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The same whom in my school-boy days
In bush, and tree, and sky.
Through woods and on the green ;
Still longed for, never seen!
Can lie upon the plain
That golden time again.
Again appears to be
ADDRESS TO AN EGYPTIAN MUMMY.3
And thou hast walked about how strange a story !
In Thebes's streets three thousand years ago;
And time had not begun to overthrow
(1) Beget, dc.-recall, and as it were create anew, the scenes of boyhood. This faculty, which the mind possesses of reviving a train of scenes and circumstances, long past, on the recollection of some one of them, is usually called the association of ideas—the above poem is a pleasing illustration of the phenomenon. Akenside (in his “ Pleasures of Imagination ") thus refers to it:
“A song, a flower, a name, at once restore
Those long-connected scenes where first they moved
The attention." (2) Fit home, &c.—the vision of the “golden time" so fills the mind, that the earth seems to change into a fairy place, well suited to the mysterious and unreal character fancifully attributed to the Cuckoo.
(3) “This poem has been deservedly admired for its picturesque vigour, combined with richness and felicity of historical allusion.”—Encyclopaedia Britannica.
(4) Memnonium—the name given to a temple now in ruins, supposed to have been dedicated to Memnon, an ancient king of Egypt.
Speak! for thou long enough hast acted dummy;
Thou hast a tongue, come, let us hear its tune ;
Revisiting the glimpses of the moon;
To whom should we assign the Sphinx's' fame?
Of either pyramid that bears his name?
By oath to tell the mysteries of thy trade ;
In Memnon's statue which at sunrise played ?
Has hob-a-nobbed with Pharaoh, glass to glass ;
(1) Sphinx-an Egyptian monster, with a virgin's face and a quadruped's body; said to have proposed riddles, and destroyed those who could not solve them.
(2) Cheops, Cephrenes—two ancient kings of Egypt, to whom Herodotus attric butes the building of the two largest pyramids.
(3) Pompey's pillar--the column at Alexandria, which is thus named, is supposed to have been erected long after Pompey's time-in the reign of Diocletian, The name it bears is, therefore, a misnomer.
(4) Thebes--in the Bible called No, or No Ammon-was situated in Upper Egypt. Homer (Iliad ix. 381, &c.) calls it “ the city with a hundred gates," each of which, he says, sent out two hundred men, with horses and chariots.
(5) Mason-i. e. a freemason ; one of a company or society of men calling themselves by that name, and professing to maintain, as a condition of membership, some awful secrets, which they are sworn never to divulge.
(6) Secret melody, &c.—It seems clear that at sunrise certain sounds did issue from a particular statue, called Memnon's head, but in what manner the Egyptian priests contrived this “juggle"-for such it doubtless was—is unknown.
(7) Juggle—probably from the Latin jocus, a joke or sport, whence joculor joculator, and the old Anglo-Norman jogelour (used by Chaucer), one who plays tricks or makes sport.
(8) Hob-a-nobsupposed to be the same as hab or nab, i. e. have or not have ? formerly used in asking a person whether he would have a glass of wine or not, or, as above, applied to the fact of drinking together. Halliwell considers it “ the act of touching glasses in pledging a health."
Or dropt a halfpenny in Homer's hat,
Or doffed? thine own to let Queen Dido pass,
Has any Roman soldier mauled? or knuckled;
Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled !
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen,
And the great Deluge still had left it green;
Art sworn to secrecy? then keep thy vows;
Reveal the secrets of thy prison-house !
We have, above-ground, seen some strange mutations ;
New worlds have risen-we have lost old nations ;
When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses,
(1) Doff-to do off, or put off, as don is to do on, or put on, and dout, to do out, or put out.
(2) Mauled—to maul is to beat with a mall or large hammer, or in a secondary sense, to beat severely, so as to occasion bruises.
(3) Pother-same as pudder or powder, dust, as raised by a horse running swiftly. Shakspere (in “Lear") writes :
“Let the great gods, That keep this dreadful pudder o'er our heads, Find out their enemies now.'
Marched armies o'er thy tomb with thundering tread,
O’erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis,'
The nature of thy private life unfold :-
And tears adown that dusty cheek have rolled;
Imperishable type of evanescence !
And standest undecayed within our presence !
If its undying guest be lost for ever?
In living virtue ; that, when both must sever,
THE ALPS AT DAY-BREAK.
THE sun-beams streak the azure skies,
And line with light the mountain's brow:
And chase the roebuck through the snow.
High on their iron poles they pass ;
Rend from above the frozen mass. 4
(1) Osiris, &c.--names of Egyptian divinities, worshipped under various forms.
(2) Statue of flesh, dc.--this is a very striking passage. The opposition in the terms excites and interests the mind. Statue of what? Marble ? No-flesh. Immortal-undying-of the dead. Imperishable-undecaying-type of decay.
(3) Mute-i.e. at particular spots, where danger was to be apprehended. (4) Frozen mass--an avalanche or huge mass of snow,
The goats wind slow their wonted way,'
Up craggy steeps and ridges rude;
From desert cave or hanging wood.
And as the echoing cliffs reply,
Perched, like an eagle's nest, on high.
THE CALENDAR OF FLORA.2
Fair rising from her icy couch,
Wan heralds of the floral year,
Ere yet the primrose groups appear,
Anemones' their stars unfold,
And rich in vegetable gold,
(1) Way—this line, and that in the first stanza, “ With hounds and horns the hunters rise," supply instances of what is called alliteration, or the frequent recurrence of the same initial letter. It is an artifice of composition which ought to be very judiciously employed to satisfy a cultivated taste-though its occasional introduction is pleasing. The poet Churchill has at once ingeniously ridiculed and exemplified it in the following line:
“ And apt alliteration's artful aid." (2) In the “Calendar of Flora," the flowers, by their appearance at different parts of the year, serve as a sort of register, or calendar, of the seasons. (3) Herald-synonymous with harbinger and messenger.
All these words convey the idea of going before, but differ in the purpose.
A herald is one who goes before to declare something. A harbinger is one who goes before to procure a harbour or lodging for some important personage. A messenger is one who goes before to take a message.
(4) Arum maculatum—spotted arum, or cuckoo-pint.
(5) Anemones-called also wind-flowers. The anemone nemorosa is here referred to.
(6) Vegetable gold-an expression borrowed Ifrom Milton (Paradise Lost, iv. 218), and somewhat affectedly employed here to denote the golden colour of the cowslips.