Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

OF STARTLING VOICES, AND SOUNDS AT STRIFE, A WORLD of the dEAD IN THE HUES OF LIFE,-(MRS. HEMANS)

"O SPIRIT LAND! THOU LAND OF DREAMS!

*

THE DYING IMPROVISATORE.

They rise in joy, the starry myriads, burning—
The shepherd greets them on his mountains free;
And from the silvery sea

To them the sailor's wakeful eye is turning-
Unchanged they rise; they have not mourned for thee!

Couldst thou be shaken from thy radiant place,
E'en as a dewdrop from the myrtle spray,
Swept by the wind away?
Wert thou not peopled by some glorious race?
And was there power to smite them with decay?

Then who shall talk of thrones, of sceptres riven?
Bowed be our hearts to think on what we are!
When from its height afar

A world sinks thus-and yon majestic heaven
Shines not the less for that one vanished star!

[From "Scenes and Hymns of Life."]

THE DYING IMPROVISATORE.*

JEVER, oh! never more,

On thy Rome's purple heaven mine eye

shall dwell,

Or watch the bright waves melt along thy shore-
My Italy, farewell!

179

Alas!-thy hills among,

Had I but left the memory of my name,

Of love and grief one deep, true fervent song,
Unto immortal fame!

This lyric was probably suggested by the "Corinne" of Madame de
Staël.

A WORLD THOU ART OF MYSTERIOUS GLEAMS,

LIKE A WIZARD'S MAGIC GLASS THOU ART, WHERE THE WAVY SHADOWS FLOAT BY, AND PART."-MRS. HEMANS.

MAN'S VOICE, UNBROKEN BY SIGHS, WAS THERE, FILLING WITH TRIUMPH THIS SUNNY AIR;-(MRS. HEMANS)

[blocks in formation]

And in the marble halls,

Where life's full glow the dreams of beauty wear,
And poet-thoughts embodied light the walls,
Let me be with you there!

Fain would I bind, for you,

My memory with all glorious things to dwell;
Fain bid all lovely sounds my name renew-
Sweet friends! bright land! farewell!

[From "Scenes and Hymns of Life."]

A MINGLED BREATHING OF GRIEF AND GLEE;

OF FRESH GREEN LANDS AND PASTURES NEW, IT SANG, WHILE THE BARQUE THROUGH THE SURGES FLEW."-HEMANS.

"FOR AYE,' WITHIN THAT LOVELY FRAME THERE DWELLS A SPARK OF HEAVENLY FLAME

66

The foes of HUMBLE AND INHERENT WORTH,-(J. HOGG)

[blocks in formation]

James Hogg.

[THE poetical works of James Hogg, the "Ettrick Shepherd," the friend of Moir, and Wilson, and Sir Walter Scott, are less known to the English public than their sterling excellence and fresh originality deserve. His "Fairy Tales of Ancient Time" are characterized by a peculiar charm; and "Kilmeny," especially, is haunted by a strange and unearthly loveli

ness.

Hogg was descended from a race of shepherds. He first saw the light in
the pastoral vale of Ettrick, Selkirkshire, in December 1770.
While yet a
child he was employed in taking charge of a flock of sheep: devoting his
days to solitary meditation, and his evenings to the perusal of whatever
books fell within his reach. At the age of twenty he entered the service
of a gentleman-farmer near Peebles, and was thus enabled to subscribe to
a circulating library, and banquet unrestrained on the stores of poetry and
romance. His master's son introduced the shepherd prodigy to Sir Walter
Scott, whom he assisted in preparing his "Border Minstrelsy." Hogg
thought himself as well able to sing as many of the ancient minstrels whose
ballads he repeated; and in 1807 he published a volume of poems, entitled,
"The Mountain Bard." He next made an essay at sheep-farming; but
failing in this attempt, repaired to Edinburgh, and began a literary life. In
1810 he issued "The Forest Minstrel," a collection of songs; and in 1813,
"The Queen's Wake," the poem (or rather poems) which will preserve his
name to posterity. At a later period he again ventured upon sheep-farming,
but again with no good fortune; and for his subsistence during his later
years was constrained to rely upon his fertile and indefatigable pen.
was seized in the autumn of 1835 with a dropsical malady, from which he
was unable to rally, and expired tranquilly, and without pain, on the 21st
of November in that year.

He

"The intellectual history of James Hogg," says Dr. Moir, "is certainly one of the most curious that our age has presented; and when we consider what an unlettered poet was able to achieve by the mere enthusiasm of his genius, we are entitled to marvel certainly-not that his writings should be full of blemishes-but that his mind ever had power to burst through the Cimmerian gloom in which his earlier years seemed so hopelessly enveloped.

"The finest vein of his poetry was exclusively that which ran among things surpassing nature's law. He was then like a being inspired; whenever his feet touched mother earth, he became a mere ordinary mortal. Amid the skyey regions of imagination he rejoiced in the power and splendour of his genius—an eagle of Parnassus; but when thridding through the affections and feelings of humanity, he was apt to sink down to the level of the commonplace verse-monger-or, at most, was a Triton among the minnows. But 'Kilmeny' has been the theme of universal admiration; and deservedly so, for it is what Warton would have denominated 'pure poetry.'

OH, HOW THEY TRIUMPHED O'ER THE POET'S DUST!"-HOGG.

A SPARK THAT SHALL FOR EVER BURN, SMILE OVER NATURE'S CLOSING URN."-JAMES HOGG.

"HOW MY SOUL THIS EARTH DESPISES, HOW MY HEART AND SPIRIT RISES!-JAMES HOGG)

182

66 WHAT TONGUE CAN SPEAK THE GLOWING HEART,

JAMES HOGG.

There is no perceptible art, no attempt at effect, no labour. The magician
waves his wand, and we find ourselves walking in an enchanted circle-

'In a cloudless eve, in a sinless world. '

There is a vague wildness and an unearthly hue in its landscapes—a super-
natural tint in its imagery-the tones of something not appertaining to this
world in its irregular Aeolian music."]

BONNY KILMENY.

B

JONNY Kilmeny gaed up the glen;
But it wasna to meet Duneira's men,
Nor the rosy monk of the isle to see,
For Kilmeny was pure as pure could be.
It was only to hear the yorlin sing,
And pu' the cress-flower round the spring,
The scarlet hypp and the hyndberrye,
And the nut that hung frae the hazel tree;
For Kilmeny was pure as pure could be.
But lang may her minny look o'er the wa',
And lang may she seek i' the greenwood shaw;

Lang the laird of Duneira blame,

And lang, lang greet ere Kilmeny come hame!

When many a day had come and fled,

When grief grew calm, and hope was dead,
When mass for Kilmeny's soul had been sung,

When the beadsman had prayed, and the dead-bell

rung;

Late, late in a gloamin, when all was still,
When the fringe was red on the westlin' hill,
The wood was sere, the moon i' the wane,
The reek of the cot hung over the plain
Like a little wee cloud in the world its lane;
When the ingle lowed with an eiry leme,
Late, late in the gloamin, Kilmeny came hame!

WHAT PENCIL PAINT THE GLISTENING EYE?"-HOGG.

BOUNDING FROM THE FLESH I SEVER; WORLD OF SIN, ADIEU FOR EVER!"-JAMES HOGG.

"A MORTAL THING SHOULD NE'ER REPINE, BUT STOOP TO THE SUPREME DECREE

HOW DEAR TO ME THE HOUR WHEN DAYLIGHT SPRINGS,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

AND SHEDS NEW GLORIES ON THE OPENING VIEW!"-HOGG.

183

[graphic]

YET OH, THE BLANK AT MY RIGHT HAND CAN NEVER BE MADE UP TO ME!"-HOGG.

« ZurückWeiter »