« ZurückWeiter »
All who have witnessed or felt the inspiriting effects of fine mountain scenery on invalids, will subscribe
[Recommendation of Angling.) to the truth so happily expressed in the concluding But if the breathless chase o'er hill and dale lines of this passage. The blank verse of Armstrong Exceed your strength, a sport of less fatigue, somewhat resembles that of Cowper in compact- Not less delightful, the prolific stream ness and vigour, but his imagination was hard and Affords. The crystal rivulet, that o'er literal, and wanted the airy expansiveness and a stony channel rolls its rapid maze, tenderness of pure inspiration. It was a high merit, Swarms with the silver fry: such through the bounds however, to succeed where nearly all have failed, in Of pastoral Stafford runs the brawling Trent; blending with a subject so strictly practical and Such Eden, sprung from Cumbrian mountains ; such prosaic, the art and fancy of the poet. Much learn- The Esk, o'erhung with woods; and such the stream ing, skill, and knowledge are compressed into his On whose Arcadian banks I first drew air; poem, in illustration of his medical and ethical doc- Liddel, till now, except in Doric lays, trines. The whole is divided into four books or Tuned to her murmurs by her love-sick swains, divisions--the first on air, the second on diet, the Unknown in song, though not a purer stream third on exercise, and the fourth on the passions. In Through meads more flowery, or more romantic groves, his first book, Armstrong has penned a ludicrously Rolls towards the western main. Hail, sacred flood! pompous invective on the climate of Great Britain, May still thy hospitable swains be blest steeped in continual rains, or with raw fogs be- In rural innocence, thy mountains still dewed.' He exclaims
Teem with the fleecy race, thy tuneful woods
For ever flourish, and thy vales look gay
With painted meadows and the golden grain ;
Oft with thy blooming sons, when life was new, Good Heaven! for what unexpiated crimes
Sportive and petulant, and charmed with toys, This dismal change! The brooding elements
In thy transparent eddies have I laved ; Do they, your powerful ministers of wrath,
Oft traced with patient steps thy fairy banks, Prepare some fierce exterminating plague?
With the well-imitated fly to hook Or is it fixed in the decrees above,
The eager trout, and with the slender line That lofty Albion melt into the main ?
And yielding rod solicit to the shore Indulgent nature! O, dissolve this gloom;
The struggling panting prey, while vernal clouds Bind in eternal adamant the winds
And tepid gales obscured the ruffled pool, That drown or wither; give the genial west
And from the deeps called forth the wanton swarıns. To breathe, and in its turn the sprightly south,
Formed on the Samian school, or those of Ind, And may once more the circling seasons rule
There are who think these pastimes scarce humane; The year, not mix in every monstrous day!
Yet in my mind (and not relentless I)
His life is pure that wears no fouler stains. Now, the fact we believe is, that in this country there are more good days in the year than in any
[Pestilence of the Fificenth Century.] other country in Europe. A few extracts from the 'Art of Preserving Health' are subjoined. The
Ere yet the fell Plantagenets had spent last, which is certainly the most energetic passage
Their ancient rage at Bosworth's purple field; in the whole poem, describes the sweating sickness While, for which tyrant England should receive, which scourged England
Her legions in incestuous murders mixed,
With kindred blood by kindred hands profused : Ere yet the fell Plantagenets had spent
Another plague of more gigantic arm Their ancient rage at Bosworth's purple field.
Arose, a monster never known before, In the second, Armstrong introduces an apostrophe This rapid fury not, like other pests,
Reared from Cocytus its portentous head; to his native stream, which perhaps suggested the Pursued a gradual course, but in a day, more felicitous ode of Smollett to Leven Water. It Rushed as a storm o'er half the astonished isle, is not unworthy of remark, that the poet entirely And strewed with sudden carcases the land. overlooks the store of romantic association and
First through the shoulders, or whatever part ballad - poetry pertaining to Liddisdale, which a
Was seized the first, a fervid vapour sprung; mightier than he, in the next age, brought so pro- With rash combustion thence, the quivering spark minently before the notice of the world.
Shot to the heart, and kindled all within ;
Through all the yielding pores the melted blood
Gushed out in smoky sweats; but nought assuaged
The torrid heat within, nor aught relieved What does not fade? The tower that long had stood | The stomach's anguish. With incessant toil, The crush of thunder and the warring winds,
Desperate of case, impatient of their pain, Shook by the slow but sure destroyer Time,
They tossed from side to side. In vain the stream Now hangs in doubtful ruins o’er its base,
Ran full and clear, they burnt, and thirsted still. And flinty pyramids and walls of brass
The restless arteries with rapid blood Descend. The Babylonian spires are sunk;
Beat strong and frequent. Thick and pantingly Achaia, Rome, and Egypt moulder down.
The breath was fetched, and with huge labourings Time shakes the stable tyranny of thrones,
heaved. And tottering empires rush by their own weight. At last a heavy pain oppressed the head, This huge rotundity we tread grows old,
A wild delirium came: their weeping friends And all those worlds that roll around the sun; Were strangers now, and this no home of theirs. The sun himself shall die, and ancient night
Harassed with toil on toil, the sinking powers Again involve the desolate abyss,
Lay prostrate and o'erthrown; a ponderous slecp Till the great Father, through the lifeless gloom, Wrapt all the senses up: they slept and died. Extend his arm to light another world,
In some a gentle horror crept at first And bid new planets roll by other laws.
O'er all the limbs; the sluices of the skin
Withheld their moisture, till by art provoked • Faery Queen,' and which Thomson had almost The sweats o'erflowed, but in a clammy tide; wholly discarded in his Castle of Indolence.' The Now free and copious, now restrained and slow; first stanza of this poem has been quoted by Sir Of tinctures various, as the temperature
Walter Scott (divested of its antique spelling) in Had mixed the blood, and rank with fetid streams : illustration of a remark made by him, that Mickle, As if the pent-up humours by delay
with a vein of great facility, united a power of Were grown more fell, more putrid, and malign. verbal melody, which might have been envied by Here lay their hopes (though little hope remained), bards of much greater renown:'-With full effusion of perpetual sweats To drive the venom out. And here the fates
Awake, ye west winds, through the lonely dale, Were kind, that long they lingered not in pain.
And Fancy to thy faery bower betake; For, who survived the sun's diurnal race,
Even now, with balmly sweetness, breathes the gale, Rose from the dreary gates of hell redeemed;
Dimpling with downy wing the stilly lake; Some the sixth hour oppressed, and some the third.
Through the pale willows faltering whispers wake, Of many thousands, few untainted 'scaped ;
And Evening comes with locks bedropped with dew; Of those infected, fewer 'scaped alive;
On Desmond's mouldering turrets slowly shake Of those who lived, some felt a second blow;
The withered rye-grass and the harebell blue, And whom the second spared, a third destroyed.
And ever and anon sweet Mulla's plaints renew. Frantic with fear, they sought by flight to shun Sir Walter adds, that Mickle, being a printer by The fierce contagion. O'er the mournful land profession, frequently put his lines into types withThe infected city poured her hurrying swarms : out taking the trouble previously to put them into Roused by the flames that fired her seats around, writing. This is mentioned by none of the poet's The infected country rushed into the town.
biographers, and is improbable. The office of a Some sad at home, and in the desert some
corrector of the press is quite separate from the Abjured the fatal commerce of mankind.
mechanical operations of the printer. Mickle's In vain; where'er they fled, the fates pursued. poem was highly successful (not the less, perhaps, Others, with hopes more specious, crossed the main, because it was printed anonymously, and was asTo seek protection in far distant skies;
cribed to different authors), and it went through But none they found. It seemed the general air, three editions. In 1771 he published the first canto From pole to pole, from Atlas to the east,
of his great translation, which was completed in Was then at enmity with English blood;
1775; and being supported by a long list of subFor but the race of England all were safe
scribers, was highly advantageous both to his fame In foreign climes; nor did this fury taste
and fortune. In 1779 he went out to Portugal as The foreign blood which England then contained.
secretary to Commodore Johnston, and was received Where should they fly? The circumambient heaven with much distinction in Lisbon by the countrymen Involved them still, and every breeze was bane: of Camoens. On the return of the expedition, Where find relief? The salutary art
Mickle was appointed joint agent for the distri. Was mute, and, startled at the new disease,
bution of the prizes. His own share was considerIn fearful whispers hopeless omens gave.
able; and having received some money by his marTo heaven, with suppliant rites they sent their riage with a lady whom he had known in his obscure prayers ;
sojourn at Oxford, the latter days of the poet were Heaven heard them not. Of every hope deprived,
spent in ease and leisure. He died at Forest Hill, Fatigued with vain resources, and subdued
near Oxford, in 1788. With woes resistless, and enfeebling fear,
The most popular of Mickle's original poems is Passive they sunk beneath the weighty blow.
his ballad of Cumnor Hall, which has attained addiNothing but lamentable sounds were heard,
tional celebrity by its having suggested to Sir Walter Nor aught was seen but ghastly views of death.
Scott the groundwork of his romance of Kenilworth.* Infectious horror ran from face to face,
The plot is interesting, and the versification easy And pale despair. 'Twas all the business then
and musical. Mickle assisted in Evans's Collection To tend the sick, and in their turns to die.
of Old Ballads (in which ‘Cumnor Hall' and other In heaps they fell; and oft the bed, they say,
pieces of his first appeared); and though in this The sickening, dying, and the dead contained.
style of composition he did not copy the direct simplicity and unsophisticated ardour of the real old ballads, he had much of their tenderness and pathos.
A still stronger proof of this is afforded by a Scottish An admirable translation of The Lusiad' of song, the author of which was long unknown, but Camoens, the most distinguished poet of Portugal, which seems clearly to have been written by Mickle. was executed by WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE, himself An imperfect, altered, and corrected copy was found a poet of taste and fancy, but of no great originality among his manuscripts after his death; and his or energy. Mickle was son of the minister of Lang- widow being applied to, confirmed the external holm, in Dumfriesshire, where he was born in 1734. evidence in his favour, by an express declaration He was engaged in trade in Edinburgh as conductor, that her husband had said the song was his own, and afterwards partner, of a brewery; but he failed and that he had explained to her the Scottish words. in business, and in 1764 went to London, desirous It is the fairest flower in his poetical chaplet. The of literary distinction. Lord Lyttelton noticed and delineation of humble matrimonial happiness and encouraged his poetical efforts, and Mickle was affection which the song presents, is almost unbuoyed up with dreams of patronage and celebrity. equalledTwo years of increasing destitution dispelled this Sae true his words, sae smooth his speech, vision, and tie poet was glad to accept the situation
His breath like caller air ! of correcto If the Clarendon press at Oxford. Here
His very foot has music in't he publish$0) Pollio, an elegy, and The Concubine, a
As he comes up the stair. moral poem in the manner of Spenser, which he afterwards reprinted with the title of Syr Martyn. * Sir Walter intended to have named his romance Cumnor Mickle adopted the obsolete phraseology of Spenser, Hall, but was persuaded by Mr Constable, his publisher, to which was too antiquated even for the age of the adopt the title of Kenilworth.
WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE.
And will I see his face again!
And will I hear him speak?
In troth I'm like to greet. Then there are the two lines—a happy Epicurean fancy, but elevated by the situation and the faithful love of the speaker-which Burns says are worthy of the first poet
The present moment is our ain,
The neist we never saw. These brief felicities of natural expression and feeling, so infinitely superior to the stock images of poetry, show that Mickle could have excelled in the Scottish dialect, and in portraying Scottish life, had he truly known his own strength, and trusted to the impulses of his heart instead of his ambition.
The moon (sweet regent of the sky)
And many an oak that grew thereby. Now nought was heard beneath the skies
(The sounds of busy life were still), Save an unhappy lady's sighs,
That issued from that lonely pile. ‘Leicester,' she cried, “is this thy love
That thou so oft hast sworn to me,
Immured in shameful privity ?
Thy once beloved bride to see;
I fear, stern Earl's, the same to thee. Not so the usage I received
When happy in my father's hall; No faithless husband then me grieved,
No chilling fears did me appal. I rose up with the cheerful morn,
No lark so blithe, no flower more gay ; And, like the bird that haunts the thorn,
So merrily sung the live-long day. If that my beauty is but small,
Among court ladies all despised, Why didst thou rend it from that hall,
Where, scornful Earl, it well was prized ? And when you first to me made suit,
How fair I was, you oft would say! And, proud of conquest, plucked the fruit,
Then left the blossom to decay.
The rose is pale, the lily's dead;
Is sure the cause those charms are fled. For know, when sickening grief doth prey,
And tender love's repaid with scorn, The sweetest beauty will decay :
What floweret can endure the storm? At court, I'm told, is beauty's throne,
Where every lady's passing rare, That eastern flowers, that shame the sun,
Are not so glowing, not so fair. Then, Earl, why didst thou leave the beds
Where roses and where lilies vie, To seek a primrose, whose pale shades
Must sicken when those gauds are by?
'Mong rural beauties I was one;
Among the fields wild flowers are fair; Some country swain might me have won,
And thought my passing beauty rare. But, Leicester (or I much am wrong),
It is not beauty lures thy vows; Rather ambition's gilded crown
Makes thee forget thy humble spouse. Then, Leicester, why, again I plead
(The injured surely may repine), Why didst thou wed a country maid,
When some fair princess might be thine? Why didst thou praise my humble charms,
And, oh! then leave them to decay? Why didst thou win me to thy arms,
Then leave me to mourn the live-long day? The village maidens of the plain
Salute me lowly as they go : Envious they mark my silken train,
Nor think a countess can have wo. The simple nymphs! they little know
How far more happy's their estate ; To smile for joy, than sigh for wo;
To be content, than to be great. How far less blessed am I than them,
Daily to pine and waste with care !
Divided, feels the chilling air.
The humble charms of solitude;
By sullen frowns, or pratings rude.
The village death-bell smote my ear;
Countess, prepare—thy end is near. And now, while happy peasants sleep,
Here I sit lonely and forlorn ; No one to soothe me as I weep,
Save Philomel on yonder thorn. My spirits flag, my hopes decay;
Still that dread death-bell smites my ear ; And many a body seems to say,
Countess, prepare—thy end is near.” Thus sore and sad that lady grieved
In Cumnor Hall, so lone and drear; And many a heartfelt sigh she heaved,
And let fall many a bitter tear.
In Cumnor Hall, so lone and drear,
And many a cry of mortal fear.
An aërial voice was heard to call,
Around the towers of Cumnor Hall.
The oaks were shattered on the green;
That hapless Countess e'er was seen.
Is cheerful feast or sprightly ball;
Have spirits haunted Čumnor Hall.
Avoid the ancient moss-grown wall;
Full many a traveller has sighed,
Unearthly paleness o'er his cheeks was spread,
Erect uprose his hairs of withered red;
Writhing to speak, his sable lips disclose,
Sharp and disjoined, his gnashing teeth's blue rows;
His haggard beard flowed quivering on the wind, The Mariner's Wife.
Revenge and horror in his mien combined ;
His clouded front, by withering lightning scared,
The inward anguish of his soul declared.
His red eyes glowing from their dusky caves
Shot ltid fires : far echoing o'er the waves
His voice resounded, as the caverned shore
With hollow groan repeats the tempest's roar.
Cold gliding horrors thrilled each hero's breast;
Our bristling hair and tottering knees confessed
Wild dread; the while with visage ghastly wan, Is this a time to think o'wark,
His black lips trembling, thus the Fiend began :
O you, the boldest of the nations, fired
By daring pride, by lust of fame inspired,
Who, scornful of the bowers of sweet repose,
Through these my waves advance your fearless prows,
Regardless of the lengthening watery way,
And all the storms that own my sovereign sway,
Who 'mid surrounding rocks and shelves explore
Where never hero braved my rage before ;
Have viewed the secrets of my awful reign,
Have passed the bounds which jealous Nature drew,
To veil her secret shrine from mortal view,
Hear from my lips what direful woes attend,
And bursting soon shall o'er your race descend.
With every bounding keel that dares my rage, That Colin weel may fare.
Eternal war my rocks and storms shall wage;
The next proud fleet that through my dear domain, My Turkey slippers I'll put on,
With daring search shall hoist the streaming vane,
That gallant navy by my whirlwinds tost,
And raging seas, shall perish on my coast.
Then He who first my secret reign descried,
Shall drive. Unless my heart's full raptures fail,
O Lusus ! oft shalt thou thy children wail;
Each year thy shipwrecked sons shalt thou deplore,
Each year thy sheeted masts shall strew my shore.' And will I hear him speak?
He spoke, and deep a lengthened sigh he drew,
A doleful sound, and vanished from the view;
The frightened billows gave a rolling swell,
And distant far prolonged the dismal yell; [The Spirit of the Cape.]
Faint and more faint the howling echoes die,
And the black cloud dispersing leaves the sky,
DR JOHN LANGHORNE.
DR JOHN LANGHORNE, an amiable and excellent Had now five times withdrawn the parting ray,
clergyman, has long lost the popularity which he When o'er the prow a sudden darkness spread, possessed in his own day as a poet; but his name And slowly floating o'er the mast's tall head
nevertheless claims a place in the history of EngA black cloud hovered ; nor appeared from far
lish literature. He was born at Kirkby Steven, The moon's pale glimpse, nor faintly twinkling star; in Westmoreland, in 1735, and held the curacy So deep a gloom the lowering vapour cast,
and lectureship of St John's, Clerkenwell, in LonTransfixed with awe the bravest stood aghast.
don. He afterwards obtained a prebend's stall in Meanwhile a hollow bursting roar resounds,
Wells cathedral, and was much admired as a As when hoarse surges lash their rocky mounds;
preacher. He died in 1779. Langhorne wrote Nor had the blackening wave, nor frowning heaven, various prose works, the most successful of which The wonted signs of gathering tempest given.
was his Letters of Theodosius and Constantia ; and, Amazed we stood-0 thou, our fortune's guide, in conjunction with his brother, he published a Avert this omen, mighty God, I cried;
translation of Plutarch's Lives, which still mainOr through forbidden climes adventurous strayed, tains its ground as the best English version of the Have we the secrets of the deep surveyed,
ancient author. His poetical works were chiefly Which these wide solitudes of seas and sky
slight effusions, dictated by the passion or impulse Were doomed to hide from man's unhallowed eye? of the moment; but he made an abortive attempt Whate'er this prodigy, it threatens more
to repel the coarse satire of Churchill, and to walk Than midnight tempest and the mingled roar, in the magic circle of the drama. His ballad, Owen When sea and sky combine to rock the marble shore. of Carron, founded on the old Scottish tale of Gil
I spoke, when rising through the darkened air, Morrice, is smoothly versified, but in poetical merit Appalled we saw a hideous phantom glare;
is inferior to the original. The only poem of Lang. High and enormous o'er the flood he towered, horne's which has a cast of originality is his Country And thwart our way with sullen aspect lowered. Justice. Here he seems to have anticipated Crabbe
in painting the rural life of England in true colours. When the poor hind, with length of years decayed, His picture of the gipsies, and his sketches of venal Leans feebly on his once-subduing spade, clerks and rapacious overseers, are genuine like- Forgot the service of his abler days, nesses. He has not the raciness or the distinctness His profitable toil, and honest praise, of Crabbe, but is equally faithful, and as sincerely Shall this low wretch abridge his scanty bread, a friend to humanity. He pleads warmly for the This slave, whose board his former labours spread ? poor vagrant tribe :
When harvest's burning suns and sickening air
From labour's unbraced hand the grasped hook tear, Still mark if vice or nature prompts the deed ; Where shall the helpless family be fed, Still mark the strong temptation and the need : That vainly languish for a father's bread ! On pressing want, on famine's powerful call,
See the pale mother, sunk with grief and care, At least more lenient let thy justice fall.
To the proud farmer fearfully repair; For him who, lost to every hope of life,
Soon to be sent with insolence away, Has long with Fortune held unequal strife,
Referred to vestries, and a distant day! Known to no human love, no human care,
Referred—to perish! Is my verse severe ?
Unfriendly to the human character?
The truth is rigid, but the tale is just.
If in thy courts this caitiff wretch appear, Those last of woes his evil days have wrought; Think not that patience were a virtue here. Believe with social mercy and with me,
His low-born pride with honest rage control ; Folly 's misfortune in the first degree.
Smite his hard heart, and shake his reptile soul. Perhaps on some inhospitable shore
But, hapless ! oft through fear of future wo, The houseless wretch a widowed parent bore ; And certain vengeance of the insulting foe; Who then, no more by golden prospects led,
Oft, ere to thee the poor prefer their prayer, Of the poor Indian begged a leafy bed.
The last extremes of penury they bear. Cold on Canadian hills or Minden's plain,
Wouldst thou then raise thy patriot office higher ! Perhaps that parent mourned her soldier slain;
To something more than magistrate aspire ! Bent o'er her babe, her eye dissolved in dew,
And, left each poorer, pettier chase behind, The big drops mingling with the milk he drew, Step nobly forth, the friend of human kind! Gave the sad presage of his future years,
The game I start courageously pursue! The child of misery, baptised in tears.
Adieu to fear! to insolence adieu ! This allusion to the dead soldier and his widow on Where the rude winds the
shepherd's roof deride,
And first we'll range this mountain's stormy side, the field of battle was made the subject of a print As meet no more the wintry blast to bear, by Bunbury, under which were engraved the pa- And all the wild hostilities of air. thetic lines of Langhorne, Sir Walter Scott has That roof have I remembered many a year; mentioned, that the only time he saw Burns, the It once gave refuge to a hunted deer Scottish poet, this picture was in the room. Burns Here, in those days, we found an aged pair ; shed tears over it; and Scott, then a lad of fifteen, But time untenants-ha! what seest thou there? was the only person present who could tell him Horror !—by Heaven, extended on a bed where the lines were to be found. The passage is Of naked fern, two human creatures dead ! beautiful in itself, but this incident will embalm and Embracing as alive !-ah, no !-no life! preserve it for ever,
'Tis the shepherd and his wife. [Appeal to Country Justices in Behalf of the Rural I knew the scene, and brought thee to behold Poor.]
What speaks more strongly than the story told
They died through wantLet age no longer toil with feeble strife,
• By every power I swear, Wom by long service in the war of life;
If the wretch treads the earth, or breathes the air, Nor leave the head, that time hath whitened, bare Through whose default of duty, or design, To the rude insults of the searching air;
These victims fell, he dies.' Nor bid the knee, by labour hardened, bend,
They fell by thine. O thou, the poor man's hope, the poor man's friend ! 'Infernal! Mine by If, when from heaven severer seasons fall,
Swear on no pretence : Fled from the frozen roof and mouldering wall, A swearing justice wants both grace and sense. Each face the picture of a winter day, More strong than Teniers' pencil could portray;
[An Advice to the Married.] If then to thee resort the shivering train, Of cruel days, and cruel man complain,
Should erring nature casual faults disclose, Say to thy heart (remembering him who said), Wound not the breast that harbours your repose; *These people come from far, and have no bread.'
For every grief that breast from you shall prove, Nor leave thy venal clerk empowered to hear; Is one link broken in the chain of love. The voice of want is sacred to thy ear.
Soon, with their objects, other woes are past, He where no fees his sordid pen invite,
But pains from those we love are pains that last. Sports with their tears, too indolent to write ; Though faults or follies from reproach may fly, Like the fed monkey in the fable, vain
Yet in its shade the tender passions die. To hear more helpless animals complain.
But chief thy notice shall one monster claim; Love, like the flower that courts the sun's kind ray, A monster furnished with a human frame>
Will flourish only in the smiles of day; The parish-officer !-though verse disdain
Distrust's cold air the generous plant annoys, Terms that deform the splendour of the strain, And one chill blight of dire contempt destroys. It stoops to bid thee bend the brow severe
Oh shun, my friend, avoid that dangerous coast, On the sly, pilfering, cruel overseer ;
Where peace expires, and fair affection's lost ; The shuffling farmer, faithful to no trust,
By wit, by grief, by anger urged, forbear Ruthless as rocks, insatiate as the dust!
The speech contemptuous and the scornful air.