Page images

Letters four do form his name.
He let me loose, and cried Halloo!
To him alone the praise is due.

Clustering, which mark the mansion of my friend,
And close behind them, hidden from my view,
Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe
And my babe's mother dwell in peace! With light
And quicken'd footsteps thitherward I tend,
Remembering thee, O green and silent dell!
And grateful, that, by nature's quietness
And solitary musings, all my heart
Is sofien'd, and made worthy ulge
Love, and the thoughts that yearn for human-kind.

Nether Stowey, April 28th, 1798.

Thanks, sister, thanks! the men have bled,
Their wives and their children faint for bread.
I stood in a swampy field of battle;
With bones and sculls I made a rattle,
To frighten the wolf and carrion crow,
And the homeless dog—but they would not go
So off I flew; for how could I bear
To see them gorge their dainty fare?
I heard a groan and a peevish squall,

And through the chink of a cottage-wall-
Can you guess what I saw there?





Whisper it, sister! in our ear. The Scene a desolated Tract in La Vendée. FAMINE

is discovered lying on the ground ; to her enter FIRE

A baby beat its dying mother.
I had starved the one, and was starving the other

[blocks in formation]

No! no! no!
Spirits hear what spirits téll :
"T will make a holiday in Hell.

No! no! no!
Myself, I named him once below,
And all the souls, that damned be,
Leap'd up at once in anarchy,
Clapp'd their hands and danced for glee.
The u longer heeded me;
But laugh'd to hear Hell's burning rafters
Unwillingly re-echo laughters!

No! no! no!
Spirits hear what spirits tell !
"T will make a holiday in Hell !

Sisters! I from Ireland came!
Hedge and corn-fields all on flame,
I triumph'd o'er the setting sun!
And all the while the work was done
On as I strode with my huge strides,
I flung back my head and I held my sides,
It was so rare a piece of fun
To see the swelter'd cattle run
With uncouth gallop through the night,
Scared by the red and noisy light!
By the light of his own blazing cot
Was many a naked rebel shot:
The house-stream met the flame and hissid,

While crash! fell in the roof, I wist,
On some of those old bedrid nurses,
That deal in discontent and curses.


Whisper it, sister! so and so! la a dark hint, soft and slow.

Letters four do form his name-
And who sent you ?

The same! the same!


Who bade you do't?

He came by stealth, and unlock'd my den,
And I have drunk the blood since then
Of thrice three hundred thousand men.


The same! the same!
Letters four do form his name.

He let me loose, and cried Halloo!
To him alone the praise is due.


вотн. Who bade you do it?

The same! the same!

He let us loose, and cried Halloo!
How shall we yield him honor due?


• See Appendix to " Sibylline Leaves."

Wisdom comes with lack of food.
I'll gnaw, I'll gnaw the multitude,

[blocks in formation]


One of the many fine words which the most uneducated † According to the superstition of the West Countries, if you kad about this time a constant opportunity of acquiring from meet the Devil, you may either cut him in half with a straw, oi the sermou in the pulpit, and the proclamations on the you may cause him instantly to disappear by spitting over his Lornets.


Alas! to mend the breaches wide

He made for these poor ninnies, They all must work, whate'er betide, Both days and months, and pay beside (Sad news for Avarice and for Pride)

A sight of golden guineas.

presume to offer to the public a silly tale of old-fashioned love and five years ago, I own I should have allowed and felt the force of this objection. But, alas ! explosion has succeeded explosion so rapidly,that novelty itself ceases to appear new; and it is possible that now even a simple story,wholly uninspired with politics or personality, may find some attention amid the bub bub of revolutions, as to those who have remained a long time by the falls of Niagara, the lowest whispering becomes distinct ly audible.

S. T. C Dec. 21, 1799.

But here once more to view did pop

The man that kept his senses. And now he cried—“Stop, neighbors ! stop! The Ox is mad! I would not swop, No, not a school-boy's farthing top

For all the parish fences.

O LEAVE the lily on its stem;

o leave the rose upon the spray; O leave the elder bloom, fair maids!

And listen to my lay.

“ The Ox is mad! Ho! Dick, Bob, Mat!

What means this coward fuss ? Ho! stretch this rope across the plat'T will trip him up—or if not that, Why, damme! we must lay him flat

See, here's my blunderbuss !"

A cypress and a myrtle-bough

This morn around my harp you twined Because it fashion'd mournfully

Its murmurs in the wind.

“ A lying dog! just now he said,

The Ox was only glad, Let’s break his Presbyterian head!"“ Hush!" quoth the sage, “ you've been misled, No quarrels now—let's all make head

You drove the poor Ox mad!

And now a Tale of Love and Woe,

A woful Tale of Love I sing ; Hark, gentle maidens, hark! it sighs

And trembles on the string.

But most, my own dear Genevieve,

It sighs and trembles most for thee! O come, and hear what cruel wrongs

Befell the Dark Ladie.

As thus I sat in careless chat,

With the morning's wet newspaper,
In eager haste, without his hat,
1 As blind and blundering as a bat,
In came that fierce'aristocrat,

Our pursy woollen draper.
And so my Muse perforce drew bit,

And in he rush'd and panted : “Well, have you heard ?”—“No! not a whit." “What! han't you heard?”—Come,out with it!" “That Tierney votes for Mister Pitt,

And Sheridan 's recanted.

Few Sorrows hath she of her own,

My hope, my joy, my Genevieve! She loves me best, whene'er I sing

The songs that make her grieve.


All thoughts, all passions, all delights,

Whatever stir this mortal frame, All are but ministers of Love,

And feed his sacred flame.


Oh! ever in my waking dreams,

I dwell upon that happy hour, When midway on the mount I sate,

Beside the ruin'd tower. The moonshine, stealing o'er the scene,

Had blended with the lights of eve And she was there, my hope, my joy,

My own dear Genevieve!

Quas humilis tenero stylus olim effudit in ævo.
Perlegis hic lacrymas, et quod pharetratus acuta
Ille puer puero fecit mihi cuspide vulnus,
Omnia paulatim consumit longior ætas,
Vivendoque simut morimur, rapimurque manendo.
Ispe mihi collatus enim non ille videbor:
Frons alia est, moresque alii, nova mentis imago,
Voxque aliud sonat-
Pectore nunc gelido calidos miseremur amantes,
Jamque arsisse pudet. Veteres tranquilla tumultus
Mens horret relegensque alium putat ista locutum.


She lean'd against the armed man,

The statue of the armed knight, She stood and listen’d 10 my harp,

Amid the ling’ring light.
I play'd a sad and doleful air.

I sang an old and moving storyAn old rude song, that fitted well

That ruin wild and hoary.


DARK LADIE. The following Poem is intended as the introduction to a somewhat longer one. The use of the old Ballad word Ladie for Lady, is the only piece of obsoleteness in it; and as it is professedly a tale of ancient times, I trust that the affectionate lovers of venerable antiquity (as Camden sa ys) will grant me their pardon, and perhaps may be induced to admit a forco and propriety in it A heavier objection may be adduced against the author, that in these times of fear and expectation, when novelties explode around us in all directions, he should

She listen'd with a flitting blush,

With downcast eyes and modest graco, For well she knew, I could not choose

But gaze upon her face.
I told her of the Knight that wore

Upon his shield a burning brand ;
And how for ten long years he wood
The Ladie of the Land :

I wld her how he pined : and ah!

The deep, the low, the pleading tone With which I sung another's love, Interpreted my own.

She listend with a fitting blush ;

With downcast eyes, and modest grace ; And she forgave me, that I gazed

Too fondly on her face !
But when I told the cruel scom

That crazed this bold and lonely Knight, And how he roam'd the mountain-woods,

Nor rested day or night;

Her wet cheek glow'd: she stept aside,

As conscious of my look she stepp'd ; Then suddenly, with tim'rous eye,

She flew to me and wept.
She half inclosed me with her arms,

She press'd me with a moek embrace ; And bending back her head, look'd up,

And gazed upon my face. 'T was partly love, and partly fear,

And partly 't was a bashful art,
That I might rather feel than see

The swelling of her heart.
I calm'd her fears, and she was calm,

And told her love with virgin pride ; And so I won my Genevieve,

My bright and beauteous bride.

And how he cross'd the woodman's paths, Through briers and swampy mosses beat ; How boughs rebounding scourged his limbs,

And low stubs gored his feet;

That sometimes from the savage den,

And sometimes from the darksome shade, And sometimes starting up at once

In green and sunny glade ;

And now once more a tale of woe,

A woeful tale of love I sing : For thee, my Genevieve! it sighs,

And trembles on the string.

There came and look'd him in the face

An Angel beautiful and bright; And how he knew it was a Fiend,

This miserable Knight!

When last I sang the cruel scorn

That crazed this bold and lonely Knight, And how he roam'd the mountain-woods

Nor rested day or night;
I promised thee a sister tale

Of man's perfidious cruelty :
Come, then, and hear what cruel wrong

Befell the Dark Ladie.

And how, unknowing what he did,

He leapt amid a lawless band, And saved from outrage worse than death

The Ladie of the Land !


At midnight by the stream I roved.
To forget the form I loved.
Image of Lewti! from my mind
Depart; for Lewti is not kind.

And how she wept, and clasp'd his knees ;

And how she tended him in vainAnd meekly strove to expiate

The scorn that crazed his brain : And how she nursed him in a cave;

And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest-leaves

A dying man he lay ;
His dying words—but when I reach'd

That tend'rest strain of all the ditty,
My falt'ring voice and pausing harp

Disturb'd her soul with pity! All impulses of soul and sense

Had thrill'd my guiltless Genevieve ;
The fnusic and the doleful tale,

The rich and balmy eve;
And hopes and fears that kindle hope,

An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes long subdued,

Subdued and cherish'd long ! She wept with pity and delight,

She blush'd with love and maiden-shame; And, like the murmurs of a dream,

I heard her breathe my name.
I saw her bosom heave and swell,

Heave and swell with inward sighs-
I could not choose but love to see

Her gentle bosom rise.

The moon was high, the moonlight gleam

And the shadow of a star Heaved upon Tarnaha's stream;

But the rock shone brighter far, The rock half-shelter'd from my view By pendent boughs of tressy yewSo shines my Lewti's forehead fair, Gleaming through her sable hair. Image of Lewti! from my mind Depart; for Lewti is not kind.

I saw a cloud of palest hue,

Onward to the moon it pass'd;
Still brighter and more bright it grew
With floating colors not a few,

Till it reach'd the moon at last :
Then the cloud was wholly bright
With a rich and amber light!
And so with many a hope I seek

And with such joy I find my Lewti : And even so my pale wan cheek

Drinks in as deep a flush of beauty ! Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind, If Lewti never will be kind.

The little cloud-it floats away,

Away it goes; away so soon?
Alas! it has no power to stay :
Its hues are dim, its hues are gray-

Away it passes from the moon!
How mournfully it seems to fly,

Ever fading more and more, To joyless regions of the sky,

And now 't is whiter than before !
As white as my poor cheek will be,

When, Lewii! on my couch I lie,
A dying man for love of thee.
Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind-
And yet thou didst not look unkind.

O'er rocks, or bare or mossy, with wild foot
Crushing the purple whorts ; while oft unseen,
Hurrying along the drified forest-leaves,
The scared snake rustles. Onward still I toil,
I know not, ask not whither! A new joy,
Lovely as light, sudden as summer gust,
And gladsome as the first-born of the spring,
Beckons me on, or follows from behind,
Playmate, or guide! The master-passion quell'd,
I feel that I am free. With dun-red bark
The fir-trees, and the unfrequent slender oak,

Forth from this tangle wild of bush and brake
Soar up, and form a melancholy vault
High o'er me, murmuring like a distant sea.

I saw a vapor in the sky,

Here Wisdom might resort, and here Remorse; Thin, and white, and very high;

Here too the lovelorn man who, sick in soul, ( ne'er beheld so thin a cloud :

And of this busy human heart aweary, Perhaps the breezes that can fly

Worships the spirit of unconscious life Now below and row above,

In tree or wild-flower.-Gentle Lunatic! Have snatch'd aloft the lawny shroud

If so he might not wholly cease to be, Of Lady fair--that died for love.

He would far rather not be that, he is ; For maids, as well as youths, have perish'd

But would be something, that he knows not of, From fruitless love too fondly cherish’d.

In winds or waters, or among the rocks !
Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind
For Lewti never will be kind.

But hence, fond wretch ! breathe not contagio Hush! my heedless feet from under

here! Slip the crumbling banks for ever:

No myrtle-walks are these : these are no groves Like echoes to a distant thunder,

Where Love dare loiter! If in sullen mood They plunge into the gentle river.

He should stray hither, the low stumps shall gore The river-swans have heard my tread,

His dainty feet, the brier and the thom And startle from their reedy bed.

Make his plumes haggard. Like a wounded bird O beauteous Birds! methinks ye measure

Easily caught, ensnare him, Oye Nymphs, Your movements to some heavenly tune!

Ye Oreads chaste, ye dusky Dryades ! O beauteous Birds! 't is such a pleasure

And you, ye Earth-winds ! you that make at mori To see you move beneath the moon,

The dew-drops quiver on the spiders' webs! I would it were your true delight

You, O ye wingless Airs ! that creep between To sleep by day and wake all night.

The rigid stems of heath and bitten furze,

Within whose scanty shade, at summer-noon, I know the place where Lewti lies,

The mother-sheep hath worn a hollow bedWhen silent night has closed her eyes :

Ye, that now cool her fleece with dropless damp, It is a breezy jasmine-bower,

Now pant and murmur with her feeding lamb. The nightingale sings o'er her head :

Chase, chase him, all ye Fays, and elfin Gnomes ! Voice of the Night! had I the power

With prickles sharper than his darts bemock That leafy labyrinth to thread,

His little Godship, making him perforce
And creep, like thee, with soundless tread, Creep through a thorn-bush on yon hedgehog's bac
I then might view her bosom white
Heaving lovely to my sight,

This is my hour of triumph! I can now
As these two swans together heave
On the gently swelling wave.

With my own fancies play the merry fool,

And laugh away worse folly, being free. Oh! that she saw me in a dream,

Here will I seat myself, beside this old,

Hollow, and weedy oak, which ivy-twine And dreamt that I had died for care ;

Clothes as with net-work : here will I couch m All pale and wasted I would seem,

limbs, Yet fair withal, as spirits are! I'd die indeed, if I might see

Close by this river, in this silent shade,

As safe and sacred from the step of man
Her bosom heave, and heave for me! .

As an invisible world—unheard, unseen,
Soothe, gentle image! soothe my mind!
Tomorrow Lewti may be kind.

And list'ning only to the pebbly brook

That murmurs with a dead, yet tinkling sound 1795.

Or to the bees, that in the neighboring trunk
Make honey-hoards. The breeze, that visits mo

Was never Love's accomplice, never raised

The tendril ringlets from the maiden's brow, TIIE PICTURE, OR THE LOVER'S And the blue, delicate veins above her cheek; RESOLUTION.

Ne'er play'd the wanton-never half-disclosed

The maiden's snowy bosom, scattering thence THROUGU weeds and thorns, and matted underwood Eye-poisons for some love-distemper'd youth, I force my way; now climb, and now descend

Who ne'er henceforth may see an aspen-grove

« PreviousContinue »