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the convictions of the present day. Let us say with the American Poet, Grenville Mellen
“We have been taught in oracles of old
of the enskied divinity of song;
That Poetry and Music, hand in hand,
Came in the light of inspiration forth,
And claimed alliance with the rolling heavens.
And were those peerless bards, whose strains have come
In an undying echo to the world,
Whose numbers floated round the Grecian isles,
And made melodious all the hills of Rome,
Were they inspired? Alas, for Poetry!
That her great ministers in early time,
Sung for the brave alone; and bade the soul
Battle for heaven in the ranks of war!
It was the treason of the godlike art
That pointed glory to the sword and spear,
And left the heart to moulder in its mine!
It was the menial service of the bard,
It was the basest bondage of his powers,
In later times to consecrate a feast,
And sing of gallantry in hall and bower,
To courtly knights and ladies. * * *
But other times have strung new lyres again,
And other music greets us. Poetry
Comes robed in smiles, and in low-breathing sounds;
Takes counsel, like a friend, in our still hours,
And points us to the stars--the waneless stars--
That whisper an hereafter to our souls.
It breathes upon our spirits a rich balm,
And, with its tender tones and melody,
Draws mercy from the warrior, and proclaims
A morn of bright and universal love
To those who journey with us through the vale;
It points to moral greatness—deeds of mind,
And the high struggles worthy of a man.
We have no minstrels in our echoing halls,
No wild CADWALLON, with his wilder strains,
Pouring his war-songs upon helmed ears:
We have sounds stealing from the far retreats
Of the bright company of gifted men,
Who pour their mellow music round our age,
And point us to our duties and our hearts.
The poet's constellation beams around-
A pensive Cowper lives in all his lines,
And Milton hymns us on to hope and heaven."
The last lines remind us, by the way, that we ought to account for the exclusion from this collection of much beautiful Poetry of an especially sacred character: our reason for this exclusion is, that we purpose issuing a companion volume to the present, consisting wholly of such pieces. There is also another class of subjects to which anything like justice could not be done in less space than a volume; we have therefore reserved them for a POETICAL GALLERY OF NATURE, to be published by-and-by. The title will, we apprehend, sufficiently indicate its character.
WHILE lions war, and battle for their dens,
Poor harmless lambs abide their enmity.
Others may use the ocean for a road,
Only the English make it their abode;
Whose ready sails with every wind can fly,
And make a cov’nant with th' unconstant sky.
The woodcock's early visit and abode,
For long continuance in our temperate clime,
Foretell a liberal harvest.
Where, tell me where
Is the abode of care?
Everywhere she abideth:
None from her can run,
There's no breast, not one,
But therein shé glideth.
Where, tell me where
'Bides no earthly care? In the realms supernal!
Are you on the road
To that blest abode
Of happiness eternal!
That true agapemoné,
Such as here could never be?
THE rarer thy example stands
By how much from the top of wond'rous glory;
Strongest of mortal men,
To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fall’n.
Rivers from bubbling springs
Have rise at first, and great from abject, things.
The rapine is so abject and profane,
They not from trifles, nor from gods refrain.
Dryden, from Juvenal. To what base ends, and by what abject ways Are mortals urged through sacred lust of praise.
How past expression, abject is the man
Who at the feet of power bows down, to kiss
The golden toe that's offered for his homage;
Who lies, and flatters, and forswears himself,
For such rewards as tyrants can bestow:
Though clothed in purple, faring sumptuously,
No beggar clad in rags, with but a crust,
Is half so abject, and so mean as he. H. G. A.
I HAVE disabled mine estate,
By showing something a more swelling port,
Than my faint means would grant continuance;
Nor do I now make moan to be abridged
From such a noble rate.
All trying, by a love of littleness,
To make abridgments, and to draw to less
Even that nothing which at first we were. Donne.
Many there be that do abridge their lives,
By self-neglect, or vile indulgences,
And so their proper course of usefulness
Is shortened, and their fellow-creatures suffer
By such abridgment.
H. G. A.
ABSENCE LIKE as the culver on the barëd bough, Sits mourning for the absence of her mate, And in her songs sends many a wishful vow For his return that seems to linger late; So I, alone now left, disconsolate, Mourn to myself the absence of my love; And wandering here and there all desolate, Seek, with my plaints, to match that mournful dove.
Spenser. How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen, What cold December barrenness everywhere.
Shakspere. From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dress’d in all his trim, Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing;
That heavy Saturn laugh'd and leap'd with him. Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue, Could make me any summer's story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew. Nor did I wonder at the lilies white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose:
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you; you pattern of all those,
Yet seemed it winter still, and you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.
What! keep a week away? Seven days and nights?
Eight score eight hours? and lover's absent hours,
More tedious than the dial eight score times?
O weary reckoning!
Though absent, present in desires they be;
Our souls much further than our eyes can see.
Without your sight my life is less secure;
Those wounds you gave, your eyes can only cure;