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time, so full of poetical feeling, and Greek chamber, and of all that passes in that swepo elegance and simplicity, as this address to and angel-guarded sanctuary: every part of Autumn :
which is touched with colours at once rich
and delicate--and the whole chastened and " Season of mists and mellow fruitfulnessClose bosom-friend of the maturing Sun!
harmonised, in the midst of its gorgeous disConspiring with him now, to load and bless (run: tinctness, by a pervading grace and purity, With fruit the vines thai round the thatch-eaves that indicate not less clearly the exaltation To bend with apples the moss'd cottage trees, than the refinement of the author's fancy. And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; We cannot resist adding a good part of this To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
description. And still more, later flowers for the bees,
“ Out went the taper as she hurried in! Until they think warm days will never cease ; Its little smoke in pallid moonshine died : For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells. The door she closed! She panted, all akin " Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store ?
To spirits of the air, and visions wide ! Sometimes, whoever seeks abroad, may find
No uiter'd syllable-or woe beride! Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
But to her heart, her heart was voluble ; Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Paining with eloquence her balmy side! Or on a half reap'd furrow sound asleep!
"A casement high and treple-arch'd there was, Drows'd with the fumes of poppies; while thy hook All garlanded with carven imageries Spares the next swarth, and all its twined flowers! Of fruits and lowers, and bunches of knot-grass; And sometimes like a gleaner, thou dost keep And diamonded with panes of quaint device Steady thy laden head, across a brook;
Innumerable, of stains and splendid dyes, Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
As are the tiger moth's deep-damask'd wings! Thou watchesi the last oozings, hours by hours !
“Full on this casement shown the wintery moon, “Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast, they ?
As down she kneli for Heaven's grace and boon! Think not of them! Thou hast thy music too; Rose bloom fell on her hands, together prest, While barred clouds bloom the sost-dying day, And on her silver cross, soft amethysı; And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue! And on her hair, a glory like a saint ! Then in a wailful choir the small gnais mourn She seem'd a splendid angel, newly drest Among the river sallows; borne aloft
Save wings, for heaven !--Porphyro grew faint, Or sinking, as the light wind lives or dies !
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint! And full grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft, “Anon his heart revives! Her vespers done, The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft, Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees; And gath'ring swallows twitter in the skies!" Unclasps her warmed jewels, one by one ;
Loosens her fragrant bodice; by degrees One of the sweetest of the smaller poems ie Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees ! that entitled "The Eve of St. Agnes:* though Half hidden, like a Mermaid in sea weed, we can now afford but a scanty extract. The Pensive a while she dreams awake, and sees superstition is, that if a maiden goes to bed But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled!
In fancy fair, St. Agnes on her bed! on that night without supper, and never looks up after saying her prayers till she falls
“Soon, trembling, in her soft and chilly nest, asleep, she will see her destined husband by Until the poppied warmth of Sleep oppress'd
In sort of wakeful dream, perplex'd she lay; her bed-side the moment she opens her eyes. Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away! The fair Madeline, who was in love with the Haven'd alike from sunshine and from rain, gentle Porphyro, but thwarted by an imperi- As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again! ous guardian, resolves to try this spell :--and
"Stolen to this paradise, and so entranc'd, Porphyro, who has a suspicion of her purpose, Porphyro gaz'd upon her empty dress, naturally determines to do what he can tó And listen d to her breathing; if it chanc'd help it to a happy issue; and accordingly To sink into a slumb'rous tenderness ? prevails on her ancient nurse to admit him Which when he heard, that minute did he bless, to her virgin bower; where he watches rev- Noiseless as Fear in a wide wilderness,
And breath'd himself;-then from the closet crept, erently, till she sinks in slumber;-and then, And over the hush'd carpet silent stept. arranging a most elegant dessert by her couch, and gently rous ng her with a tender Made a dim silver twilight, soft he set
Then, by the bed-side, where the sinking moon ard favourite air, finally reveals himself, and A table, and, half anguish'd, threw thereon persuades her to steal from the castle under A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet, &c his protection. The opening stanza is a fair
"And still she sleptan azure-lidded sleep! specimen of the sweetness and force of the In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender'd; composition.
While he, from forth the closet, brought a heap “St. Agnes Eve! Ah, bitter cold it was !
Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd ; The owl, for all his feathers, was acold;
With jellies smoother than the creamy curd, The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass, Manna and dates, in argosy transferr'd
And lucent syrups, tinct with cinnamon;
From Fez; and spiced dainties every one,
"Those delicates he heap'd with glowing hard, Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death, On golden dishes, and in baskets bright Past the sweet virgin's picture, while his prayers he or wreathed silver; sumptuous they stand saith."
In the retired quiet of the night, But the glory and charm of the poem is in · And now, my love! my Seraph fair ! awake!
Filling the chilly room with perfume light. the description of the fair maiden's antique Ope thy sweet eyes! for dear St. Agnes' sake!"
It is difficult to break off in such a course Pearled with the self-game shower. of citation: But we must stop here; and
Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep shall close our extracts with the following
Meagre from its celled sleep;
And ihe snake, all winter thin, lively lines :
Cast on sunny bank its skin; “O sweet Fancy! let her loose !
Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see
Hatching in the hawthorn tree,
When the hen-bird's wing doth rest
Quiet on her mossy nest ;
Then the hurry and alarm
When the bee-hive casts its swarm ;
Acorns ripe down patiering,
While the autumn breezes sing."
entitled “Hyperion," on the expulsion of
and his younger adherents, of which we canTo banish Even from her sky.
not advise the completion : For, though there Thou shalt hear
are passages of some force and grandeur, it is Distant harvest carols clear;
sufficiently obvious, from the specimen before Rustle of the reaped corn;
us, that the subject is too far removed from Sweet birds antheming the morn;
all the sources of human interest, to be sucAnd, in the same moment-hark! 'Tis the early April lark,
cessfully treated by any modern author. Mr. Or the rooks, with busy caw,
Keats has unquestionably a very beautiful Foraging for sticks and straw.
imagination, a perfect ear for harmony, and a Thou shalt, at one glance, behold
great familiarity with the finest diction of The daisy and the marigold ;
English poetry; but he must learn not to misWhite-plum'd lilies, and the first
use or misapply these advantages; and neither Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst; Shaded hyacinth, alway
to waste the good gifts of nature and study on Sapphire queen of the mid-May;
intractable themes, nor to luxuriate too reckAnd every leaf, and every flower
lessly on such as are more suitable.
(March, 1819.) Human Life: a Poem. By SAMUEL ROGERS. 4to. pp. 94. London: 1819. These are very sweet verses. They do with strange adventures, embodied in extranot, indeed, stir the spirit like the strong lines ordinary characters, or agitated with turbuof Byron, nor make our hearts dance within lent passions—not the life of warlike paladins, us, like the inspiring strains of Scott; but or desperate lovers, or sublime ruffians or they come over us with a bewitching soft- piping shepherds or sentimental savages, or ness that, in certain moods, is still more de- bloody bigots or preaching pedlars or conlightful—and soothe the troubled spirits with querors, poets, or any other species of mada refreshing sense of truth, purity, and ele- men-but the ordinary, practical, and amiable gance. They are pensive rather than pas- life of social, intelligent, and affectionate men sionate; and more full of wisdom and ten- in the upper ranks of society—such, in short, derness than of high flights of fancy, or over- as multitudes may be seen living every day whelming bursts of emotion—while they are in this country-for the picture is entirely moulded into grace, at least as much by the English -- and though not perhaps in the effect of the Moral beauties they disclose, as choice of every one, yet open to the judgby the taste and judgment with which they ment, and familiar to the sympathies, of all. are constructed.
It contains, of course, no story, and no indiThe theme is Human LIFE!—not only "the vidual characters. It is properly and pecusubject of all verse”—but the great centre liarly contemplative and consists in a series and source of all interest in the works of of reflections on our mysterious nature and human beings—to which both verse and prose condition upon earth, and on the marvellous, invariably bring us back, when they succeed though unnoticed changes which the ordinary in rivetting our
attention, or rousing our emo- course of our existence is continually bringing tions and which turns every thing into poetry about in our being; Its marking peculiarity to which its sensibilities can be ascribed, or in this respect is, that it is free from the least by which its vicissitudes can be suggested! alloy of acrimony or harsh judgment, and Yet it is not by any means to that which, in deals not at all indeed in any species of satiriordinary language, is termed the poetry or cal or sarcastic remark. The poet looks here the romance of human life, that present on man, and teaches us to look on him, not work is directed. The life which it endeav- merely with love, but with reverence; and, ours to set before us, is not life diversified mingling a sort of considerate pity for the
shortness of his busy little career, and the or not, that as readers of all ages, if they are disappointments and weaknesses by which it any way worth pleasing, have litile glimpses is beset, with a genuine admiration of the and occasional visitations of those truths which great capacities he unfolds, and the high des- longer experience only renders more familiar, tiny to which he seems to be reserved, works so no works ever sink so deep into amiable out a very beautiful and engaging picture, minds, or recurso often to their rememboth of the affections by which Life is en- brancé, as those which embody simple, and deared, the trials to which it is exposed, and solemn, and reconciling truths, in emphatic the pure and peaceful enjoyments with which and elegant language--and anticipate, as it often be filled.
were, and bring out with effect, those saluThis, after all, we believe, is the tone of tary lessons which it seems to be the great true wisdom and true virtue—and that to end of our life to inculcate. The pictures which all good natures draw nearer, as they of violent passion and terrible emotion approach the close of life, and come to act the breathing characters, the splendid imless, and to know and to meditate more, on agery and bewitching fancy of Shakespeare the varying and crowded scene of human ex- himself
, are less frequently recalled, than istence.-When the inordinate hopes of early those great moral aphorisms in which he has youth, which provoke their own disappoint- so often ment, have been sobered down by longer ex
Told us the fashion of our own estate perience and more extended views—when the
The secrets of our bosoms keen contentions, and eager rivalries, which employed our riper age, have expired or been and, in spite of all that may be said by grave abandoned—when we have seen, year after persons, of the frivolousness of poetry, and of year, the objects of our fiercest hostility, and of its admirers, we are persuaded that ihe most our fondest affections, lie down together in the memorable, and the most generally admired hallowed peace of the grave-when ordinary of all its productions, are those which are pleasures and amusements begin to be insipid, chiefly recommended by their deep practical and the
gay derision which seasoned them to wisdom; and their coincidence with those appear flat and importunate—when we reflect salutary imitations with which nature herself how often we have mourned and been com- seems to furnish us from the passing scenes forted—what opposite opinions we have suc- of our existence. cessively maintained and abandoned—to what The literary character of the work is akin inconsistent habits we have gradually been to its moral character; and the diction is as formed—and how frequently the objects of soft, elegant, and simple, as the sentiments our pride have proved the sources of our are generous and true. The whole piece, shame! we are naturally led to recur to the indeed, is throughout in admirable keeping; careless days of our childhood, and from that and its beauties, though of a delicate, rather distant starting place, to retrace the whole than an obtrusive character, set off each other of our career, and that of our contemporaries, to an attentive observer, by the skill with with feelings of far greater humility and indul. which they are harmonised, and the sweet. gence than those by which it had been actu- ness with which they slide into each other. ally accompanied :—to think all vain but af. The outline, perhaps, is often rather timidly fection and honour—the simplest and cheap- drawn, and there is an occasional want of est pleasures the truest and most precious force and brilliancy in the colouring; which and generosity of sentiment the only mental we are rather inclined to ascribe to the refined superiority which ought either to be wished and somewhat fastidious taste of the artist, for or admired.
than to any defect of skill or of power. We We are aware that we have said " some- have none of the broad and blazing tints of thing too much of this ;' and that our readers Scott-nor the startling contrasts of Byronwould probably have been more edified, as nor the anxious and endlessly repeated touch well as more delighted, by Mr. Rogers' text, of Southey — but something which comes than with our preachment upon it. But we much nearer to the soft and tender manner were anxious to convey to them our sense of of Campbell; with still more reserve and cauthe spirit in which this poem is written ;-and tion, perhaps, and more frequent sacrifices conceive, indeed, that what we have now of strong and popular effect, to an abhorrence said falls more strictly within the line of our of glaring beauties, and a disdain of vulgar critical duty, than our general remarks can resources. always be said to do;—because the true The work opens with a sort of epitome of character and poetical effect of the work its subject—and presents us with a brief abseems, in this instance, lo depend much more stract of man's (or at least Gentleman's) life, on its moral expression, than on any of its as marked by the four great eras of–his birth merely literary qualities.
-his coming of age--his marriage—and his The author, perhaps, may not think it any death. This comprehensive picture, with its compliment to be thus told, that his verses four compartments, is comprised in less than are likely to be greater favourites with the thirty lines.—We give the two latter scenes old than with the young;--and yet it is no only. small compliment, we think, to say, that they are likely to be more favourites with his Soon, issuing forth, shall glitter through the trees
" And soon again shall music swell the breeze ; readers every year they live :-And it is at Vestures of Nuptial white; and hymns be sung, all events true, whether it be a compliment. And violets scatter'd round; and old and young,
In every cottage-porch with garlands green, Known by her laugh that will not be suppress'd.
Bind her as his! Across the threshold led, “And once, alas! nor in a distant hour,
And ev'ry tear kiss'd off as soon as shed, Another voice shall come from yonder tower! His house she enters; there to be a light When in dim chambers long black weeds are seen, Shining within, when all without is night! And weepings heard, where only joy had been; A guardian.angel o'er his life presiding, When by his children borne, and from his door Doubling his pleasures, and his cares dividing ! Slowly departing to return no more,
How oft her eyes read his ; her genile mind, He rests in holy earıh, with them that went before! To all his wishes, all his thoughis inclin'd;
" And such is Human Life! So gliding on, Still subjeci-even on the waich to borrow It glimmers like a meteor, and is gone!"-pp. 8–10. Mirth of his mirth, and sorrow of his sorrow.” After some general and very striking re
pp. 32, 33. flections upon the perpetual but unperceived Beautiful as this is, we think it much infegradations by which this mysterious being is rior to what follows; when Parental affection carried through all the stages of its fleeting comes to complete the picture of Connubia) existence, the picture is resumed and expand bliss. ed with more touching and discriminating “And laughing eyes and laughing voices fill details. Infancy, for example, is thus finely Their halls with gladness. She, when all are still, delineated :
Comes and undraws the curtain as they lie “ The hour arrives, the moment wish'd and Gleams, and the wood sends up iis harmony,
In sleep, how beautiful! He, when the sky fear'd;
When, gathering rourid his bed, they climb to share The child is born, by many a pang endear'd.
His kisses, and with genıle violence there
Break in upon a dream not half so fair,
Up to the hill top leads their little feet;
The stag-herd on its march, perchance to hear How soon, by his, the glad discovery shows! Or to the echo near The Abbot's tree, As to her lips she lifts the lovely boy,
That gave him back his words of pleasantryWhat answering looks of sympathy and joy! When the House stood, no merrier man than he ! He walks, he speaks. In many a broken word
And, as they wander with a keen delight, His wants, his wishes, and his griefs are heard. If but a leveret catch their quicker sight And ever, ever to her lap he flies,
Down a green alley, or a squirrel then When rosy Sleep comes on with sweet surprise. Climb the gnarled oak, and look and climb again, Lock'd in her arms, his arms across her flung If but a moth flit by, an acorn fall, (That name most dear for ever on his tongue), He turns i heir thoughts to Him who made them all.” As with soft accents round her neck he clings,
pp. 34-36. And, cheek to cheek, her lulling song she sings, "But Man is born to suffer. On the door How blest to feel the beatings of his heart, Sickness has set her mark; and now no more Breathe his sweet breaih, and kiss for kiss impart; Laughter within we hear, or wood-notes wild Watch o'er his slumbers like the brooding dove, As of a mother singing to her child. And, if she can, exhaust a mother's love!"
All now in anguish from that room retire, pp. 19, 20.
Where a young cheek glows with consuming fire, This is pursued in the same strain of ten-And innocence breathes contagion !-all bui one, derness and beauty through all its most in. But she who gave it birth!- From her alone
The medicine-cup is taken. Through the night, teresting bearings; and then we pass to the And through the day, that with its dreary light bolder kindlings and loftier aspirations of Comes unregarded, she sits silent by, Youth.
Watching the changes with her anxious eye :
While they withoui, listening below, above, " Then is the Age of Admiration-then
(Who but in sorrow know how much they love ?) Gods walks the earth, or beings more than men! From every little noise catch hope and fear, Ha! then come thronging many a wild desire,
Exchanging still, still as they turn to hear, And high imaginings and thoughts of fire !
Whispers and sighs, and smiles all tenderness! Then from within a voice exclaims' Aspire !'
That would in vain ihe starting tear repress."'. Phantoms, that upward point, before him pass, As in the Cave athwart ihe Wizard's glass,” &c.
The scene, however, is not always purely We cut short this tablature, however, as
domestic—though all its lasting enjoyments well as the spirited sketches of impetuous
are of that origin, and look back to that concourage and devoted love that belong to the summation. His country requires the arm of same period, to come to the joys and duties a free man! and home and all its joys must of maturer life ; which, we think, are described be left, for the patriot battle. The sanguinary with still more touching and characteristic and tumultuous part is slightly touched ; But beauties. The Youth passes into this more
the return is exquisite; nor do we know, any tranquil and responsible state, of course, by heartfelt beauty, than some of those we are
where, any verses more touching and full of Marriage; and we have great satisfaction in
about to extract. recurring, with our uxorious poet, to his representation of that engaging ceremony, upon
“He goes, and Night comes as it never came ! which his thoughts seem to dwell with so
With shrieks of horror!-and a vault of flame ! much fondness and complacency.
And lo! when morning mocks the desolate,
Red runs the rivulet by; and at the gate * Then are they blest indeed! and swift the hours Breathless a horse without his rider stands! 'Till her young Sisters wreathe her hair in flowers, But hush!.. a shout from the victorious bandy kindling her beauty-while, unseen, the least And oh the smiles and tears! a sire restor'd! Twitches her robe, then runs behind the resi, One wears his helm-one buckles on nis sword,
pp. 38, 39.
One hange the wall with laurel-leaves, and all Again with honour to his hearth restor'd,
Lo, in the accustom'd chair and at the board, While Sho best-lov'd, till then forsaken never, Thrice greeting those that most withdraw inen Clings round his neck, as she would cling for ever!
claim • Such golden deeds lead on to golden days, (The humblest servant calling by his name), Days of domestic peace-by him who plays He reads thanksgiving in the eyes of all, On the great stage how uneventful thought; All met as at a holy festival ! Yet with a thousand busy projects fraught, -On the day destin'd for his funeral! A thousand incidents that stir the mind
Lo, there the Friend, who, entering where he lay, To pleasure, such as leaves no sting behind ! Breath'd in his drowsy ear · Away, away! Such as the heart delights in—and records
Take thou my cloak-Nay, start not, but obeyWithin how silently-in more than words! Take it and leave me. And the blushing Maid, A Holyday-the frugal banquet spread
Who through the streets as through a desert stray'd; On the fresh herbage near the fountain-head And, when her dear, dear Father pass'd along, With quips and cranks--what time the wood-lark Would not be held; but, bursting through the throng, there
Halberd and baltlé-axe-kissed him o'er and o'er; Scatters her loose notes on the sultry air,
Then turn'd and went-then sought him as before, What time the king-fisher sits perch'd below, Believing she should see his face no more!" Where, silver-bright, the water lilies blow :
pp. 48–50. A Wake-the booths whit’ning the village-green, Where Punch and Scaramouch aloft are seen;
What follows is sacred to still higher reSign beyond sign in close array unfurl'd,
membrances. Picturing at large the wonders of the world; And far and wide, over the vicar's pale,
“And now once more where most he lov'd to be, Black hoods and scarlet crossing hill and dale, In his own fields-breathing tranquillityAll, all abroad, and music in the gale :
We hail him-not less happy, Fox, than thee! A Wedding-dance-a dance into the night! Thee at St. Anne's, so soon of Care beguil'd, On the barn.floor when maiden-feet are light; Playful, sincere, and artless as a child ! When the young bride receives the promis'd dower, Thee, who wouldst waich a bird's nest on the spray, And flowers are flung, 'herself a fairer flower :' Through the green leaves exploring, day by day. A morning.visit to the poor man's shed,
How oft from grove to grove, from seat to seat, (Who would be rich while One was wanting bread ?) With thee conversing in thy lov'd retreat, When all are emulous to bring relief,
I saw the sun go down !-Ah, then 'twas thine And tears are falling fast-but not for grief :- Ne'er to forget some volume half divine, (shade A Walk in Spring-Gr*ti*n, like those with thee, Shakespeare's or Dryden's thro' the chequer'd By the heath-side (who had not envied me ?) Borne in thy hand behind thee as we stray'd; When the sweet limes, so full of bees in June, And where we sate (and many a halt we made) Led us to meet beneath their boughs at noon; To read there with a fervour all thy own, And thou didst say which of the Great and Wiso, And in thy grand and melancholy tone, Could they but hear and at thy bidding rise, Some splendid passage not to thee unknown, Thou wouldst call up and question."-pp. 42–46. Fit theme for long discourse.—Thy bell has iollid!
-But in thy place among us we behold Other cares and trials and triumphs await One that resembles thee."'--pp. 52, 53. him. He fights the good fight of freedom in the senate, as he had done before in the field- The scene of closing Age is not less beautiful and with greater peril. The heavy hand of and attractive~nor less true and exemplary. power weighs upon him, and he is arraigned
“'Tis the sixth hour. of crimes against the State.
The village-clock strikes from the distant tower. “Like Hampden struggling in his country's cause, And to the inn spurs forward. Nature wears
The ploughman leaves the field ; the traveller hears, The first, the foremost to obey the laws, The last to brook oppression! On he moves,
Her sweetest smile; the day-star in the west Careless of blame while his own heart approves,
Yet hovering, and the thistle's down at rest. Careless of ruin—("* For the general good
"And such, his labour done, the calm He knows, 'Tis not the first time I shall shed my blood.") Whose fooisteps we have follow'd. Round him. On through that gate misnamed,* through which
An atmosphere that brightens to the last ; Went Sidney, Russel, Raleigh. Cranmer, More! The light, that shines, reflected from the Past, On into twilight within walls of stone,
-And from the Future too! Acrive in Thought Then to the place of trial; and alone,
Among old books, old friends; and not unsought Alone before his judges in array
By the wise stranger. In his morning hours, Stands for his life! there, on that awful day, When gentle airs stir the fresh-blowing flowers, Counsel of friends—all human help denied He muses, turning up the idle weed; All but from her who sits the pen to guide. Or prunes or grafts, or in the yellow mead Like that sweet saint who sat by Russel's sidet Watches his bees ai hiving-time; and now, Under the judgment-seat !--But guilty men The ladder resting on the orchard-bough, Triumph not always. To his hearth again, Culls the delicious fruit that hangs in air,
The purple plum, green fig, or golden pear, * Traitor's Gate, in the Tower.
Mid sparkling eyes, and hands uplifted there. + We know of nothing at once so pathetic and so “At night, when all, assembling round the fire, sublime, as the few simple sentences here alluded Closer and closer draw till they retire, to, in the account of Lord Russel's trial.
A tale is told of India or Japan, Lord Russel. May I have somebody write to help Of merchants from Golcond or Astracan, my memory?
What time wild Nature revellid unrestrain'd, Mr. Attorney General. Yes, a Servant. And Sinbad voyag'd and the Caliphs reigo'd ;
Lord Chief Justice. Any of your Servants shall Of some Norwegian, while the icy gale assist you in writing any thing you please for you. Rings in the shrouds and beats the iron sail, Lord Russel. My Wife is here, my Lord, to do it? Among the snowy Alps of Polar seas
-When we recollect who Russel and his wife Immoveable-for ever there to freeze! were, and what a destiny was then impending, this Or some great Caravan, from well to well one trait makes the heart swell, almost to bursting. I Winding as darkness on the desert fell,” &c.