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excellence, is disqualified to judge of poetry or eloquence. He is deficient in the sense most requisite. For him to attempt it is something, as if a blind man were to undertake to judge of the beauty of the visible world.
*Most readers will probably have anticipated the remark which we are about to make, that the works of Mrs Hemans are eminently distinguished by moral beauty, and the noble expression of high sentiments. Images of what is lovely, affecting, and glorious in human character are reflected from her mind as from an unsullied mirror. Of this her last volume affords some of the most striking examples. It is the praise of this lady, that her literary course has been one of continual improvement. With the exception, perhaps, of her tragedies, she has, heretofore, given to the world no long poem of equal power with her Forest Sanctuary. The argument of this poem is thus stated.
· The following poem is intended to describe the mental conAlicts, as well as outward sufferings, of a Spaniard, who, flying from the religious persecutions of his own country in the sixteenth century, takes refuge with his child in a North American forest. The story is supposed to be related by himself amidst the wilderness which has afforded him an asylum.
It commences with some verses in which domestic scenes and affections are called up in all their tenderness and beauty, and with all their power to touch the heart of an exile.
The voices of my home !—I hear them still ! . .
Have died in others,-yet to me they come,
They call me through this hush of woods, reposing
By quenchless longings, to my soul I say0! for the dove's swift wings, that I might fee away,
And find mine ark !—yet whither ?-I must bear
A yearning heart within me to the grave. Pp. 3, 4. After some other fine stanzas, expressing bis recollections and feelings, the wanderer relates the circumstances that had led hiin to a knowledge of true religion, on account of the profession of which he had been obliged to fly his native country, and take refuge in the wilderness. He tells of his return, in his youth, from a foreign land on the morning of the day when an Auto da Fe was to be celebrated."
Clear, yet lone,
Music and mirth were hush'd the hills among,
Silence upon the mountains !—But within
And sounds of thickening steps, like thunder-rain,
What pageant's hour approach'd ?—The sullen gate
pp. 9, 10. He gazes on the sad procession which comes forth, till he perceives among them his heart's best friend, Alvar, the friend of his boyhood, by whose side he had stood in battle, the preserver of his life,+-accompanied by his two sisters. I'he characters of Alvar and his two sisters, queenlike Theresa, radiant Inez,' are admirably described. Theresa, the eldest, is represented as meeting her sufferings with an unbroken mind.
For the soft gloom whose shadow still had hung
Was fled ; and fire, like prophecy's, had sprung
* * * *
Of tenderness is round her, and her eye
p. 21. Theresa is followed by Inez, whose strength is prostrated by the horrors with which she is surrounded. The memory of her brother's friend, brings back the image of her former loveliness and gaiety, and a scene of calm and deep beauty in which he had once beheld her.
And she to die !-she lov'd the laughing earth
-Was not her smile even as the sudden birth
Flow'd from her lips, was to forget the sway
Could this change be ?—the hour, the scene, where last
In his calm, face laugh'd up; some shepherd-lay
Alvar, Theresa, and Inez are bound to the stake. But the lover of Inez appears. He forces bis way through the crowds on horseback, rushes to her, dashing off those who came to part them, and clasps her to his heart. He implores her to renounce her heresy and return to life.
She looked up wildly ; there were anxious eyes
The struggle is too much, the hues of death come over her, and her lover feels
the heart grow still,
Breaking on his.
I saw the doubt, the anguish, the dismay,
And, bending down the slumberer's brow to kiss, ** Thy rest is won,” he said ;-“sweet sister ! praise for this !"
I started as from sleep ;-yes! he had spoken-
-I burst from those that held me back, and fell Ev'n on his neck, and cried—“Friend, brother! fare thee well!'
Did he not say “Farewell ?"-Alas! no breath
Like a fierce swimmer through the midnight sea,
Away-away I rush'd ;-but swift and high
The death-work was begun-I veil'd mine eyes,
What heard I then ?-a ringing shriek of pain,
-I heard a sweet and solemn breathing strain * [The final scene of an Auto da Fe was sometimes from the length of the preceding ceremonies delayed till midnight.]
Piercing the flames, untremulous and clear!
In the mid-battle-ay, to turn the flying
It was a fearful, yet a glorious thing, To hear that hymn of martyrdom, and know That its glad stream of melody could spring Up from th' unsounded gulf of human woe! Alvar! Theresa !-what is deep ? what strong ? -God's breath within the soul!-lt fill'd that song From your victorious voices !--but the glow On the hot air and lurid skies increas'd -Faint grew the sounds—more faint-I listen'd-they had ceas'd!
pp. 36–38. These are glorious verses. They are lines which might give strength to a martyr before leaving his prisonhouse for the stake. We listen to a voice such as poetry has uttered but now and then in the lapse of ages, speaking worthily of the noblest energies and virtues of man.
To pass from this description without violence to the tone of feeling excited, required the finest genius and the truest sensibility. It is done with perfect success. The following stanzas iminediately succeed those last quoted.
And thou indeed hadst perish'd, my soul's friend !
Who could give back my youth, my spirit free,
And yet I wept thee not, thou true and brave !
I would have set, against all earth's decree,