ePub 版

"And I'll be sworn, that when you've seen
The reptile, you'll pronounce him green."


"Well then, at once to ease the doubt,"
Replies the man, "I'll turn him out :
"And when before your eyes I've set him,
you don't find him black, I'll eat him."
He said; then full before their sight
Produced the beast, and lo!-'twas WHITE!
Both stared; the man looked wondrous wise.
"My children," the Chameleon cries,—
Then first the creature found a tongue-
"You all are right, and all are wrong:
When next you talk of what you view,
Think others see as well as you;
Nor wonder, if you find that none
Prefers your eye-sight to his own."




"WHAT shall I render Thee, Father Supreme,
For thy rich gifts, and this the best of all?"
Said a young mother, as she fondly watched
Her sleeping babe. There was an answering voice,
That night in dreams :-

"Thou hast a little bud

Wrapt in thy breast and fed with dews of love:
Give me that bud. "Twill be a flower in heaven."1
But there was silence. Yea, a hush so deep,
Breathless, and terror-stricken, that the lip
Blanched in its trance.

"Thou hast a little harp

How sweetly would it swell the angel's hymn:

Give me that harp." There burst a shuddering sob,
As if the bosom by some hidden sword

Was cleft in twain.

This beautiful metaphor is also found in Coleridge's "Epitaph on an Infant:"

"Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade,

Death came with friendly care,

The opening bud to heaven conveyed,

And bade it blossom there."

Morn came. A blight had struck

The crimson velvet of the unfolding bud;

The harp-strings rang a thrilling strain and broke-
And that young mother lay upon the earth,

In childless agony.

Again the voice

That stirred her vision :-"He who asked of thee
Loveth a cheerful giver." So she raised
Her gushing eyes, and, ere the tear-drop dried
Upon its fringes, smiled-and that meek smile,
Like Abraham's faith, was counted righteousness.

Mrs. Sigourney.


THOUGH the torrents from their fountains
Roar down many a craggy steep,
Yet they find among the mountains
Resting-places calm and deep.

Clouds that love through air to hasten
Ere the storm its fury stills,
Helmet-like themselves will fasten
On the heads of towering hills.

What, if through the frozen centre
Of the Alps the chamois bound,
Yet he has a home to enter
In some nook of chosen ground.

And the sea-horse, though the ocean
Yield him no domestic cave,
Slumbers, without sense of motion,
Couched upon the rocking wave.

The legend of the wandering Jew is of great, but unknown, antiquity. He was, the fable informs us, Pilate's porter, and when the soldiers were dragging the Saviour out of the judgment-hall, struck him on the back, saying, "Go faster, Jesus, go faster; why dost thou linger?" upon which Christ said to him, "I indeed am going, but thou shalt tarry till I come." He was soon after converted, but the doom rested upon him, and even so lately as 1228, an Armenian bishop, visiting England, professed with all sincerity to have dined recently with the man. See Percy's "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry," vol. iii, p. 133.

If on windy days the raven
Gambol like a dancing skiff,

Not the less she loves her haven
In the bosom of the cliff.

The fleet ostrich till day closes
Vagrant over desert sands,
Brooding on her eggs reposes
When chill night that care demands.

Day and night my toils redouble,
Never nearer to the goal;

Night and day I feel the trouble
Of the Wanderer in my soul.




The seas are quiet1 when the winds give o'er;
So calm1 are we when passions are no more.
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting things so certain to be lost.

Clouds of affection2 from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries,
The soul's dark cottage,3 battered and decayed,
Lets in new light through chinks that time has made.
Stronger by weakness,+ wiser, men become,
As they draw near to their eternal home:
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,
That stand upon the threshold of the new.


Quiet, calm-That is quiet, which is made so by circumstances, and is, therefore, superficially at rest; that is calm, which is quiet by constitutionor which is altogether at rest. An angry man may be quiet externally, but certainly not calm.

2 Affection-i. e. love for the "fleeting things" of the world.


Soul's dark cottage-i. e. the body, called in Job iv, 19, "a house of clay," and in 2 Cor. v, 1, "our earthly house, of this tabernacle;" or, more correctly, "this earthly house, this tabernacle."


Stronger by weakness--because the soul's strength increases as the body's decays. Milton, in his "Prose Works," employs a very fine expression, something like this of Waller's, when he speaks of "the martyrs, with the unresistible might of weakness, shaking the powers of darkness."


Nor a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.

We buried him darkly, at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moon-beam's misty light,
And the lantern dimly burning.

No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Nor in sheet nor in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.2

Few and short were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow;

But we steadfastly gazed on the face of the dead,3
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.+

We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed,

And smoothed down his lonely pillow,5

That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
And we far away on the billow!

This poem is doubtless one of the most affecting of its kind ever written. The conceptions, the language, the rhythm, all unite in forcibly impressing the reader, with the reality of the scene, and making him not a spectator merely, but a sharer in the mournful ceremony. Sir John Moore died January 16th, 1809, at Corunna, of a wound which he received in the battle which took place there between the English under his command, and the French headed by Marshal Soult.

2 Lord Byron, who considered this poem one of the finest in our language, pronounced this stanza perfect, particularly the last two lines. The art with which the writer, under the semblance of a figure, displays the actual circumstances, is very striking. It reminds one of the Grecian artist's picture of a curtain, which was taken for the curtain itself.

3 Face of the dead-Some copies read "face that was dead," which is discarded in the text, first, because we can scarcely with propriety speak of "a dead face," and secondly, if we could, the meaning is unnecessarily restricted by confining the triumph of death to a part only of the once active frame.

4 The morrow-because the British troops were to embark the next morning. 5 Narrow bed-the conception of the bed and pillow gracefully harmonises with that of the "warrior taking his rest."

Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him ;-

But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on
In the grave where a Briton has laid him.

But half of our heavy task was done,
When the clock struck the hour for retiring;
And we heard the distant and random gun
Of the enemy sullenly firing.1

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,

From the field of his fame fresh and gory;

We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone-
But we left him alone with his glory!



SEE, ready for the mimic combat, placed
A polished board with different colours graced;
Squares eight times eight in equal order lie;
These bright as snow, those dark with sable die;
While o'er the plain, arrayed on either hand,
And armed for fight, the well-trained heroes stand.
The champions burn their rivals to assail,

Twice eight in black, twice eight in milk-white mail;
In shape and station different, as in name,

Their motions various, nor their power the same.
High in the midst, the reverend Kings appear,

And o'er the rest their pearly sceptres rear;
One solemn step, majestically slow,

They gravely move, and shun the dangerous foe;

1 Sullenly firing-As if in spite, because he had been defeated. One of the readings of these two lines is:

"And we heard by the distant and random gun

That the foe was suddenly firing."

That is, we heard by the firing that the enemy was suddenly firing, which is either sheer no-meaning, or else implies that the report of the guns notified a sudden, that is, a new attack, which, however, is inconsistent with the facts. 2 The elegant poem from which this passage is extracted, professses to be, in some respects, an imitation of a Latin poem on the same subject by Vida, an Italian writer of the 17th century.

« 上一頁繼續 »