of grey forests o'erhung with wild vine ;
Where the elephant browses at peace in his wood,
And the riverhorse gambols unscared in the flood,
And the mighty rhinoceros wallows at will
In the fen where the wild ass is drinking his fill.
There is rapture to vault on the champing steed,
And to bound away with the eagle's speed,
With the death-fraught firelock in my hand-
The only law of the desert land.

1 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy: Matt. v, 7.

2 The Desert in South Africa referred to in these spirited lines, is the great Karroo.

3 Oribi, &c.-The animals named in this and the next two lines, are all species of antelopes.

Afar in the desert I love to ride

With the silent bushboy alone by my side:
'O'er the brown Karroo, where the bleating cry
Of the springbok's fawn sounds plaintively;
Where the zebra wantonly tosses his mane
As he scours with his troop o'er the desolate plain,
And the timorous quagga's shrill whistling neigh
Is heard by the fountain at twilight grey;
And the fleet-footed ostrich over the waste
Speeds like a horseman who travels in haste,
Hieing away to the home of her rest,

Where she and her mate have scooped their nest,
Far hid from the pitiless plunderer's view
In the pathless depths of the parched Karroo.

And here while the night-winds around me sigh,
And the stars burn bright in the midnight sky,
As I sit apart by the desert stone,
Like Elijah at Horeb's cave alone,

"A still small voice" comes through the wild-
Like a father consoling his fretful child-
Which banishes bitterness, wrath, and fear,
Saying "MAN IS DISTANT, BUT god is near.'

[ocr errors]

Pringle.

A MOONLIGHT NIGHT.

How calmly gliding through the dark blue sky
The midnight moon ascends! Her placid beams,
Through thinly scattered leaves and boughs grotesque,
Mottle with mazy shades the orchard slope;
Here, o'er the chesnut's fretted foliage grey
And massy, motionless they spread; here, shine
Upon the crags, deepening with blacker night
Their chasms; and there the glittering argentry1
Ripples and glances on the confluent streams.
A lovelier, purer light than that of day
Rests on the hills; and oh, how awfully
Into that deep and tranquil firmament
The summits of Auseva rise serene!
The watchman on the battlements partakes
The stillness of the solemn hour; he feels

1 Argentry-from the Latin argentum, silver-the silvery radiance.

The silence of the earth, the endless sound
Of flowing water soothes him, and the stars,

Which, in that brightest moonlight well nigh quenched,
Scarce visible, as in the utmost depth

Of yonder sapphire infinite, are seen,
Draw on with elevating influence
Towards eternity the attempered mind.

Southey.

SOLITUDE.

To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude-'tis but to hold

Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores
unrolled.

But midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,

And roam along, the world's tired denizen,1
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less,
Of all that flattered, followed, sought and sued ;-
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!

THE FLOWERS OF THE FIELD.

SWEET nurslings of the vernal skies,
Bathed in soft airs, and fed with dew,
What more than magic in you lies,
To fill the heart's fond view?

Byron.

Denizen-supposed to be connected with the French donaison, a gift or present-one who has obtained enfranchisement, a stranger made free. The "world's denizen" is one admitted to the rights and privileges of the world, but still feeling that he is an alien, and not a native.

« 上一頁繼續 »