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The · Domestic Poems' are introduced by a brief · Proëm,' of which, mindful of our pledge, we shall say nothing. It will, however, speak sufficiently for itself.
While Youth and Hope as yet my steps attend,
With the wild blossoms that luxuriant pend
My Memory to retrace my pilgrimage,
Back through each twilight path and weary stage,
But we are yielding rather too freely to temptation, and we shall go on to some of the shorter poems in the miscellaneous' division. There are twelve sonnets to Spring, Summer, and Autumn-Winter, as will be seen by the following, is set down as a blank—which invite transcription; we shall take three.
• Spring, Summer, Autumn! Priestesses that held
Alternate watch at Nature's altar! Deep
And full of mystery the course ye keep, lo hidden sympathy. First, chastely cold, Thou, Vestal Spring, most gently dost unfold
The oracles of Nature, and from sleep
Enchanted, bid her infant beauties peep.
The fullness of each promise sibylline,
And mak'st in part the bright fruition thine,
Till Autumn's stores reveal in corn and wine
pp. 175-176. Of the two with which we shall follow up this, the first opens the series on spring; and of the second, we must be permitted to say, that the closing idea is as beautiful, both in fancy, feeling, and expression, as any thing we ever met with of the kind.
• There is a stir abroad in earth and sky.
The busy clouds, now huddling, now dispersing,
Seem with the windy messengers conversing.
Coursed o'er the uplapds by the hunter breeze.
The russet corn-lands and the crisp, bare trees.
A dotting scarce perceptible, thrown out
In tints of livelier brown, on hedge and bough,
Felt through all Nature's veins; and all things now,
Waiting His word, who said, Let there be light.'
And lordly brow, whence, in his angry mood,
His bride, the gentle Spring, whom late he woo'd
Has call’d the roses up on her chaste cbeek!
And now to him the sceptre she with meek
Is rich with gorgeous hues; and glorious things
Resplendent forms: the flowers have taken wings.
pp. 167, 8. There is a Poem addressed to the Nightingale, of which we shall only say, that we think it the most original and delightful of the collection. We shall extract a part, not by any means as superior to the rest, but as the most tractable for citation.
O wondrous bird ! thy varied measure,
The very soul of pleasure, Who but an unblest lover could Have fancied set in minor mood ? Who but the votary of folly
Have call'd it melancholy? • To me that
denotes no less Than mirth and inborn happiness, That dreams the peaceful night away In living o'er the joys of day. To me it a long tale unravels Of airy voyages, Persian travels, Gay pranks in summer's fairest bowers, And broken hearts among the flowers; And then of England's landscape mild, Spring's virgin beauties undefiled, Her violet-banks, her blue-bell glades, Her daisied meads, her greenwood shades, The hedge-rows where the may is blooming, With tenderest scent the air perfuming,
The stream through richest pastures winding,
In vocal poetry
And yield to quiet slumbers?
Contending with thee from the sky,
Thou beneath, and he on high,
Under the wheat, in lowly nest,
Breaking his gentle partner's rest.
At earliest dawn, untired thy skill,
He'll hear thee at thy vespers still.' pp. 162–165.
Art. XI. Some Account of the present State of the English Settlers in
Albany, South Africa. By Thomas Pringle. f.cap 8vo. pp. 126.
London. 1814. WI
E have heard much of the disappointment and misery of
British emigrants to the United States ; and some of out Journalists are never tired of abusing Brother Jonathan and laughing at Birkbeck. It would have been a happy circum stance, if the Illinois paradise had proved the only mirage of the fancy, that had seduced many a poor wanderer into desert and inhospitable regions. Mr. Pringle is secretary to the Society for the Relief of distressed Settlers, established in Cape Town'; and he has sent forth this plain and affecting detail of facts, in the hope of its awakening the active sympathy of their country: men in more fortunate regions. The truth is,' he says, the emigration to Algoa Bay was altogether too rashly and hurriedly concerted. A sort of Utopian delirium was somehow excited at that time in the public mind about South Africa, and the Rowery descriptions of superficial observers seem to have intoxicated with their Circean blandishments, not merely the gullible herd of unin
formeil emigrants, but many sober men both in and out of Parliament. The parliamentary grant of 50,0001. was voted. Five thousand emigrants were selected from the incredible multitudes* of all ranks, characters, and professions, who besieged Earl Bathurst's office with their eager applications. The motley and ill-assorted bands were collected and crowded on board a fleet of transports provided (and certainly well fitted out) by government; and after a favourable voyage, and a fortunate đebarkation at Algoa: Bay, they proceeded, in long trains or caravans of bullock-waggons, towards their land of promiset. At length they found themselves in Albany, with a serene sky above, and verdant plains and bowery groves around them. They pitched their tents under the shade of fragrant acacias, and groves of the gorgeous-blossonied caffer-boom, and believed for a brief space, that all those Arcadian dreams and romantic anticipations were about to be actually realized. Alas! une might smile at the absurd delusion, were not the result too calamitous for mirth or levity.'
Mr. Pringle seems disposed to attribute the delusion respecting this African fairy-land, in some measure at least, to the poetical description of the Zuureveld, given by the . sober missionaries, Latrobe and Campbell ;' and he is very anxious to have it understood, that he does not mean to inculpate Mr. Barrow, notwithstanding that his able work' contains opinions that the Author finds reason widely to differ from, and remarks that are not just! The fact is, we believe, that the poetical representations of the Quarterly Reviewer had far more influence, than all the accounts of the Missionaries. That writer affirmed, among other things, that there were not in the whole range of the colony, fifty elephants remaining, and that the tallest is not nine feet high. He has been' misinformed,' says Mr. Pringle.
• From my own observations in travelling through the forests of the Reitberg and Sunday River, as well as from direct information, obtained from the Moravian, missionaries at Witte River, and other authentic sources, I am well assured that many hundred elephants
* Upwards of 90,000 souls, as I was informed on good authority in London, before I embarked.
it. While encamped at Algoa Bay, waiting for waggons to convey us into the interior, I met one day with a party of ladies and gentle men searching for apricots and oranges in the thorny jungles near the Zwartkop's river, where they rather simply expected to find them growing, wild in the woods,” like hips and haws in England ! About five hundred emigrants, of various parties, were then lodged in tents along the beach where Port Elizabeth has been since built, and many of them appeared to have been allured from home by hopes not less extravagant than those of the orange gatherers.'
still exist in the numerous extensive jungles on this side the Fish River, and, moreover, that some of them occasionally do attain the prodigious height of sixteen and even eighteen feet.. I have never had an opportunity of personally ascertaining the dimensions of a full grown elephant by actual measurement, but I once rode through a numerous herd of these animals on the Kounap River, in company with some engineer officers, and passed within about fifty paces of one large male, whose height we estimated at fourteen feet at least.'
Since the arrival of the settlers, the elephant has retreated to the more impenetrable and solitary forests that adjoin the Fish and Bosjeman's rivers; but the forest, or jungle, which clothes the steep ravines that border the rivers of Albany, is still inhabited by herds
of buffaloes, and some species of the antelope and hyena. The lion also has almost entirely disappeared, though he is far from being such a poltroon as Mr. Barrow
But these are trivial matters. Far, more to be dreaded than lions and elephants, is the minute enemy by which the colony was infested the
of the new settlement. The vegetable distemper called rust, first began to prevail extensively and virulently throughout the colony in 1820. It is the Same as the mildew known in this country by the name of red robin, which is supposed to be produced by a minute insect.
Whatever be its nature, it has appeared in South Africa, as a scourge much more formidable and relentless than any of the other natural plagues of drought, locusts, or hurricanes, to which we are occasionally exposed.'
Many settlers had their first crops totally destroyed by it. But there was for some time no appearance of great or general distress, 'though even the most sanguine were now fully
awakened from the delusive dreams of wealth and ease with * which many had emigrated,' and 'though many were destitute of money, and of all their accustomed comforts.'
• Two years and a half, adds Mr. Pringle, of continued disappointment and disaster to the settlers have passed since I visited Albany, and they have seen two more successive crops perish from their eager grasp, as they ripened. A third has likewise partially failed, and what of it has escaped the rust and the hurricane, is scarcely yet secure from the vicissitudes of the climate.'
The Government having at length seen the necessity of allowing all who chose, to leave their locations, a very large proportion have dispersed themselves throughout the Colony. But a helpless residue' remain behind, .chained to their location