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NO MORE POETRY.

ween

Into the darkness; now a tranquil sea,
Outspread and bright, yet swelling to the moon.

THE NIGHTINGALE:
And when-O friend! my comforter and guide!

A CONVERSATION POEM.
Strong in thyself, and powerful to give strength -
Thy long-sustained song finally closed,

WRITTEN IN APRIL, 1798.
And thy deep voice had ceased-yet thou thyself No cloud, no relic of the sunken day
Wert still before my eyes, and round us both Distinguishes the west, no long thin slip
That happy vision of beloved faces-

Of sullen light, no obscure trembling bues. Scarce conscious, and yet conscious of its close Come, we will rest on this old mossy bridge! I sate, my being blended in one thought,

You see the glimmer of the stream beneath, (Thought was it? or aspiration? or resolve ?) But hear no murmuring: it flows silently, Absorb’d, yet hanging still upon the sound

O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
And when I rose, I found myself in prayer. A balmy night! and though the stars be dim,

Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
That gladden the green earth, and we shall find

A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
TO A FRIEND,

And hark! the nightingale begins its song,

“ Most musical, most melancholyot bird ! WHO HAD DECLARED HIS INTENTION OF WRITING A melancholy bird ? 0! idle thought!

In nature there is nothing melancholy.

But some night-wandering man, whose heart was DEAR Charles ! whilst yet thou wert a babe, I

pierced

With the remembrance of a grievous wrong, That genius plunged thee in that wizard fount,

Or slow distemper, or neglected love, Hight Castalie: and (sureties of thy faith)

(And so, poor wretch! fill'd all things with himThat pity and simplicity stood by,

self, And promised for thee, that thou shouldst renounce And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale The world's low cares and lying vanities,

Of his own sorrow,) he, and such as he, Steadfast and rooted in the heavenly muse, First named these notes a melancholy strain. And wash'd and sanctified to poesy.

And many a poet echoes the conceit; Yes, thou wert plunged, but with forgetful hand

Poet who hath been building up the rhyme Held, as by Thetis erst her warrior son:

When he had better far have stretch'd his limbs And with those recreant unbaptized heels

Beside a brook in mossy forest dell, Thou’rt flying from thy bounden ministeries,

By sun or moonlight, to the influxes So sore it seems and burthensome a task

Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements I'o weave unwithering flowers ! But take thou Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song heed:

And of his frame forgetful! so his fame For thou art vulnerable, wild-eyed boy,

Should share in nature's immortality, And I have arrows* mystically dipp'd,

A venerable thing! and so his song duch as may stop thy speed. Is thy Burns dead ?

Should make all nature lovelier, and itself And shall he die unwept, and sink to earth

Be loved like nature ! But 'twill not be so; "Without the meed of one melodious tear ?”

And youths and maidens most poetical, Thy Burns, and nature's own beloved bard,

Who lose the deepening twilights of the spring Who to the “Illustrioust of his native land

In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still, 6o properly did look for patronage.”

Full of meek sympathy, must heave their sighs Ghost of Mæcenas ! hide thy blushing face!

O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains. They snatch'd him from the sickle and the plough,

My friend, and thou, our sister! we have learnt To gauge ale-firkins.

A different lore: we may not thus profane 0! for shame, return!

Nature's sweet voices, always full of love On a bleak rock, midway th’ Aonian mount,

And joyance! 'Tis the merry nightingale There stands a lone and melancholy tree,

That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates Whose aged branches in the midnight blast

With fast thick warble his delicious notes, Make solemn music: pluck its darkest bough,

As he were fearful that an April night Erc yet th’ unwholesome night-dew be exhaled,

Would be too short for him to utter forth And weeping wreath it round thy poet's tomb.

His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul Then in the outskirts, where pollutions grow,

Of all its music! Pick the rank henbane and the dusky flowers

And I know a grove Of night-shade, or its red and tempting fruit.

of large extent, hard by a castle huge, These with stopp'd nostril and glove-guarded haud, Knit in nice intertexture, so to twine

* This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far Th’illustrious brow of Scotch nobility.

superior to that of mere description. It is spoken in the 1796.

character of the melancholy man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The author makes this remark, w

rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with * Vide Pind. Olymp. iii. 1. 156.

levity to a line in Milton; a charge than which none + Verbatim from Burns's dedication of his Poem to the could be more painful to him, except perhaps that of hace Vobility and Gentry of the Caledonian Hunt.

ing ridiculed his Bible.

Which the great lord inhabits not; and so
This grove is wild with tangling underwood,

FROST AT MIDNIGHT.
And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths. THE frost performs its secret ministry,
But never elsewhere in one place I knew

Unhelp’d by any wind. The owlet's cry
So many nightingales; and far and near,

Came loud-and hark, again ! loud as before. In wood and thicket, over the wide grove,

The inmates of my cottage, all at rest, They answer and provoke each other's song, Have left me to that solitude, which suits With skirmish and capricious passagings,

Abstruser musings : save that at my side And murmurs musical and swift jug jug,

My cradled infant slumbers peacefully. And one low piping sound more sweet than all 'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs Stirring the air with such a harmony,

And vexes meditation with its strange That should you close your eyes, you might al. And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood, most

This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood, Forget it was not day! On moonlight bushes, With all the numberless goings on of life, Whose dewy leaflets are but half-disclosed,

Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame You may perchance behold them on the twigs, Lies on my low burnt fire, and quivers not; Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright Only that film, which flutter'd on the grate, and full,

Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing. Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the shade Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature Lights up her love-torch.

Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,

A most gentle maid, Making it a companionable form, Who dwelleth in her hospitable home

Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling spirit Hard by the castle, and at latest eve,

By its own moods interprets, everywhere (E'en like a lady vow'd and dedicate

Echo or mirror seeking of itself, To something more than nature in the grove,) And makes a toy of thought. Glides through the pathways: she knows all their

But 0! how oft, notes,

How oft, at school, with most believing mind That gentle maid! and oft a moment's space, Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars, What time the moon was lost behind a cloud, To watch that fluttering stranger! and as ost Hath heard a pause of silence; till the moon With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt Emerging, hath awaken'd earth and sky

Of my sweet birthplace, and the old church tower, With one sens on, and these wakeful birds Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,

From morn to evening, all the hot fair-day, As if some sudden gale had swept at once

So sweetly, that they stirr'd and haunted me A hundred airy harps! And she hath watch'd With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear Many a nightingale perch'd giddily

Most like articulate sounds of things to come! On blossomy twig still swinging from the breeze, So gazed I, till the soothing things I dreamt, And to that motion tune his wanton song

Lulld me to sleep, and sleep prolong'd my dreams! Like tipsy joy that reels with tossing head.

And so I brooded all the following morn, Farewell, 0 warbler! till to-morrow eve, Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye And you, my friends ! farewell, a short farewell! Fix'd with mock study on my swimming book : We have been loitering long and pleasantly, Save if the door half-open'd, and I snatch'd And now for our dear homes.—The strain again? A hasty glance, and still my heart leap'd up, Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe, For still I hoped to see the stranger's face, Who, capable of no articulate sound,

Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved, Mars all things with his imitative lisp,

My playmate when we both were clothed alike! How he would place his hand beside his ear,

Dear babe, that sleepest cradled by my side, His little hand, the small forefinger up,

Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, And bid us listen! And I deem it wise

Fill up the interspersed vacancies To make him nature's playmate. He knows well And momentary pauses of the thought! The evening star; and once, when he awoke My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart In most distressful mood, (some inward pain With tender gladness, thus to look at thee, Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream,) And think that thou shalt learn far other lore, I hurried with him to our orchard-plot,

And in far other scenes! For I was rear'd And he beheld the moon, and, hush'd at once, In the great city, pent ’mid cloisters dim, Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently, And saw naught lovely but the sky and stars. While his fair eyes, that swam with undroppa | But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze tears

By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags Did glitter in the yellow moonbeam! Well! - Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds, It is a father's tale: but if that Heaven

Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up And mountain crags : so shalt thou see and heas Familiar with these songs, that with the night The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible He may associate joy! Once more, farewell, Of that eternal language, which thy God Sweet nightingale! Once more, my friends ! fare- Utters, who from eternity doth teach well.

Himsell in all, and ail things in himself,

Great universal Teacher ! he shall mould

Bend o’er the traces, blame each lingering dove, Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

And give me to the bosom of my love! Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, My gentle love, caressing and carest, Whether the summer clothe the general earth With heaving heart shall cradle me to rest; With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing Shed the warm tear-drop from her smiling eyes, Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch Lull with fond wo, and med’cine me with sighs : Of mossy apple tree, while the nigh thatch While finely-flushing float her kisses meek, Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops Like melted rubies, o'er my pallid cheek. fall

Chill'd by the night, the drooping rose of May Heard only in the trances of the blast,

Mourns the long absence of the lovely day; Or if the secret ministry of frost

Young day, returning at her promised hour, Shall hang them up in silent icicles,

Weeps o'er the sorrows of her favourite flower Quietly shining to the quiet moon.

Weeps the soft dew, the balmy gale she sighs,
And darts a trembling lustre from her eyes.
New life and joy th' expanding floweret feels:

His pitying mistress mourns, and mourning heals !
TO A FRIEND.

TOGETHER WITH AN UNFINISHED POEM.

Thus far my scanty brain hath built the rhyme
Elaborate and swelling: yet the heart
Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing powers
I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse,
Tedious to thee, and from my anxious thought
Of dissonant mood. In fancy (well I know)
From business wandering far and local cares,
Thou creepest round a dear-loved sister's bed
With noiseless step, and watchest the faint look
Soothing each pang with fond solicitude,
And tenderest tones medicinal of love.
I too a sister had, an only sister-
She loved me dearly, and I doted on her!
To her I pour'd forth all my puny sorrows,
(As a sick patient in his nurse's arms,)
And of the heart those hidden maladies
That shrink ashamed from even friendship's eye.
0! I have woke at midnight, and have wept
Because she WAS NOT !-Cheerily, dear Charles !
Thou thy best friend shalt cherish many a year:
Such warm presages feel I of high hope.
For not uninterested the dear maid
I've view'd-her soul affectionate yet wise,
Her polish'd wit as mild as lambent glories
That play around a sainted infant's head.
He knows (the Spirit that in secret sees,
Of whose omniscient and all-spreading love
Aught to implore* were impotence of mind)
That my mute thoughts are sad before his throne,
Prepared, when he his healing ray vouchsafes,
To pour forth thanksgiving with lifted heart,
And praise him gracious with a brother's joy !

December, 1794.

LINES TO JOSEPH COTTLE.
My honour'd friend! whose verse concise, yet

clear,
Tunes to smooth melody unconquer'd sense,
May your fame fadeless live, as “never-sere”
The ivy wreathes yon oak, whose broad defence
Embowers me from noon's sultry influence!
For, like that nameless rivulet stealing by,
Your modest verse, to musing quiet dear,
Is rich with tints heaven-borrow'd: the charm'd

eye
Shall gaze undazzled there, and love the soften'd

sky.
Circling the base of the poetic mount
A stream there is, which rolls in lazy flow
Its coal-black waters from oblivion's fount:
The vapour-poison's birds, that fly too low,
Fall with dead swoop, and to the bottom go.
Escaped that heavy stream on pinion fleet,
Beneath the mountaiu's lofty frowning brow,
Ere aught of perilous ascent you meet,
A mead of mildest charm delays th' unlabouring

feet.

Not there the cloud-climb'd rock, sublime and vast,
That like some giant king, o'erglooms the hill;
Nor there the pine-grove to the midnight blast
Makes solemn music! But th’ unceasing rill
To the soft wren or lark's descending trill
Murmurs sweet under-song 'mid jasmin bowers.
In this same pleasant meadow, at your will,
I ween, you wander'd—there collecting flowers
Of sober tint, and herbs of med'cinable powers !

THE HOUR WHEN WE SHALL MEET There for the monarch-murder'd soldier's tomb AGAIN.

You wove th' unfinish'd wreath of saddest hues ;*

And to that holier chaplett added bloom, COMPOSED DURING ILLNESS AND IN ABSENCE.

Besprinkling it with Jordan's cleansing dews. Dim hour! that sleep'st on pillowing clouds afar,

But lo! your Hendersonf awakes the museO rise and yoke the turtles to thy car!

His spirit beckon'd from the mountain's height!

You left the plain and soar'd mid richer views ! * I utterly recant the sentiment contained in the lines So nature mourn'd, when sank the first day's light, of whose omniscient and all-spreading love

With stars, unseen before, spangling her robe of Aught to implore were impotence of mind,

night! it being written in Scripture, “Ask, and it shall be given you," and my human reason being moreover convinced of the propriety of offering petitions as well as thanksgiv. * War, a fragment. + John the Baptist, a poem, ings to the Deity.

I Monody on John Henderson.

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Still soar, my friend, those richer views among, innocence of his own heart still mistaking her in-
Strong, rapid, fervent flashing fancy's beam! creasing fondness for motherly affection; she, at
Virtue and truth shall love your gentler song; length, overcome by her miserable passion, after
But poesy demands th' impassion'd theme:

much abuse of Mary's temper and moral tendencies, Waked by heaven's silent dews at eve's mild exclaimed with violent emotion—“O Edward ! ingleam,

deed, indeed, she is not fit for you-she has not a What balmy sweets Pomona breathes around ! heart to love you as you deserve. It is I that love But if the vext air rush a stormy stream,

you! Marry me, Edward! and I will this very Or autumn's shrill gust moan in plainti sound, day settle all my property on you.”—The lover's With fruits and flowers she loads the tempest- eyes were now opened ; and thus taken by surprise, honour'd ground.

whether from the effect of the horror which he felt, acting as it were hysterically on his nervous system, or that at the first moment he lost the sense

of the proposal in the feeling of its strangeness and 1V. ODES AND MISCELLANEOUS

absurdity, he sung her from him and burst into a POEMS.

fit of laughter. Irritated by this almost to frenzy, the woman fell on her knees, and in a loud voice

that approached to a scream, she prayed for a curse THE THREE GRAVES.

both on him and on her own child. Mary happened

to be in the room directly above them, heard EdA FRAGMENT OF A SEXTON'S TALE.

ward's laugh and her mother's blasphemous prayer, [The author has published the following humble and fainted away. He, hearing the fall, ran up fragment, oncouraged by the decisive recommenda-stairs, and taking her in his arms, carried her off to tion of more than one of our most celebrated living Ellen's home; and after some fruitless attempts on poets. The language was intended to be dramatic; her part toward a reconciliation with her mother, that is, suited to the narrator: and the metre cor

she was married to him.—And here the third part responds to the homeliness of the diction. It is of the tale begins. therefore presented as the fragment, not of a poem,

I was not led to choose this story from any parbut of a common ballad tale. Whether this is suf- tiality to tragic, much less to monstrous events, ficient to justify the adoption of such a style, in (though at the time that I composed the verses, any metrical composition not professedly ludicrous, somewhat more than twelve years ago, I was less the author is himself in some doubt. At all events

averse to such subjects than at present,) but from it is not presented as poetry, and it is in no way finding in it a striking proof of the possible effect connected with the author's judgment concerning

on the imagination, from an idea violently and poetic diction. Its merits, if any, are exclusivley suddenly impressed on it. I had been reading psychological. The story, which must be supposed Bryan Edwards's account of the effect of the Oby to have been narrated in the first and second parts, Witchcraft on the Negroes in the West Indies, and is as follows.

Hearne's deeply interesting anecdotes of similar Edward, a young farmer, meets, at the house of workings on the imagination of the Copper Indians, Ellen, her bosom friend, Mary, and commences an (those of my readers who have it in their power acquaintance, which ends in a mutual attachment. will be well repaid for the trouble of referring to With her consent, and by the advice of their com

those works for the passages alluded to,) and I conmon friend Ellen, he announces his hopes and in-ceived the design of showing that instances of this tentions to Mary's mother, a widow woman border- | kind are not peculiar to savage or barbarous es, ing on her fortieth year, and from constant health, and of illustrating the mode in which the mind is the possession of a competent property, and from affected in these cases, and the progress and symphaving had no other children but Mary and another toms of the morbid action on the fancy from the daughter, (the father died in their infancy,) retain-beginning. ing, for the greater part, her personal attractions

[The tale is supposed to be narrated by an old and comeliness of appearance; but a woman of sexton, in a country churchyard, to a traveller low education and violent temper.

The answer

whose curiosity had been awakened by the appear-
which she at once returned to Edward's application ance of three graves, close by each other, to two
was remarkable: “Well! Edward, you are a only of which there were grave-stones. On the
handsome young fellow, and you shall have my first of these were the name, and dates, as usual :
daughter.” From this time all their wooing passed on the second no name but only a date, and the
under the mother's eye; and, in fine, she became words, The mercy of God is infinite.!
herself enamoured of her future son-in-law, and
practised every art, both of endearment and of
calumny, to transfer his affections from her daughter
to herself. (The outlines of the tale are positive
facts, and of no very distant date, though the au-

PART III.
thor has purposely altered the names and the scene
of action, as well as invented the characters of the The grapes upon the vicar's wall
parties and the detail of the incidents.) Edward, Were ripe as ripe could be;
however, though perplexed by her strange detrac And yellow leaves in sun and wind
tion from her daughter's good qualities, yet in the Were falling from the tree.
69

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