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ETHEREAL Minstrel! Pilgrim of the sky!
Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound?
Or, while the wings aspire, are heart and eye
Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground ?
Thy nest which thou canst drop into at will,
Those quivering wings composed, that music still !
To the last point of vision, and beyond,
Mount, daring Warbler! that love-prompted strain,
('Twixt thee and thine a never-failing bond)
Thrills not the less the bosom of the plain :
Yet mightst thou seem, proud privilege! to sing
All independent of the leafy spring.
Leave to the Nightingale her shady wood;
A privacy of glorious light is thine ;
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood
Of harmony, with rapture more divine ;
Type of the wise who soar, but never roam;
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home!
ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE VENETIAN
ONCE did she hold the gorgeous East in fee ;
And was the safeguard of the West: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest child of Liberty.
She was a Maiden City, bright and free ;
No guile seduced, no force could violate;
And, when she took unto herself a Mate,
She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reached its final day :
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
Of that which once was great, is passed away.
It is not to be thought of that the Flood
Of British freedom, which to the open
Of the world's praise from dark antiquity
Hath flowed, “with pomp of waters, unwithstood,”
Roused though it be full often to a mood
Which spurns the check of salutary bands,
That this most famous Stream in bogs and sands
Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
Armoury of the invincible knights of old :
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakspeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held.-In everything we are sprung
Of Earth's first blood, have titles manifold.
A POET OF NATURE.
On! many are the Poets that are sown
By Nature; Men endowed with highest gifts,
The vision and the faculty divine,
Yet wanting the accomplishment of verse,
(Which, in the docile season of their youth,
It was denied them to acquire, through lack
Of culture and the inspiring aid of books,
Or haply by a temper too severe,
Or a nice backwardness afraid of shame);
Nor having e’er, as life advanced, been led
By circumstance to take unto the height
The measure of themselves, these favoured beings,
All but a scattered few, live out their time,
Husbanding that which they possess within,
And go to the grave unthought of. Strongest minds
Are often those of whom the noisy world
Hears least; else surely this man had not left
His graces unrevealed and unproclaimed.
But, as the mind was filled with inward light,
So not without distinction had he lived,
Beloved and honoured-far as he was known.
And some small portion of his eloquent speech,
And something that may serve to set in view
The feeling pleasures of his loneliness,
His observations, and the thoughts his mind
Had dealt with I will here record in verse;
Which, if with truth it correspond, and sink
Or rise, as venerable Nature leads,
The high and tender Muses shall accept
With gracious smile, deliberately pleased,
And listening Time reward with sacred praise.
Among the hills of Athol he was born :
Where, on a small hereditary farm,
An unproductive slip of rugged ground,
His parents, with their numerous offspring, dwelt;
A virtuous household, though exceeding poor!
Pure livers were they all, austere and grave,
And fearing God; the very children taught
Stern self-respect, a reverence for God's Word,
And an habitual piety, maintained
With strictness scarcely known on English ground.
I saw a mother's eye intensely bent
Upon a maiden trembling as she knelt;
In and for whom the pious mother felt
Things that we judge of by a light too faint;
Tell, if ye may, some star-crowned muse, or saint!
Tell what rushed in, from what she was relieved,
Then, when her child the hallowing touch received,
And such vibration through the mother went
That tears burst forth amain. Did gleams appear?
Opened a vision of that blissful place
Where dwells a sister-child? And was power given
Part of her lost one's glory back to trace
Even to this rite? For thus she knelt, and, ere
The summer-leaf had faded, passed to heaven.
THE BEACON FIRE.
The evening fell, 'Twas near the time of curfew bell; The air was mild, the wind was calm, The stream was smooth, the dew was balm; E'en the rude watchman on the tower, Enjoyed and blessed the lovely hour. Far more fair Margaret loved and blessed The hour of silence and of rest. On the high turret sitting lone, She waked at times the lute's soft tone; Touched a wild note, and all between Thought of the bower of hawthorns green. Her golden hair streamed free from band, Her fair cheek rested on her hand, Her blue eyes sought the west afar, For lovers love the western star.
yon the star, o'er Penchryst Pen,
That rises slowly to her ken,
And, spreading broad its wavering light,
Shakes its loose tresses on the night?
yon red glare the western star?-
Oh! 'tis the beacon-blaze of war!
Scarce could she draw her tightened breath,
For well she knew the fire of death!
The warder viewed it blazing strong,
And blew his war-note loud and long,
Till, at the high and haughty sound,
Rock, wood, and river, rung around,