Page images


We cannot pretend to follow our Author through the whole of his needle-work exhibition of nymphs. There are some passages which are very pleasing, and the poem exhibits throughout the characteristics of indisputable talent. following bears all the marks of a design for a drawing: it contains tolerably good directions for an artist, but there is no appeal to the fancy.


'There's a whole bevy, there in that recess

Rounding from the main stream: some sleep, some dress
Each other's locks, some swim about, some sit
Parting their own moist hair, or fingering it
Lightly, to let the curling air go through:
Some make them green and lilied coronets new;
And one there from her tender instep shakes
The matted sedge; a second, as she swims,
Looks round with pride upon ber easy limbs;
A third, just holding by a bough, lets float
Her slumberous body like an anchored boat,
Looking with level eye at the glib flakes
And the strange crooked quivering which it makes,
Seen through the weltering of the watery glass:
Others, (which make the rest look at them) pass,
Nodding and smiling, in the middle tide,
And luring swans on, which like fondled things
Eye poutingly their hands; yet following, glide
With unsuperfluous lift of their proud wings.'

The song of the Nepheliads,' is the prettiest thing in the poem: it has more of the lyric spirit as well as measure, and is upou the whole less disfigured by affectation.


Ho! we are the nepheliads, we

Who bring the clouds from the great sea,
And have within our happy care
All the love 'twixt earth and air.
We it is with soft new showers
Wash the eyes of the young flowers;
And with many a silvery comer
In the sky, delight the summer;
And our bubbling freshness bringing
Set the thirsty brooks a singing,
'Till they run for joy, and turn
Every mill-wheel down the burn.
• Sometimes on the shelves of mountains
Do we rest our burly fountains;
Sometimes for a rainbow run
Right before the laughing sun;
And if we slip down to earth
With the rain for change of mirth,
Worn-out winds and pattering leaves
Are what we love; and dripping eaves

Dotting on the sleepy stone;
And a leafy nook and lone,
Where the bark on the small treen
Is with moisture always green ;
And lime-tree bowers, and grass-edged lanes
With little ponds that hold the rains,
Where the nice-eyed wagtails glance,
Sipping 'twixt their jerking dance.

But at night in heaven we sleep,
Halting our scattered clouds like sheep;
Or are passed with sovereign eye
By the moon who rideth by
With her side-long face serene
Like a most benignant queen.

Then on the lofty-striking state
Of the up-coming Sun we wait,
Shewing to the world yet dim
The colours that we catch from him,
Ere he reaches to his height,
And lets abroad his leaping light.
And then we part on either hand
For the day; but take our stand
Again with him at eventide,
When we stretch on either side
Our lengthened heaps, and split in shows
Of sharp-drawn isles in sable rows,

With some more faint, or flowery red;
And some, like bands of hair that spread
Across a brow with parted tress
In a crisp auburn waviness;
And mellow fervency between
Of fiery orange, gold, and green,
And inward pulpiness intense,
As if great Nature's affluence
Had opened it's rich heart, and there
The ripeness of the world was bare.
And lastly, after that blest pause,
The Sun, down-stepping, half withdraws
His head from heaven; and then do we
Break the mute pomp and ardently
Sing him in glory to the sea.'

The Epistles to dear Byron, dear Tom Moore, dear Hazlitt, and others, were worth printing, just to let people see who were the poet's correspondents. Mr. Hunt's attempts at playfulness are not graceful. His ethics and philosophy, which are of course freely dealt out in these familiar effusions, are those of The Round Table. There is a great deal about 'Hampstead's ' whole merits,' but the worst is, we never get out of the reach of the smoke. A most distressing cockneyism pervades Mr.

Hunt's ideas of the beautiful in scenery, which, in the sonnet. to Horatio Smith, is indeed more than half-avowed. Vulgar, he says, is


• He who goes

By suburb gardens which she (nature) deigns to dress,
And does not recognise her green caress
Reaching back to us in those genial shows
Of box-encircled flowers and poplar rows,
Or other nests for evening weariness.
Then come the squares !!'

And he might have added, the Tea-Gardens, with the original of some of his fair-limbed nymphs' and deities, in marble, wood, and lead.


Of the Translations we shall say little, because we can say little that is favourable. They will not give satisfaction to those who are acquainted with the originals; they will not interest those who are not. They are disfigured by Mr. Hunt's usual faults of style, with here and there a touch of more than ordinary vulgarity. For the insertion of one of them, he intimates a sort of apology, and our readers may guess what description of poem it must be, for which Mr. Hunt thinks it advisable to say, he needs not apologize;' adding, that while he abominates grossness, he thinks that voluptuousness, in the proper 6 sense, is rather an ill-used personage.'

[ocr errors]

Although Mr. Hunt has produced a volume not quite to our taste, nor worthy of his own talents, we have to acknowledge that his poetry has at least administered to our cheerfulness. We hope he will forgive us, if he condescends to read them, the freedom of our strictures; for whatever he may think of us, we are, not less than Sir John Edward Swinburne, Baronet,' very fond of a bust over our 'organ' or book-case, as well as of flowers at the end of our room.'A love of nature out of 'doors, and of sociality within,' is a disposition we agree with Mr. H. in endeavouring sedulously to cultivate, and we sincerely wish him as much enjoyment arising from these sources, as may consist with that morbid temperament which displays itself in his restless egotism, and his habits of invective against a religion which, while he hates it, he cannot quite disbelieve.


Art. XI. 1. A Report of the Miseries of the Off-Islands of Scilly. pp. 41.

2. Hints on a Plan for the Permanent Support of the Scilly Islanders. Extracted from a Report of the Miseries off the Islands of Scilly, Pp. 16.

WE gladly lend our best assistance in giving the utmost publicity to these distressing statements, although we can do little more than lay before our readers a few extracts from

the Report which has been sent us, of which some account has already been given in the newspapers. It seems that accounts of the extremities of sufferings to which the inhabitants living on the islands of Scilly were reduced, had frequently reached Peazance. 'Some particulars,' it is said, ' appeared so shock'ing, as almost to excite suspicion of the whole account;' but at length instigated by repeated applications from the inhabitants, some benevolent individuals resolved on visiting the Islands, for the purpose of ascertaining their correctness, and of founding on the result of their inquiries, an appeal to the commiseration and benevolence of the public. Although at St. Mary's, they heard enough to prepare their minds for the most heart

rending tales,' the real state of many of the families on the Off-islands, in respect to food, clothes, and means of relief, was such as to exceed all that they could previously have realised. 'It is not sufficient,' the Report states, to say it was shocking; ' rather, it was truly horrible, to hear their cries and feel our'selves incapable (save with a shilling or two) of alleviating 'their miseries.' And again: It is truly astonishing to hear 'the very extraordinary exertions that fathers and mothers

have made to get bread; and it is impossible to describe the desponding tone in which they announced the utter failure of 'their efforts.' One only wonders by what strange tenacity of instinct or habit, the tenants of such dreary rocks cling to them as their country, in preference to any other spot on which they could but starve.


The means of subsistence in these islands, would seem to be at the best both scanty and uncertain in the extreme.

The land is divided into small portions, and those who have land, endeavour to raise a little corn, and a small crop of potatoes, which, with great care, will last them six months in the year, or more; but the soil is so sandy, and the spray of the salt water is so constantly going over it in the winter, and is subject to so many casualties, as too much rain or heat, that nothing can be more precarious. The possession of a boat in a family, is also of consequence, as they can occasionally take a little fish, or get a vessel to pilot. Some of the boats have been seized, and many have been wrecked, while others are too old, so that numerous families have now no boats. To be destitute of land, therefore, and a boat, places a family in the most deplorable state, as they have then scarcely any one means of employment or support.

It has often been said, Have they not plenty of fish around the Islands? We have already observed, few have boats :-In addition to this, we found that fish can only be obtained at certain seasons of the year, and when weather will admit. Mr. L. the collector of customs, assured us he had been four months without any fish on his table. It is very often extremely dangerous to be out fishing, as the undertow or revulsion of the sea, and frequently the general swell around the


rocks, is so violent, that many are lost. About two months since, a boat with four men perished by these means, who went out to fish near the Island of St. Agnes. Some have said, Why do not the inhabitants go to sea, when such wages are given in the merchant service? It ought to be considered though all the men are used to the sea, few are brought up to the duty of a merchant ship. In times of peace seamen are wanted, now the greater part of the men at Scilly are only accustomed to boats; they are useful for their own rocky shores ;-but in general would not be suitable to take the station of able seamen for foreign voyages; and as to the coasting trade, plenty of men are to be found along the shore for those ships that need them.

• It has been said by persons at a distance, could not the men of Scilly be employed in the mines of Cornwall? Independent of their unfitness for the work, it is sufficient to add, that hundreds of real miners are now out of employ in this county, and anxious to obtain bread by any kind of work.' pp. 8, 9.

During the winter, hundreds of ships are driven about the Scilly Islands, and exposed to the most imminent danger. The value of the pilots, who, in such cases, tempted by the prospect of remuneration, launch out in the worst of weather to their assistance, must be, as regards the commercial interests of our country, incalculable. Though almost all the men are pilots, the number of those who have a license from the Trinity house, by virtue of which their widows are allowed £10. per annum, is very small.

About four years since, four men perished, only one a licensed pilot:-Two years since, eight men were drowned; and last Christ-mas four others perished: all these were going out to vessels in distress, and left no provision for their families. Exertions were made for the above eight drowned near St. Mary's, and some money obtained for them; but with the greater part who are drowned their families are left unprovided, save what the neighbours in their Island, or the respectable families at St. Mary's, may contribute immediately on the first paroxysm of grief into which the family is thrown. It is very remarkable that such is the healthy state of the Islands, that there are but few men die natural deaths until old age. The greater part of the widows therefore, have lost their husbands by drowning. The distress produced in the families by the deaths of those poor men is most dreadful; with very few exceptions, the wife and children lose all their stay, and all their dependence for temporal support; and until the children grow up to work for bread, the family lead a wretched life. But now those children who have become able to work, have not work to do. The distress, therefore, of the widow at present is doubly aggravated.' p. 12,

What has, however, produced the extreme misery now described as general in the Islands, is the severity with which the preventive system' has been recently enforced. This has entirely destroyed the trade by barter, by which many obtained

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »