« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
With snowy wreaths to crown the beauteous brow;
The rose will fade when storms assail the year, And Time, who changeth not his swift career, Constant in this, will change all else below!
LORENZO DE MEDICI.
"Non di verdi giardin ornati e colti."
WE come not, fair one! to thy hand of snow
From the soft scenes by Culture's hand array'd; Not rear'd in bowers where gales of fragrance blow, But in dark glens, and depths of forest shade! There once, as Venus wander'd, lost in woe,
To seek Adonis through th' entangled wood, Piercing her foot, a thorn that lurk'd below
With print relentless drew celestial blood! Then our light stems, with snowy blossoms fraught, Bending to earth, each precious drop we caught, Imbibing thence our bright purpureal dyes; We were not foster'd in our shadowy vales By guided rivulets or summer galesOur dew and air have been Love's balmy tears and sighs!
ON THE HEBE OF CANOVA.
"Dove per te, celeste ancilla, or vassi?"
WHITHER, celestial maid, so fast away?
What lures thee from the banquet of the skies? How canst thou leave thy native realms of day For this low sphere, this vale of clouds and sighs? O thou, Canova! soaring high above
Italian art-with Grecian magic vying! We knew thy marble glow'd with life and love,
But who had seen thee image footsteps flying?
Here to each eye the wind seems gently playing With the light vest, its wavy folds arraying
In many a line of undulating grace; While Nature, ne'er her mighty laws suspending, Stands, before marble thus with motion blending, One moment lost in thought, its hidden cause to trace.
[A volume of translations published in 1818, might have been called by anticipation, Lays of many Lands." At the time now alluded to, her inspirations were chiefly derived from classical subjects. The "graceful superstitions" of Greece, and the sublime patriotism of Rome, held an influence over her thoughts which is evinced by many of the works of this period-such as "The Restoration of the Works of Art to Italy," "Modern Greece," and several of the poems which formed the volume entitled "Tales and Historic Scenes."
"Apart from all intercourse," says Delta, "with literary society, and acquainted only by name and occasional correspondence with any of the distinguished authors of whom England has to boast, Mrs Hemans, during the progress of her poetical career, had to contend with more and greater obstacles than usually stand in the path of female authorship. To her praise be it spoken, therefore, that it was to her own merit alone, wholly independent of adventitious circumstances, that she was indebted for the extensive share of popuFrom larity which her compositions ultimately obtained. this studious seclusion were given forth the two poems which first permanently elevated her among the writers of her age, -the Restoration of the Works of Art to Italy,' and 'Modern Greece.' In these the maturity of her intellect appears; and she makes us feel, that she has marked out a path for herself through the regions of song. The versification is high-toned and musical, in accordance with the sentiment and subject; and in every page we have evidence, not only of taste and genius, but of careful elaboration and research. These efforts were favourably noticed by Lord Byron; and attracted the admiration of Shelley. Bishop Heber and other judicious and intelligent counsellors cheered her on by their approbation: the reputation which, through years of silent study and exertion, she had, no doubt, sometimes with brightened and sometimes with doubtful hopes, looked forward to as a sufficient great reward, was at length unequivocally and unreluctantly accorded her by the world; and, probably, this was the happiest period of her life. Translations from Camoens; the prize poem of Wallace, as also that of Dartmoor, the Tales and Historic Scenes, and the Sceptic, may all be referred to this epoch of her literary career."-Biographical Sketch, prefixed to Poetical Remains,
In reference to the same period of Mrs Hemans' career, the late acute and accomplished Miss Jewsbury (afterwards Mrs Fletcher) has the following judicious observations:
"At this stage of transition, her poetry was correct, classical, and highly polished; but it wanted warmth: it partook more of the nature of statuary than of painting. She fettered her mind with facts and authorities, and drew upon her memory when she might have relied upon her imagination. She was diffident of herself, and, to quote her own admission, 'loved to repose under the shadow of mighty names.'". Athenæum, Feb. 1831.]
Or to his loved, his distant land
On your light wings the exile bear, To feel once more his heart expand In his own genial mountain-air;
Hear the wild echoes well-known strains repeat, And bless each note, as heaven's own music sweet.
But oh! with fancy's brightest ray,
Blest dreams! the bard's repose illume; Bid forms of heaven around him play, And bowers of Eden bloom! And waft his spirit to its native skies Who finds no charm in life's realities.
No voice is on the air of night, Through folded leaves no murmurs creep, Nor star nor moonbeam's trembling light Falls on the placid brow of sleep. Descend, bright visions! from your airy bower: Dark, silent, solemn is your favourite hour.
1 Vide Annotation from Quarterly Review, p. 62.
GENERAL SIR E-D P-K—M.a
BRAVE spirit! mourn'd with fond regret, Lost in life's pride, in valour's noon, Oh, who could deem thy star should set So darkly and so soon!
Fatal, though bright, the fire of mind
The soldier's death hath been thy doom, The soldier's tear thy mead shall be; Yet, son of war! a prouder tomb
Might Fate have rear'd for thee.
Thou shouldst have died, O high-soul'd chief!
Noontide of fame! each tear-drop then Was worthy of a warrior's grave: When shall affection weep again
So proudly o'er the brave?
There, on the battle-fields of Spain, Midst Roncesvalles' mountain-scene, Or on Vitoria's blood-red plain,
Meet had thy deathbed been.
2 Major-general Sir Edward Pakenham, the gallant officer to whose memory these verses are dedicated, fell at the head of the British troops in the unfortunate attack on New Orleans, 8th January 1814. "Six thousand combatants on the British side," says Mr Alison, "were in the field: a slender force to attack double their number, intrenched to the teeth in works bristling with bayonets and loaded with heavy artillery."-History of Europe, vol. x. p. 743.
The death of Sir Edward is thus alluded to in the official account of General Keane, communicating the result of the action:-"The advancing columns were discernible from the enemy's line at more than two hundred yards' distance, when a destructive fire was instantly opened, not only from all parts of the enemy's line, but from the battery on the opposite side of the river. The gallant Pakenham, who, during his short but brilliant career, was always foremost in the path of glory and of danger, galloped forward to the front, to animate his men by his presence. He had reached the crest of the glacis, and was in the act of cheering his troops with his hat off, when he received two balls, one in the knee and another in the body. He fell into the arms of Major Macdougal, his aide-de-camp, and almost instantly expired."-Edinr. An. Regist. 1815, p. 356.