網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

do with his death as anything else. One of his tragedies had

a fine line:

I am dumb, as solemn scrrow ought to be.

THE following lines are by William Winter, of New York. The poet addresses a maiden with whom he is deeply smitten. He declares that her radiant face and golden hair are like

1.

2.

3.

1. Gold arrows of the merry morn

Shot swiftly over eastern seas,
Gold tassels of the bending corn

That ripple in the August breeze.

2.

A POEM called "Flowers of the Heart" has gained many admirers among people who have suffered. Three of its stanzas are here quoted :

Red roses o'er the woodland brook

Remember me thy lovely face:
So blushing and so fresh its look,

So wild and shy its radiant grace.

I kiss them in their coy retreat,
And think of lips more soft and sweet.

There are some flowers that bloom,
Tended by angels even from their birth,
Filling the world with beauty not of earth,
And heaven-born perfume.

Along Life's stony path,

To many a toiling pilgrim, cheer they bring,
And oftentimes in living glory spring

Beside the poor man's hearth.

The daisy's star is bright,

O'er vale and meadow sprinkled wide and free,
So to the shadowed earth doth Charity
Bring soft celestial light.

A SWEET prayer:

The way is long, my Father! and my soul
Longs for the rest and quiet of the goal:
While yet I journey through this weary land,
Keep me from wandering, Father, take my hand;

Quickly and straight

Lead to Heaven's gate,

Thy child!

DR. DONNE, over two centuries ago, wrote the line

Till age snow white hairs on thee.

OLD Marlow also composed a beautiful figure of speech

using a common opening:

O thou art fairer than the evening air,
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.

THE language of despondency is well handled in these lines, by James Franklin Fitts:

Oh! my darling, earth is weary,
Life, without thee, sad and dreary,
Ocean's song a misereré,
And my sun is burning low,

Fainter yet life's embers glow,
Tides will ebb that cannot flow.

RUSKIN has a thought which should rank as a first-class poetical conceit :

O, powers illimitable! it is but the outer hem
Of God's great mantle our poor stars do gem

A VERY strong malediction has frequently been hurled forth in a single line, as can be seen in this one, by Ben Jonson, unless an error is made:

Thy forehead is too narrow for my brand!

ANOTHER instance follows:

Upon his brow shame was ashamed to sit.

A LITTLE poem went around, a few years ago, one part of which ended thus:

It is a weary way,
And clouds portend.

KOSSUTH said:

Liberty is Liberty, as God is God.

SOMEONE else said:

Man is one, and the Fates are three.

HERE is a stanza concerning which a harangue applicable to vast volumes of poems can be uttered, and with some hope of its being intelligible. The lines are by N. P. Willis:

Said I she was not beautiful? Her eyes upon your sight
Broke with the lambent purity of planetary light,
And as intellectual beauty, like a light within a vase,
Touched every line with glory of her animated face.

The person on a scent for good verse has nearly all his instincts completely deceived in the first two lines of this stanza, and can easily, at one reading, think he has something good. The next two lines go so oddly that he is alarmed into feeling that they mean nothing. Finally he concludes, also, that he does n't like "animated" there at all. Perhaps it sounds like the doctors' "compound comminuted fracture," or like "desiccated cocoa-nut," or yet, worse than all, like "cremated." Then he pulls the kink out of the last line, and finds a real invention, and a very good one. After that he joyfully goes back to "the lambent purity of planetary light," where he is compelled, in grief, to admit that the "lambent" is atrocious, and the "planetary" a clear case of poetical clap-trap. Then he excommunicates the whole stanza as spring poetry, and the inventor dies poor, as inventors frequently do. Why should the poorer part of the stanza sound like first-class poetry, and the better part arouse the first suspicion of the faultiness of the whole affair? One of the mysteries of poetry is well concealed beneath such a question. There must be the soul, the subtlety, in the block, for it is of white marble. But see the flaws! The first sentence stands on its head. "And as" are too much, "as" being inexcusable, and one of the "lights" would have to be put out. The "with glory" looks pretty much as though the printer had pied his line and improved on copy, and, beside, "glory" is far too strong. Having stolen the invention, almost any "young poet" can make a better verse-which will not begin to sound so well. See here, for instance:

-

I said that she was beautiful. Her eyes upon your sight,
Broke with the lucid purity of Evening's astral light;
Her intellectual beauty, as a lamp within a vase,
With radiance penciled every line in her expressive face.

How sickly sounds the second line beside that magnificent fraud

Broke with the lambent purity of planetary light.

Thus it is that the something in true poetry, like the diamond, must be found, not made by any rule, and many stones, too hard and difficult to polish, must finally be engulfed in a voracious oblivion.

I.

EVERYBODY has a piece of verse which suits him to a t. When he gets tired of all else, his mind is refreshened by a perusal of his pet. Perhaps the writer has earned the right of presenting a little metrical orphan which has often solaced him. With all its imperfections there is no other poem he ever saw which harmonized so accurately with all his moods. It may fit into some other man's nature :

2.

[blocks in formation]

On Fame's eternal camping-ground

Their silent tents are spread,

And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

IT is desired to finish this collection with O'Hara's lines, a belief being sincerely entertained that no twenty-one words in the English language exceed them in all the attributes of poetry:

Spenser's celebrated couplet also runs:

Dan Chaucer, well of English undefyled,
On Fame's eternall bead-roll worthie to be fyled.

That is, worthy to be put on Fame's eternal catalogue. A bead-roll was a list of persons the rest of whose souls had been assured by contracts for the proper number of mechanical prayers terms strictly cash.

IT sometimes happens that a farmer sees fit to go through a field of wheat, just before harvest, for the purpose of cutting off the heads of rye which tower proudly above their

modest fellows. In that case the haughty stalks are decapitated because they are worse than valueless. In this golden domain of Poetry, the endeavor has been to garner a number of expressions which also hold themselves conspicuous to the eye. The selection of the best of the harvest was contemplated. At the same time no doubt is felt that a man who can command the versified contents of these pages, whether he have them by rote or have only the figures and ideas, possesses the living kernel of human eloquence. He needs only a ready facility of application in using his treasures to secure over his fellows a potent and enduring charm. The survey of a galaxy of thoughts so splendid inflates the heart with thankfulness.

« 上一頁繼續 »