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The trumpet of a prophecy! O wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind ?
The evening of piled-up clouds is a striking characteristic of the season. Who has described the fantastic forms of such a sky with the fidelity of Shakspere ?
Ant. Sometime we see a cloud that's dragonish:
A vapour, sometime, like a bear, or lion,
A tower'd citadel, a pendant rock,
A forked mountain, or blue promontory
With trees upon 't, that nod unto the world,
And mock our eyes with air: thou hast seen these signs ;
They are black Vesper's pageants.
Ay, my lord,
Ant. That which is now a horse, even with a thought,
The rack dislimns; and makes it indistinct,
As water is in water.
Coleridge looks upon “ Cloudland” with a happier spirit than that of the fallen Antony.
0! it is pleasant, with a heart at ease,
Just after sunset, or by moonlight skies,
To make the shifting clouds be what you pleese,
Or let the easily persuaded eyes
Own each quaint likeness issuing from the mould
And cheek aslant, see rivers flow of gold
'Twixt crimson banks; and then, a traveller, go
From mount to mount through Cloudland, gorgeous land !
Or list’ning to the tide, with closed sight,
Be that blind bard, who on the Chian strand,
By those deep sounds possessed with inward light, .
Beheld the Iliad and the Odyssee
Rise to the swelling of the voiceful sea.
This, too, is the season of sea-storms. Our readers will be glad to make acquaintance with one of the most remarkable of our old quaint poets, who describes with a force which can only be the result of actual experience.
The south and west winds join'd, and as they blew,
Waves like a rolling trench before them threw.
Sooner than you read this line did the gale,
Like shot, not fear'd till felt, our sails assail;
And what at first was call'd a gust, the same
Hath now a storm's, anon a tempest's name.
Jonas ! I pity thee: and curse those men,
Who, when the storm rag'd most, did wake thee then,
Sleep is pain's easiest salve, and doth fulfil
All offices of death, except to kill.
But when I wak-d, I saw that I saw not;
I and the sun, which should teach me, had forgot
East, west, day, night; and I could only say,
If the world had lasted now it had been day.
Thousands our noises were, yet we 'mongst all
Could none by his right name but thunder call.
Lightning was all our light, and it rain'd more
Than if the sun had drunk the sea before.
Some coffin'd in their cabins lie, equally
Griev'd that they are not dead, and yet must die;
And as sin-burden'd souls from grave will creep
At the last day, some forth their cabins peep,
And tremblingly ask, what news? and do hear so,
As jealous husbands, what they would not know.
Some, sitting on the hatches, would seem there,
With hideous gazing, to fear away Fear;
There note they the ship's sicknesses, the mast
Shak'd with an ague, and the hold and waist
With a salt dropsy clogg'd, and our tacklings
Snapping like too high-stretched treble strings,
And from our tatter'd sails rags drop down so
As from one hang'd in chains a year ago ;
Even our ordnance, plac'd for our defence,
Strive to break loose, and 'scape away from thence.
Pumping hath tir'd our men, and what's the gain?
Seas into seas thrown we suck in again,
Hearing hath deaf'd our sailors : and if they
Knew how to hear, there's none knows what to say.
Compar'd to these storms, death is but a qualm,
Hell somewhat lightsome, the Bermud' a calm.
Darkness, Light's eldest brother, his birthright
Claim'd o'er this world, and to heaven hath chas'd light.
All things are one, and that one none can be,
Since all forms uniform deformity
Doth cover; so that we, except God say
Another Fiat, shall have no more day:
So violent, yet long these furies be,
That though thine absence sterve me, I wish not thee. -DONNE.
Clouds and storms pass away, and with them the thick-coming fancies that are held to be so prevalent in our changeable climate. An old poet has hallowed this sentiment by the feeling of devotion :
The misty clouds that fall sometime,
And overcast the skies,
Are like to troubles of our time,
Which do but dim our eyes.
But as such dews are dried up quite,
When Phæbus shows his face,
So are sad fancies put to flight
When God doth guide by grace.-G. GASCOIGNE.
210.-THE SCOTTISH BORDERERS.
Scott. [THE extract which we give from the most popular author of his time is neither from his poetical nor his prose romances. Those works are in the hands of every reader; and we exclude them from the plan of this selection, for the same reason that we exclude scenes from Shakspere. The following account is from the original introduction to the • Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border,' and was written in 1802. That work was the first publication of Scott which developed the nature of his tastes and acquirements. It was the germ, at once, of the · Lay of the Last Minstrel,' and of Waverley.' The life of Scott is not to be told in a brief notice like this. He was born on the 15th of August, 1771; and died on the 21st of September, 1832. His