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MRS. HEMANS - AN HOUR OF ROMANCE.
"There went a swift bird singing past my cell-
An insect to be crush'd!
"Thou hast forsaken me!
There would be rescue if it were not so.
Thou'rt at the chase, thou'rt at the festive board,
a magic glass
I see one shadow, stateliest there of all,
Thine! — What dost Thou amidst the bright and fair,
The following, though it has no very distinct object or moral, breathes, we think, the very spirit of Poetry, in its bright and vague picturings, and is well entitled to the name it bears" An Hour of Romance:"
There were thick leaves above me and around,
And low sweet sighs, like those of childhood's sleep,
As of soft showers on water! Dark and deep
Lay the oak shadows o'er the turf, so still
They seem'd but pictured glooms: a hidden rill
A tale of Palestine. Meanwhile the bee
But ere long
All sense of these things faded, as the spell
On my chain'd soul ! - 'Twas not the leaves I heard -
Thro' its proud, floating folds!— 'twas not the brook,
A wild shrill trumpet of the Saracen
Peal'd from the desert's lonely heart, and shook
And tents rose up, and sudden lance and spear
Sent thro' an eastern heaven, whose glorious hue
The bright masque faded!- Unto life's worn track,
and they pass'd, Banner, and harp, and Paynim trumpet's blast; Yet might I scarce bewail the splendours gone,
My heart so leap'd to that sweet laughter's tone."
There is great sweetness in the following portion of a little poem on a "Girls' School:"
"Oh! joyous creatures! that will sink to rest,
'Her look is on you silent tears to weep,
And patient smiles to wear, through suff'ring's hour;
To pour on broken reeds - a wasted show'r !
Her lot is on you! to be found untir'd,
Watching the stars out by the bed of pain,
And a true heart of hope, though hope be vain;
Meekly to bear with wrong, to cheer decay,
And oh! to Love through all things!-therefore pray!"
There is a fine and stately solemnity, too, in these lines on "The Lost Pleiad:"
LOST PLEIAD · DEATH OF GENIUS.
Hath the night lost a gem, the regal night?
No desert seems to part those urns of light,
To them the sailor's wakeful eye is turning
Unchang'd the rise; they have not mourn'd for thee!
Wert thou not peopled by some glorious race?
When from its height afar
A World sinks thus
- and yon majestic heav'n Shines not the less for that one vanish'd star!"
The following, on "The Dying Improvisatore," have a rich lyrical cadence, and glow of deep feeling:
On thy Rome's purple heaven mine eye shall dwell,
"Alas! - thy hills among,
Had I but left a memory of my name,
Of love and grief one deep, true, fervent song,
"But like a lute's brief tone,
Like a rose-odour on the breezes cast,
"Yet, yet remember me!
Friends! that upon its murmurs oft have hung,
"Under the dark rich blue
Of midnight heav'ns, and on the star-lit sea,
Where life's full glow the dreams of beauty wear,
FELICITY OF IMAGERY.
“Fain would I bind, for you,
My memory with all glorious things to dwell;
There would be no end of
But we must stop here. our extracts, if we were to yield to the temptation of noting down every beautiful passage which arrests us in turning over the leaves of the volumes before us. We ought to recollect, too, that there are few to whom our pages are likely to come, who are not already familiar with their beauties; and, in fact, we have made these extracts, less with the presumptuous belief that we are introducing Mrs. Hemans for the first time to the knowledge or admiration of our readers, than from a desire of illustrating, by means of them, that singular felicity in the choice and employment of her imagery, of which we have already spoken so much at large;-that fine accord she has established between the world of sense and of soul-that delicate blending of our deep inward emotions with their splendid symbols and emblems without.
We have seen too much of the perishable nature of modern literary fame, to venture to predict to Mrs. Hemans that hers will be immortal, or even of very long duration. Since the beginning of our critical career we have seen a vast deal of beautiful poetry pass into oblivion, in spite of our feeble efforts to recall or retain it in remembrance. The tuneful quartos of Southey are already little better than lumber:- and the rich melodies of Keats and Shelley,—and the fantastical emphasis of Wordsworth, and the plebeian pathos of Crabbe, are melting fast from the field of our vision. The novels of Scott have put out his poetry. Even the splendid strains of Moore are fading into distance and dimness, except where they have been married to immortal music; and the blazing star of Byron himself is receding from its place of pride. We need say nothing of Milman, and Croly, and Atherstone, and Hood, and a legion of others, who, with no ordinary gifts of taste and fancy, have not so properly survived their fame, as been excluded by some hard fatality, from what seemed their just inherit
MODERN POETRY PERISHABLE.
ance. The two who have the longest withstood this rapid withering of the laurel, and with the least marks of decay on their branches, are Rogers and Campbell; neither of them, it may be remarked, voluminous writers, and both distinguished rather for the fine taste and consummate elegance of their writings, than for that fiery passion, and disdainful vehemence, which seemed for a time to be so much more in favour with the public.
If taste and elegance, however, be titles to enduring fame, we might venture securely to promise that rich boon to the author before us; who adds to those great merits a tenderness and loftiness of feeling, and an ethereal purity of sentiment, which could only emanate from the soul of a woman. She must beware, however, of becoming too voluminous; and must not venture again on any thing so long as the "Forest Sanctuary." But if the next generation inherits our taste for short poems, we are persuaded it will not readily allow her to be forgotten. For we do not hesitate to say, that she is, beyond all comparison, the most touching and accomplished writer of occasional verses that our literature has yet to boast of.