ePub 版

As once we did, till disproportioned' sin

Jarred against nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made

To their great Lord, whose love their motion swayed
In perfect diapason,2 whilst they stood

In first obedience, and their state of good.
Oh! may we soon again renew that song,
And keep in tune with Heaven, till God ere long
To his celestial concert us unite,

To live with him, and sing in endless morn of light!



AVENGE, O Lord! thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;

Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,*
When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones,
Forget not in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that rolled
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they


To Heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow
O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who, having learned thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.7


(1) Disproportioned-mismatched, disorderly. (2) Diapason-from the Greek diá, through, and Tao@v, of all the interval of the octave, so called because it includes all admitted musical sounds"— here, metaphorically, full harmony.

(3) This sublime prayer, as it may truly be called, was written on occasion of the barbarous massacre in 1655, inflicted by the Duke of Savoy on his Protestant subjects, the Vaudois.

(4) So pure of old-The Vaudois appear to have kept themselves separate from the church of Rome from time immemorial.

(5) Their moans, &c.-The simplicity of the expression, the fulness of meaning, and the fine movement of the verse, make this sentence truly sublime.

(6) The triple tyrant-the Pope. So designated, probably, from his wearing the triple crown.

(7) Babylonian woe-the woe denounced on the spiritual Babylon, which is by many considered to be the Roman Catholic church.


WHEN we were idlers with the loitering rills,
The need of human love we little noted:
Our love was nature, and the peace that floated
On the white mist, and dwelt upon the hills,
To sweet accord subdued our wayward wills:
One soul was ours, one mind, one heart devoted,
That, wisely doting,' asked not why it doted,
And ours the unknown joy, which knowing kills.2
But now I find how dear thou wert to me;
That man is more than half of nature's treasure,
Of that fair beauty which no eye can see,

Of that sweet music which no ear can measure;
And now the streams may sing for others' pleasure,
The hills sleep on in their eternity!

Hartley Coleridge.


WE watched her breathing through the night,

Her breathing soft and low,

As in her breast the wave of life

Kept heaving to and fro.

So silently we seemed to speak,
So slowly moved about,

As we had lent her half our powers
To eke her living out.

Our very hopes belied our fears,

Our fears our hopes belied—

We thought her dying when she slept,
And sleeping when she died.


(1) Wisely doting-to dote, connected with the Dutch dutten, and the French, doter, radoter, probably meant originally to sleep, or dream, then to rave, to talk or act foolishly: hence the pointed antithesis, in the above phrase. (2) This beautiful line reminds us of Gray's expression (see p. 127)—

"Where ignorance is bliss

'Tis folly to be wise;"

and also of the exquisite story of Cupid and Psyche, as told by Apuleius (book iv. 28). Psyche was perfectly happy in the love of Cupid, or Eros, until her curiosity prompted her to try to ascertain who he was-and then he vanished for ever!


NIGHT is the time for rest;-
How sweet! when labours close,
To gather round an aching breast
The curtain of repose;

Stretch the tired limbs and lay the head
Upon our own delightful bed!

Night is the time for dreams ;

The gay romance of life;

When truth that is, and truth that seems,

Blend in fantastic strife;

Ah! visions less beguiling far

Than waking dreams by daylight are!

Night is the time for toil ;-
To plough the classic field,
Intent to find the buried spoil
Its wealthy furrows yield;"
Till all is ours that sages taught,
That poets sang, or heroes wrought.

Night is the time to weep ;-
To wet with unseen tears

Those graves of memory where sleep

The joys of other years;

Hopes that were angels in their birth,
But perished young, like things of earth.

Night is the time for care;-
Brooding on hours misspent,
To see the spectre of despair

Come to our lonely tent;

Like Brutus,' 'midst his slumbering host,
Startled by Cæsar's stalworth2 ghost.

(1) Like Brutus-in allusion to the phantom of Cæsar, which is said to have appeared to Brutus before the battle of Philippi.

(2) Stalworth-from the Anglo-Saxon stal-weorth, worth stealing or taking, and therefore (says Richardson), by inference-brave, strong, daring. Jamieson derives its equivalent stalwart from the Anglo-Saxon stalferhth, steel mind or spirit-a much more probable derivation.


Night is the time to pray;-
Our Saviour oft withdrew
To desert mountains far away;
So will his followers do;

Steal from the throng to haunts untrod,
And hold communion there with God.
Night is the time for death;-
When all around is peace,

Calmly to yield the weary breath,

From sin and suffering cease;

Think of heaven's bliss and give the sign

To parting friends-such death be mine!



DEATH found strange beauty on that infant brow,

And dashed it out.

On cheek and lip.

And the rose faded.

There was a tint of rose

He touched the veins with ice,
Forth from those blue eyes

There spake a wishful tenderness, a doubt
Whether to grieve or sleep, which innocence
Alone may wear. With ruthless haste he bound
The silken fringes of those curtaining lids
For ever. There had been a murmuring sound
With which the babe would claim its mother's ear,
Charming her even to tears. The spoiler set
His seal of silence. But there beamed a smile
So fixed, so holy, from that cherub brow,
Death gazed and left it there;-he dared not steal
The signet ring of heaven.

Mrs. Sigourney.


WHEN first thine eyes unveil, give thy soul leave
To do the like; our bodies but forerun

(1) This subject has not often been more gracefully and tenderly handled than in the above lines. The picture here presented matches with that by the same elegant hand in p. 88.

(2) The author of these striking lines was a Welsh private gentleman, who lived in the 17th century. It is rare to find so much meaning in so few words.

The spirit's duty; true hearts spread and heave
Unto their God, as flowers do to the sun;

Give Him thy first thoughts then, so shalt thou keep
Him company all day, and in him sleep.

Yet never sleep the sun up;1 prayer should

Dawn with the day; there are set awful hours
"Twixt heaven and us; the manna was not good
After sun-rising; fair day sullies flowers:
Rise to prevent the sun: sleep doth sins glut,
And heaven's gate3 opens when the world's is shut.
Walk with thy fellow-creatures: note the hush
And whisperings amongst them. Not a spring
Or leaf but hath his morning hymn; each bush
And oak doth know I AM.5 Canst thou not sing?
Oh leave thy cares and follies! go this way,
And thou art sure to prosper all the day.
Serve God before the world; let him not go
Until thou hast a blessing; then resign
The whole unto him, and remember who
Prevailed' by wrestling ere the sun did shine;
Pour oil upon the stones, weep for thy sin,
Then journey on, and have an eye to heaven.8
Mornings are mysteries: the first world's youth,
Man's resurrection, and the future's bud,
Shroud in their births; the crown of life, light, truth,
Is styled their star; the store and hidden food:
Three blessings wait upon them; one of which
Should move they make us holy, happy, rich.

(1) The sun up-i. e. when the sun is up.

(2) Prevent-from the Latin præ, before, and venire, to come or go-to go before. This is the primitive signification of the word, and was common in the 17th century and earlier, as is evident from the Liturgy:-" Prevent us, O Lord, by thy continual grace."

(3) Heaven's gate, &c.-It is difficult to conceive of a more beautiful mode of suggesting the charms and benefits of early rising. Many a long poem on the subject is less eloquent than this one line.

(4) Fellow-creatures-i. e. the trees, flowers, birds, &c., created by the same hand.

(5) I Am-See Exodus iii. 14.

(6) Go this way-i. e. do as they do-praise God early in the morning.

(7) Who prevailed, &c.-See Genesis xxxii. 26.

(8) Heaven-rhymes here, by a most extraordinary license, with sin.

(9) Shroud in, &c.—are wrapt in, or symbolized by; as when we speak of the morning of the world, of the resurrection, &c.

« 上一頁繼續 »