Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

1

One part, one little part, we dimly scan
Through the dark medium of life's feverish dream;
Yet dare arraign the whole stupendous plan,
If but that little part incongruous seem.
Nor is that part perhaps what mortals deem;
Oft from apparent ill our blessings rise.
O then renounce that impious self-esteem,
That aims to trace the secrets of the skies :
For thou art but of dust; be humble, and be wise.

Thus Heaven enlarg'd his soul in riper years,
For Nature gave bim strength, and fire, to soar
On Fancy's wing above this vale of tears;
Where dark cold-hearted sceptics, creeping, poré
Through microscope of metaphysic lore:
And much they grope for truth, but never hit.
For why? Their powers, inadequate before,
This idle art makes more and more unfit;
Yet deem they darkness light, and their vain blunders

wit.

Nor was this ancient dame a foe to mirth:
Her ballad, jest, and riddle's quaint device
Oft cheer'd the shepherds round their social hearth;
Whom levity or spleen could ne'er entice
To purchase chat, or laughter, at the price
Of decency. Nor let it faith exceed,
That Nature forms 'a rustic taste so nice.
Ah! had they been of court or city breed,
Such delicacy were right marvellous indeed.

VOL. VI.

Oft when the winter storm had ceas'd to rave,
He roam'd the snowy waste at even, to view
The cloud stupendous, from th' Atlantic wave
High-towering, sail along th' horizon blue :
Where, 'midst the changeful scenery, ever new,
Fancy a thousand wondrous forms descries,
More wildly great than ever pencil drew,
Rocks, torrents, gulfs, and shapes of giant size,
And glittring cliffs on cliffs, and fiery ramparts rise.

Thence musing onward to the sounding shore,
The lone enthusiast oft would take his

way,
Listening, with pleasing dread, to the deep roar
Of the wide-weltering waves. In black array
When sulphurous clouds rolld on th' autumnal day,
Even then he hasten'd from the haunt of man,
Along the trembling wilderness to stray,
What time the lightning's fierce career began,
And o'er Heav'n's rending arch the rattling thunder

ran,

Responsive to the sprightly pipe, when all
In sprightly dance the village youth were join'd,
Edwin, of melody aye held in thrall,
From the rude gambol far remote reclin'd,
Sooth'd with the soft notes warbling in the wind.
Ah then, all jollity seem'd noise and folly,
To the pure soul by Fancy's fire refin'd,
Ah, what is mirth but turbulence unholy,
When with the charm compar'd of heavenly melan.

choly !

Is there a heart that music cannot melt?
Alas! how is that rugged heart forlorn;
Is there, who ne'er those mystic transports felt
Of solitude and melancholy born ?
He needs not woo the Muse; he is her scorn.
The sophist's rope of cobweb he shall twine;
Mope o'er the schoolman's peevish page; or mourn,
And delve for life in Mammon's dirty mine;
Sneak with the scoundrel fox, or grunt with glutton

swine.

[ocr errors]

For Edwin Fate a nobler doom had plann'd;
Song was his favourite and first pursuit.
The wild harp rang to his advent'rous hand,
And languish'd to his breath the plaintive flute,
His infant Muse, though artless, was not mute:
Of elegance as yet he took no care;
For this of time and culture is the fruit;
And Edwin gain'd at last this fruit so rare:
As in some future verse I purpose to declare.

Meanwhile, whate'er of beautiful, or new,
Sublime, or dreadful, in earth, sea, or sky,
By chance, or search, was offer'd to his view,
He scann'd with curious and romantic eye.
Whate'er of lore tradition could supply
From gothic tale, or song, or fable old,
Roused him, still keen to listen and to pry.
At last, though long by penury controll’d,
And solitude, her soul his graces 'gan unfold.

Thus on the chill Lapponian's dreary land,
For many a long month lost in snow profound,
When Sol from Cancer sends the season bland,
And in their northern cave the storms are bound;
From silent mountains, straight, with startling sound,
Torrents are hurl'd; green hills emerge; and lo,
The trees with foliage, cliffs with flowers are crown'd;
Pure rills through vales of verdure warbling go;
And wonder, love, and joy, the peasant's heart o'er-

flow.

Here pause, my gothic lyre, a little while;
The leisure hour is all that thou canst claim.
But on this verse if Montague should smile,
New strains ere long shall animate thy frame;
And her applause to me is more than fame;
For still with truth accords her taste refin'd.
At lucre or renown let others aim,
I only wish to please the gentle mind,
Whom Nature's charms inspire, and love of human-

kind.

CHRISTOPHER ANSTEY.

BORN 1724.-DIED 1803.

This light and amusing poet was the son of the Rev. Dr. Anstey, rector of Brinkeley, in Cambridgeshire, who had been a fellow of St. John's college, Cambridge. When very young, he was sent to school at Bury St. Edmunds. From thence he was removed to Eton, and placed at the fourth form, as an oppidan, and afterwards on the foundation. He finished his studies at Eton with a creditable character, and in 1741 went as captain to the Mount. From thence he went to Cambridge, where he obtained some reputation by his Tripos verses. In 1745, he was admitted fellow of King's college, and in the following year took his bachelor's degree in the university. When he had nearly completed the terms of his qualification for that of master of arts, he was prevented from obtaining it in consequence of what his own son, his biographer, calls a. spirited and popular opposition, which he shewed to the leading men of the university. The phrase of popular and spirited opposition," sounds promising to the curiosity; but the reader must not expect too much, lest he should be disappointed by learning that this popular opposition was only his refusing to deliver certain declamations, which the

« PredošláPokračovať »