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Deserves the name (this truth the billows preach) Whose everlasting laws, sea, earth, and heaven, obey."
This just reproof the prosperous Dane Drew, from the influx of the main, For some whose rugged northern mouths would strain At oriental flattery; And Canute (fact more worthy to be known) From that time forth did for his brows disown The ostentatious symbol of a crown; Esteeming earthly royalty Contemptible as vain.
Now hear what one of elder days, Rich theme of England's fondest praise, Her darling Alfred, might have spoken; To cheer the remnant of his host When he was driven from coast to coast, Distressed and harassed, but with mind unbroken:
“My faithful followers, lo! the tide is spent
repose that sage and hero find;
[The complaint in my eyes which gave occasion to this address to
my daughter first showed itself as a consequence of inflammation, caught at the top of Kirkstone, when I was over-heated by having carried up the ascent my eldest son, a lusty infant. Frequently has the disease recurred since, leaving my eyes in a state which has often prevented my reading for months, and makes me at this day incapable of bearing without injury any strong light by day or night. My acquaintance with books has therefore been far short of my wishes; and on this account, to acknowledge the services daily and hourly done me by my family and friends, this note is written.]
' A LITTLE onward lend thy guiding hand To these dark steps, a little further on !'
- What trick of memory to my voice hath brought This mournful iteration ? For though Time, The Conqueror, crowns the Conquered, on this brow Planting his favourite silver diadem, Nor he, nor minister of his—intent To run before him-hath enrolled me yet, Though not unmenaced, among those who lean Upon a living staff, with borrowed sight. -O my own Dora, my beloved child ! Should that day come—but hark! the birds salute The cheerful dawn, brightening for me the east; For me, thy natural leader, once again Impatient to conduct thee, not as erst A tottering infant, with compliant stoop From flower to flower supported; but to curb Thy nymph-like step swift-bounding o'er the lawn,
Along the loose rocks, or the slippery verge
And yet more gladly thee would I conduct
Now also shall the page of classic lore,
Again unfolded, passage clear shall yield
ODE TO LYCORIS.
[The discerning reader—who is aware that in the poem of Ellen
Irwin I was desirous of throwing the reader at once out of the old ballad, so as if possible, to preclude a comparison between that mode of dealing with the subject and the mode I meant to adopt—may here perhaps perceive that this poem originated in the four last lines of the first stanza. Those specks of snow, reflected in the lake and so transferred, as it were, to the subaqueous sky, reminded me of the swans which the fancy of the ancient classic poets yoked to the car of Venus. Hence the tenor of the whole first- stanza, and the name of Lycoris, which-with some readers who think my theology and classical allusion too far-fetched and therefore more or less unnatural and affected—will tend to unrealise the sentiment that pervades these verses. But surely one who has written so much in verse as I have done may be allowed to retrace his steps in the regions of fancy which delighted him in his boyhood, when he first became acquainted with the Greek and Roman Poets. Before I read Virgil I was so strongly attached to Ovid, whose Metamorphoses I read at school, that I was quite in a passion whenever I found him, in books of criticism, placed below Virgil. As to Homer, I was never weary of travelling over the scenes through which he led me. Classical literature affected me by its own beauty. But the truths of scripture having been entrusted to the dead languages, and these fountains having been recently laid open at the Reformation, an importance and a sanctity were at that period attached to classical literature that extended, as is obvious in Milton's Lycidas for example, both to its spirit and form in a degree that can never be revived. No doubt the backnied and lifeless use into which mythology fell towards the close of the 17th century, and which continued through the 18th, disgusted the general reader with all allasion to it in modern verse ; and though, in deference to this disgust, and also in a measure participating in it, I abstained in my earlier writings from all introduction of pagan fable, surely, even in its humble form, it may ally itself with real sentiment, as I can truly affirm it did in the present case.]
hath been when Earth was proud
se swan-like specks of mountain snow, White as the pair that slid along the plains Of heaven, when Venus held the reins !
In youth we love the darksome lawn