« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
and romantic glen, the rocky valley, and the wide, the rich, the fascinating vale, associating ideas of rural comfort and of peaceful enjoyment, cheerful industry, robust health, and tranquil happiness, draw us from subjects too high for human thought, chain us to the earth, and enchant us with magic spells. No country abounds more in those characters in which Nature delights to speak to the imagination, than Greece. Her mountains were not more the theme of her poets than her vales and her valleys. In that fine country, no vale was more celebrated than that of Tempe: a vale in which the peasants frequently assembled, in order to give entertainments to each other, and to offer sacrifices. A Greek writer calls it festival for the eyes," and the gods were believed frequently to wander in it. Of this enchanting spot, Pliny has given a description in the fourth book of his Natural History; but Ælian has left the most copious and accurate account of it. “ Tempe," says he, “is situated between the mountains of Ossa and Pelion, which are the highest mountains in Thessaly; and are divided in this place with a singular kind of attention. They enclose a valley of five miles in length, but which in breadth often does not exceed a hundred feet. In the middle flows the river Peneus, which, at first, is little more than a cataract; but, by the addition of many smaller streams, it at length assumes considerable magnitude. Among the rich shrubs upon its banks, are various beautiful windings and recesses; not the works of human hands, but of spontaneous nature, which seems to have formed every thing in this spot with the solicitude of a mother. A profusion of ivy is seen in all parts of the woods, which, with the vine, ascend the tops of the highest trees, cling round their branches, and fall luxuriantly between them. The different species of convolvulus, which grow upon the sides of the hills, throw their white flowers and creeping foliage over the rocks ; while in the vale, or wherever they can find a level surface, groves of all kinds, in venerable arches or ca. pricious forms, afford a cool and refreshing retreat. Nor are there wanting frequent falls of water, with the most pure and crystal springs, sweet to drink, and wholesome to the bather. The thrush, the wood lark, and the nightingale, procreate in the thickets, and with their songs shorten the way, and soothe the ears of the traveller; who finds, in every path, arbors and grottos, and seats of repose. The Peneus still continues through the vale, idly, as it were, and with a glassy smoothness; while the depending boughs which crowd over its surface, yield an almost constant shade to those who navi. gate the river.” In the vale of Tempe, Ford has laid the scene of a contest between a nightingale and a lutanist; finely imitated from a passage in Strada's Prolusions.
“ Passing from Italy to Greece, the tales,
This contest was begun by a nightingale, who, chancing to hear a lutanist play several airs upon his lute, endeavored to surpass them. In this attempt, however, the unfortunate bird failed: on which
Down dropt she on the lute,
ON TIME. MOV'D by a strange mysterious power, That hastes along the rapid hour,
I touch the deep ton'd string. E'en now I see his wither'd face, Beneath yon tower's mouldering base,
Where mossy vestments cling.
Dark roll'd his cheerless eye around,
No locks his head array'd,
And sunk amidst the shade.
Malignant triumph fill'd his eyes,
“How vain your idle schemes. Beneath my grasp, the fairest form, Dissolves and mingles with the worm,
Thus vanish mortal dreams,
The works of God! and man I spoil,
I treat as childish toys.
I bury human joys.”
Hold! ruthless phantom-hold! I cried, If thou canst mock the dreams of pride,
And meaner hopes devour, Virtue! beyond thy reach shall bloom, When other charms sink to the tomb,
She scorns thy envious power.
On frosty wings the demon fled,
“Another year is gone!”
As time flew swiftly on.
Since beauty then to time must bow,
Let brighter charms be yours ;
While time himself endures.
THE BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE. Not a drum was heard nor a funeral note,
As his corse o’er the rampart we hurried, Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot,
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him darkly at dead of night,
The sod with our bayonets turning,
No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Nor in sheet nor in shroud we bound him, But like a warrior taking his rest,
His martial cloak wrapt around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said,
We spoke not a word of sorrow,
And bitterly thought of the morrow.
We thought as we hollowed his narrow bed,
And smooth'd down his lowly pillow, That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
And we, far away o'er the billow.
Lightly they'll speak of the spirit that's gone,
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him;
In the grave where his comrades have laid him.
Not the half of our heavy task was done,
When the bell tollid the hour for retiring,
That the foe was then suddenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame, fresh and gory,
But left him alone—with his glory.
THE SAILOR-BOY'S DREAM.
But, watchworn and weary, his cares flew away,
He dreamt of his home, of his dear native bow'rs, And pleasures that waited on life's merry morn;
While Mem'ry stood sideways, half cover'd with flow'rs, And displayed ev'ry rose, but secreted its thorn.
Then fancy her magical pinions spread wide, And bade the young dreamer in ecstacy rise,
Now far, far behind him the green waters glide, And the cot of his forefathers blesses his eyes :
The jessamine clambers, in flow'r, o'er the thatch, And the swallow sings sweet from her nest in the wall,
All trembling with transport, he raises the latch, And the voices of lov'd ones reply to his call;
A Father bends o'er him with looks of delight-
And the lips of the boy in a love-kiss unite
The heart of the sleeper beats high in his breast,
And a murmur of happiness steals through his rest“ Kind, fate thou hast blest me-I ask for no more.”
Ah! whence is that flame which now bursts on his eye? Ah! what is that sound which now larums his ear?
'Tis the lightning's red glare painting hell on the sky,-'Tis the crashing of thunders, the groan of the sphere.
He springs from his hammock-he flies to the deck, Amazement confronts him with images dire;
Wild winds and waves drive the vessel a wreck, The masts fly in splinters, the shrouds are on fire.
Like mountains the billows tremendously swell:
Unseen hands of spirits are ringing his knell,