Obrázky na stránke

between the unhappy pair, and the infuriated wife flies to her desk and tears her will into fifty tatters. The Count wears a smile sinister, and, in his deadly hate resolves to commit the worst of crimes on that

very night.

The stanzas we are about to quote we deem to be unequalled. They made our flesh creep as we read them. Their singular worth demands our highest praise, and we cannot testify our approbation in a more effective manner than by transferring them to our pages.

“ 'Tis a stern and startling thing to think
How often mortality stands on the brink

Of its grave without any misgiving :
And yet in this slippery world of strife,
In the stir of human bustle so rife,
There are daily sounds to tell us that Life

Is dying, and Death is living!
“Ay, Beauty the Girl, and Love the Boy,
Bright as they are with hope and joy,

How their souls would sadden instanter,
To remember that one of those wedding bells,
Which ring so merrily through the dells,

Is the same that knells

Our last farewells,
Only broken into a canter!
“But breath and blood set doom at nought-
How little the wretched Countess thought,

When at night she unloosed her sandal,
That the Fates had woven her burial-cloth,
And that Death, in the shape of a Death's Head Moth,

Was fluttering round her candle !
“ As she look'd at her clock of or-molu,
For the hours she had gone so wearily through

At the end of a day of trial-
How little she saw in her pride of prime
The dart of Death in the Hand of Time-

That hand which moved on the dial !
“ As she went with her taper up the stair,
How little her swollen eye was aware

That the Shadow which followed was double !
Or when she closed her chamber door,
It was shutting out, and for evermore,

The world-and its worldly trouble.
“ Little she dreamt, as she laid aside
Her jewels—after one glance of pride-

They were solemn bequests to Vanity-
Or when her robes she began to doff,
That she stood so near to the putting off

Of the flesh that clothes humanity.

“ And when she quench'd the taper's light,
How little she thought as the smoke took flight
That her day was done-and merged in a night
Of dreams and duration uncertain

Or, along with her own,

That a Hand of Bone

Was closing mortality's curtain ! As she lies in her troubled sleep, the hellish Count creeps softly to her chamber to possess himself of the precious leg!

“But hush!—'twas a stir at her pillow she felt,

And some object before her glittered.
“ 'Twas the Golden Leg !-she knew its gleam !


she started, and tried to scream,-
But ev’n in the moment she started -
Down came the limb with a frightful smash,
And, lost in the universal flash
That her eyeballs made at so mortal a crash,

The Spark, called Vital, departed!
And thus she had lived and died for gold.
For the "moral" we must refer the reader to the

poem itself, if he feel any liking to the production. The poem is long, and our extracts can only furnish our readers with a weak notion of the spirit in which it is written. Its great value cannot be duly appreciated without an attentive perusal throughout.

The poem, entitled the “ Death Bed” is exquisitely delicate and truthful. “ The Elm Tree, a Dream in the Woods," is likewise a beautiful piece. The “Ode to Rae Wilson, Esq.” contains many lessons that all Sectarians should learn and profit by. It appears, that a gentleman somewhat hypercritic, had characterized poor Thomas's rhymes as “profane and ribald," this our poet could not pass by without remark. He straightway sat him down and wrote a letter, the like of which has not been seen for many a day. The “Plea of the Midsummer Fairies” reminds us of the sweet warblings of Spenser, and there is in the “Hero and Leander” a command of language

almost equal to the “Venus and Adonis” of Shakspere. Of the sonnets we cannot speak so highly.

In dismissing these volumes, we would express our anxiety to learn whether their reception by the public, will, ere long, induce the publication of our lamented friend's more thoughtful pieces among his poems of wit and humor.” We long to

sunny book; for no writer wrote in a more joyous and innocently mirthful style than Thomas Hood, who, by the composition of his serious poems has, undoubtedly qualified himself for a high position among the world-admired of the

and energy

see the

nineteenth century.



The works of Lamartine will not admit of being reviewed without affording specimens of his power, his individuality, and we must also add, his extravagance. He stands first and foremost among the French poets of this age: he is the most spiritual, the most classic, and the most decorous of modern French writers, and he is therefore one of those whom we would early introduce to our readers.

We have selected a poem from the second volume of his Harmonies Poetiques et Religieuses” to preface our critique upon this amiable and singular writer. We do not premise that the subject will be generally acceptable; perhaps it will be difficult for some to enter into the meaning and spirit of the poem. It has, at least, a well defined and characteristic fervour about it, and will serve as an example of one phasis of the poet's mind.

In our translation we have endeavoured to render the thoughts of Lamartine as accurately as possible.

THE RECLUSE, Le Solitaire.)
The rock is tipped with light : night's clouds depart,
The birds their songs begin—to God all praise !
His Name is earlier dearer to my heart
Than to mine eyes the morn's fresh-kindled rays.

'Twas erst, “ What chase to day shall I pursue ?"
Glory and Love and thoughts supremely vain,

my mad hours my waking powers would strain :
Yet said my heart, to Him all days are due.

All days I give to Him, the Only Wise,
From peep of dawn to midnight's drowsy reign :
In Him

my heart at waking hour doth rise,
In him my heart reposing rests again.
What is't they mean ?--I have almost forgot-
Love, frail and fleeting! Glory, of a day !
Hope, mere delusion ! Luxury, a blot!
Their trace upon my soul appeareth not,
More than do passing clouds on ocean spray!
As a strange language fall they on my ear,
The sense I gather not, the sound I hear;
Nay even the slight impression is effaced
That once upon my worldly heart they traced.

Oh! when a thought from Heaven's bright radiance glances,
It lessens distance ! as the soul advances,
How beam the thoughts ’lumed by one ray of light!
Bright day less differs from the shades of night,
The west is nearer to the eastern skies,
Than is the soul that from Thee flies,
From his that on Thy Love relies.

Since I the busy haunts of men forsook,
Their heart's-food have I never ta’en I trow,
My hair is greyer than the aged oak;
My days are writ in wrinkles on my brow,
And years but add fresh links unto my chain,
Bowing my wasted limbs with weight and pain.
How oft the earth hath breathed the breath of Spring
Lent her from Heaven—I've lost all reckoning.

How oft since I this rock have made my bed,
The Kite its plumes, the Oak its fruit hath shed !
My soul, Oh God, possessed but by Thy praise,
Heeds not time's records, nor distinctive days.
To him whose ONE desire is bound in Thee
All time is but one day—that day, eternity!

By silence and long solitude,
My senses are grown dull and rude ;
My ears unskilled in human sounds remain ;
To frame its tones my mouth essays in vain.
My body flexed in prayer,
As senseless to the cold or heat
As e'en these flint stones are,
Here trodden by my naked feet.

And yet the soul of prayer is vaster grown,
That sense my life requires—that sense alone ;
It smells, hears, sees, and feels, and doth descry
Things from afar, a present Deity.
More swift

my flight as I ascend to thee,
The more my spirit stoops in poverty,
Lost in Thy presence ; the more void is time,

The deeper doth the sacred echo chime.
In our next we will give some further specimens of the great
French poet's powers.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
« PredošláPokračovať »