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Attendant flattery counts his myriads o'er,
Till counted myriads soothe his pride no more;
Fresh praise is tried till madness fires his mind,
The waves he lashes, and enchains the wind;

New powers are claimed, new powers are still bestowed,
Till rude resistance lops the spreading god;
The daring Greeks deride the martial show,
And heap their valleys with the gaudy foe;
The insulted sea with humbler thoughts he gains,
A single skiff to speed his flight remains;

The encumbered oar1 scarce leaves the dreaded coast
Through purple billows and a floating host.

2

But grant, the virtues of a temperate prime
Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime;
An age that melts with unperceived decay,
And glides in modest innocence away;
Whose peaceful day benevolence endears,
Whose night congratulating conscience cheers;
The general favourite as the general friend;
Such age there is, and who shall wish its end?
Yet even on this her load misfortune flings,
To press the weary minutes' flagging wings;
New sorrow rises as the day returns,
A sister sickens, or a daughter mourns.
Now kindred merit fills the sable bier,
Now lacerated friendship claims a tear;
Year chases year, decay pursues decay,
Still drops some joy from withering life away;
New forms arise, and different views engage,
Superfluous3 lags the veteran on the stage,
Till pitying nature signs the last release,
And bids afflicted worth retire to peace.

But few there are whom hours like these await,

Who set unclouded in the gulfs of fate.

From Lydia's monarch+ should the search descend,
By Solon cautioned to regard his end,

1 The encumbered oar, &c.-Though extravagant, the language of this couplet presents a very striking picture of the scene.

3

But grant-i. e. but suppose that, &c.

Superfluous, &c.-A striking metaphor, ingenious, clear, and admirably expressed.

4 Lydia's monarch-Croesus.

In life's last scene what prodigies surprise,
Fears of the brave and follies of the wise?

From Marlborough's' eyes the streams of dotage flow,
And Swift2 expires a driveller and a show.

Where then shall hope and fear their objects find?
Must dull suspense corrupt the stagnant mind?
Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
No cries invoke the mercies of the skies?
Inquirer, cease! petitions yet remain,

Which heaven may hear, nor deem religion vain.
Still raise for good the supplicating voice,

But leave to heaven the measure and the choice.
Safe in his power, whose eyes discern afar
The secret ambush3 of a specious prayer.
Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
Secure whate'er he gives, he gives the best.
Yet when the sense of sacred presence fires,
And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resigned;
For love, which scarce collective man+ can fill;
For patience, sovereign o'er transmuted ill;5
For faith, that, panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind nature's signal of retreat:
These goods for man the laws of heaven ordain,
These goods he grants, who grants the power to gain;
With these celestial wisdom calms the mind,
And makes the happiness she does not find.

Johnson.

Marlborough's, &c.-He was afflicted with paralysis; "but," says a writer in the Penny Cyclopædia, "without at all seriously impairing his faculties ;" so that the above line is, at least, a poetical exaggeration.

2 Swift-For some time before his death Swift's mind gave way, and he at length died in a state of quiet idiotcy.

3 Secret ambush, &c.-i. e. the lurking danger connected with the attainment of what may seem to you very desirable. See note 4, p. 1.

4 Collective man-the whole human race.

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Transmuted ill-i. e. evil changed by the power of patience into good.

LUCY.1

THREE years she grew

in sun and shower,

Then Nature said, "A lovelier flower

On earth was never sown;

This child I to myself will take;

She shall be mine, and I will make
A lady of my own.

"Myself will to my darling be

Both law and impulse :2 and with me3
The girl, in rock and plain,

In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power

To kindle or restrain.

"She shall be sportive as the fawn,
That wild with glee across the lawn
Or up the mountain springs;

And hers shall be the breathing balm,
And hers the silence5 and the calm5
Of mute insensate things.

"The floating clouds their state shall lend
To her; for her the willow bend;

Nor shall she fail to see

Even in the motions of the storm,

Grace that shall mould the maiden's form

By silent sympathy.

"The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place

These lines describe, in a very graceful manner, the supposed operation of natural influences in developing the faculties both of mind and body. The conception is, of course, intended to be fanciful, but it embodies, nevertheless, much truth, for there is an influence in natural scenery which insensibly both "kindles and restrains" the taste and the affections.

2 Law and impulse-These words and the synonymous phrase, "a power to kindle or restrain," are admirably chosen to denote the apparently opposite, yet really harmonious, results produced in the mind by external nature.

3 With me, &c.-i. e. while she is in company with me, "among the rocks, &c." she shall be conscious of my superintending power to animate and tranquillise the mind.

5

She shall be sportive, &c.-This stanza beautifully exemplifies the last.
Silence, calm-See note 1, p. 89.

Where rivulets1 dance their wayward round,
And beauty, born of murmuring sound,
Shall pass into her face.

"And vital feelings of delight

Shall rear her form to stately height,2

Her virgin bosom swell;

Such thoughts to Lucy I will give,
While she and I together live

Here in this happy dell."

Thus Nature spake. The work was done-
How soon my Lucy's race was run!

She died, and left to me

This heath, this calm, and quiet scene;

The memory of what has been,

And never more will be.

Wordsworth.

PRIDE AND HUMILITY.3

THE self-applauding bird, the peacock, see-
Mark what a sumptuous Pharisee is he!
Meridian sun-beams tempt him to unfold
His radiant glories, azure, green, and gold:
He treads as if, some solemn music near,
His measured step were governed by his ear;
And seems to say-ye meaner fowl give place,
I am all splendour, dignity, and grace!

Not so the pheasant on his charms presumes,
Though he too has a glory in his plumes.
He, Christian like, retreats with modest mien
To the close copse, or far-sequestered green,
And shines without desiring to be seen.

Cowper.

1 Where rivulets, &c.-A very picturesque line, and most delicately versified. Try the effect of substituting some word of two syllables for "rivulets."

2

Stately height, &c.-Joy, it is well known, expands and elevates the form, while sorrow depresses it.

3 The comparison of the proud and humble believer to the peacock and the pheasant, and the parallel between Voltaire and the poor cottager, are exquisite pieces of eloquence and poetry:" Campbell.

THE COTTAGER.

YON Cottager, who weaves1 at her own door-
Pillow and bobbins all her little store-

Content, though mean, and cheerful, if not gay,2
Shuffling her threads about the live-long day,
Just earns a scanty pittance, and at night
Lies down secure, her heart and pocket light:
She, for her humble sphere by nature fit,
Has little understanding, and no wit,

Receives no praise; but though her lot be such,
(Toilsome and indigent,) she renders much ;3
Just knows, and knows no more, her Bible true—
A truth the brilliant Frenchman+ never knew;
And in that charter reads, with sparkling eyes,
Her title to a treasure in the skies.

O happy peasant! O unhappy bard!
His the mere tinsel, hers the rich reward;
He, praised perhaps for ages yet to come,
She, never heard of half a mile from home:
He, lost in errors his vain heart prefers,
She, safe in the simplicity of hers.

THE HERMIT.5

Cowper.

Ar the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove;
When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill,
And nought but the nightingale's song in the grove;

1 Weaves-i. e. weaves lace with bobbins upon a pillow.

2 Cheerful, gay-He is cheerful, who is habitually lively; gay, who is occasionally or accidentally so. Cheerfulness is an evergreen; gaiety a passing flower, more brilliant for a time, but not permanent.

3 Much-much praise, to God.

4 Frenchman-Voltaire, who was a scoffer at religion.

The second,

5 Notwithstanding the many beauties of this poem, it must be confessed that the order and connection of its parts is somewhere obscure. third, and fourth stanzas can hardly be said to indicate a mind,

"No more with itself or with nature at war,"

but one involved still in doubt and difficulties; while the fifth and sixth leave us in uncertainty whether to ascribe them to the hermit or the narrator. If, as seems probable, they are spoken by the hermit, the unity of the poem is much marred by his appearing to entertain two different states of mind at one and the same time.

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