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The Pleasures of Memory.
IN TWO PARTS.
ou could my mind, unfolded in my page,
regularity. They are sometimes excited by sensiblo Enlighten climes and mould a future age; objects, and sometimes by an internal operation of tho There as it glow'd, with noblest frenzy fraught, mind. Of the former species is most probably the memDispense the treasures of exalted thought;
ory of brutes; and its many sources of pleasure to them, To Virtue wake the pulses of the heart,
as well as to us, are considered in the first part. The And bid the tear of emulation start!
latter is the most perfect degree of memory, and forms Oh could it still, through each succeeding year, the subject of the second. My life, my manners, and my name endear;
When ideas have any relation whatever, they are atAnd, when the poet sleeps in silent dust,
tractive of each other in the mind; and the perception Sill hold communion with the wise and just ! of any object naturally leads to the idea of another, Yet should this Verse, my leisure's best resource, which was connected with it either in time or place, or When through the world it steals its secret course, which can be compared or contrasted with it. Hence Revive but once a generous wish supprest,
arises our attachment to inanimate objects; hence also, Chase but a sigh, or charm a care to rest ;
in some degree, the love of our country, and the emoIn one good deed a fleeting hour employ,
tion with which we contemplate the celebrated scenes Or flush one faded cheek with honest joy ;
of antiquity. Hence a picture directs our thoughts to Blest were my lines, though limited their sphere, the original: and, as cold and darkness suggest forcibly Though short their date, as his who traced them here. the ideas of heat and light, he, who feels the infirmities
1793. of age, dwells most on whatever reminds him of the
vigor and vivacity of his youth.
The associating principle, as here employed, is no less PART I.
conducive to virtue than to happiness; and, as such,
it frequently discovers itself in the most tumultuous Dolce sentier,
scenes of life. It addresses our finer feelings, and gives Colle, che mi piacesti,
exercise to every mild and generous propensity. Ov' ancor per usanza Amor mi mena; Ben riconosco in voi l' usate forme,
Not confined to man, it extends through all animateri Non, lasso, in me.
nature ; and its effects are peculiarly striking in the Petrarch.
Twilight's soft dews steal o'er the village-green, The Poem begins with the description of an obscure With magic tints to harmonize the scene : village, and of the pleasing melancholy which itexcites Still’d is the hum that through the hamlet broke, on being revisited after a long absence. This mixed When round the ruins of their ancient oak sensation is an effect of the memory. From an effect The peasants flock'd to hear the minstrel play, we naturally ascend to the cause; and the subject And games and carols closed the busy day. proposed is then unfolded, with an investigation of Her wheel at rest, the matron thrills no more the nature and leading principles of this faculty. With treasured tales, and legendary lore.
It is evident that our ideas flow in continual succes. All, all are fled; nor mirili nor music flows sion, and introduce each other with a certain degree of To chase the dreams of innocent repose.
All, all are fled; yet still I linger bere!
Soar'd in the swing, half pleased and half afraid, What secret charms this silent spot endear? Through sister elms that waved their summer shade , Mark
yon old Mansion frowning through the trees, Or strew'd with crumbs yon root-inwoven seat, Whose hollow turret wooes the whistling breeze. To lure the red-breast from his lone retreat! That casement, arch'd with ivy's brownest sbade, Childhood's loved group revisits every scene, First to these eyes the light of heaven convey'd. The tangled wood-walk, and the tufted green! The mouldering gateway strews the grass-grown Indulgent MEMORY wakes, and lo, they live! court,
Clothed with far softer hues than Light can give Once the calm scene of many a simple sport, Thou first, best friend that Heaven assigns below When nature pleased, for life itself was new, To soothe and sweeten all the cares we know; And the heart promised what the fancy drew. Whose glad suggestionis still each vain alarm,
See, through the fractured pediment reveal'd, When nature fades, and life forgets to charm; Where moss inlays the rudely-sculptured shield, Thee would the Muse invoke !-to thee belong The martin's old hereditary nest :
The sage's precept, and the poet's song. Long may the ruin spare its hallow'd guest! What soften d views thy magic glass reveals,
As jars the hinge, what sullen echoes call ! When o'er the landscape Time's meek twilight steals Oh hasie, unfold the hospitable hall!
As when in ocean sinks the orb of day, That hall, where once, in antiquated state, Long on the wave reflected lustres play ; The chair of justice held the grave debate. Thy temper'd gleams of happiness resign'd
Now staind with dews, with cobwebs darkly hung, Glance on the darken'd mirror of the mind. Oft has its roof with peals of rapture rung;
The School's lone porch, with reverend mosses grey When round yon ample board, in due degree, Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay. We sweeten'd every meal with social glee. Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn, The beart's light laugh pursued the circling jest ; Quickening my truant feet across the lawn : And all was sunshine in each litile breast. Unheard the shout that rent the noontide air, 'Twas here we chased the slipper by the sound; When the slow dial gave a pause to care. And turn'd the blindfold hero round and round. Up springs, at every step, to claim a tear, (1) 'Twas here, at eve, we form'd our fairy ring ; Some little friendship form'd and cherish'd here, And fancy flutter'd on her wildest wing.
And not the lightest leaf, but trembling teems Giants and genii chain'd each wondering ear; With golden visions, and romantic dreams! And orphan-sorrows drew the ready tear.
Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blazed Oft with the babes we wander'd in the wood, The Gipsey's fagot—there we stood and gazed ; Or view'd the forest-feats of Robin Hood : Gazed on her sun-burnt face with silent awe, Oft, fancy-led, at midnight's fearful hour,
Her tatter'd mantle, and her hood of straw; With startling step we scaled the lonely tower; Her moving lips, her caldron brimming o'er; O'er infant innocence to hang and weep,
The drowsy brood that on her back she bore, Murder'd by ruffian hands, when smiling in its sleep. Imps in the barn with mousing owlet bred,
Ye Household Deities! whose guardian eye From rilled roost at nightly revel fed ; (shade, Mark'd each pure thought, ere register'd on high; Whose dark eyes flash'd through locks of blackest Still, still ye walk the consecrated ground, When in the breeze the distant watch-dog bay'd :And breathe the soul of Inspiration round. And heroes fled the Sibyl's muuter'd call, As o'er the dusky furniture I bend,
Whose ellin prowess scaled the orchard-wall. Each chair awakes the feelings of a friend. As o'er my palm the silver piece she drew, The storied arras, source of fond delight, And traced the line of life with searching view, With old achievement charms the wilder'd sight; How throbb’d my fluttering pulse with hopes and And still, with Heraldry's rich hues imprest,
fears, On the dim window glows the pictured crest. To learn the color of my future years! The screen unfolds its many-color'd chart;
Ah, then, what honest triumph flush'd my breast; The clock still points its moral to the heart; This truth once known—To bless is to be blest! That faithful monitor 't was heaven to hear, We led the bending beggar on his way, When soft it spoke a promised pleasure near. |(Bare were his feet, his tresses silver-grey) And has its suber hand, its simple chime, Soothed the keen pangs his aged spirit felt, Forgot to trace the feather'd feet of Time ? And on his tale with mute attention dwelt. That massive beam, with curious carvings wrought, As in his scrip we dropt our little store, Whence the caged linnet soothed my pensive thought; And sigh'd to think that little was no more, [live!" Those muskets, cased with venerable rust; [dust, He breathed his prayer, “ Long may such goodness Those once-loved forms, still breathing thro' their 'Twas all he gave, 'ıwas all he had to give. Still, from the frame in mould gigantic cast,
But hark! through those old tirs, with sullen swell, Starting to life--all whisper of the Past !
The church-clock strikes! ye tenderscenes, farewell As through the garden's desert paths I rove, It calls me hence, beneath their shade, to trace What fond illusions swarm in every grove! The few fond lines that Time may soon efface. How oft, when purple evening tinged the west, On yon grey stone, that fronts the chancel-door We watch'd the emmet to her grainy nest; Worn smooth by busy feet now seen no more, Welcomed the wild-bee home on weary wing, Each eve we shot the marble through the ring, Laden with sweets, the choicest of the spring! When the heart danced, and life was in its spring, How oft inscribed, with Friendship's votive rhyme, Alas! unconscious of the kindred earth, The bark now silver'd by the touch of Time; That saintly echo'd to the voice of mirth.
The glow-worm loves her emerald light to shed, Long o'er the wave a wistful look he cast, Where now the sexton rests his hoary head. Long watch'd the streaming signal from the mast; Oft, as he turn'd the greensward with his spade, Till twilight's dewy tints deceived his eye, He lectured every youth that round him play'd; And fairy-forests fringed the evening sky. And, calmly pointing where our fathers lay,
So Scotia's Queen, (5) as slowly dawn'd the day, Roused us to rival each, the hero of his day. Rose on her couch, and gazed her soul away.
Hush, ye fond flutterings, hush! while here alone Her eyes had bless'd the beacon's glimmering height, I search the records of each mouldering stone. That faintly tipt the feathery surge with light; Guides of my life! instructors of my youth! But now the morn with orient hues portray'd Who first unveil'd the hallow'd form of Truth; Each castled cliff, and brown monastic shade : Whose every word enlighten’d and endear'd; All touch'd the talisman's resistless spring, In age beloved, in poverty revered ;
And lo, what busy tribes were instant on the wing In Friendship's silent register ye live,
Thus kindred objects kindred thoughts inspire, (6) Nor ask the vain memorial Art can give.
As summer-clouds flash forth electric fire. -But when the sons of peace, of pleasure sleep, And hence this spot gives back the joys of youth, When only Sorrow wakes, and wakes to weep, Warm as the life, and with the mirror's truth. What spells entrance my visionary mind
Hence home-felt pleasure (7) prompts the Patriot's With sighs so sweet, with transports so refined !
sigh; Ethereal Power! who at the noon of night This makes him wish to live, and dare to die. Recall'st the far-fied spirit of delight;
For this young Foscari, (8) whose hapless fate From whom that musing, melancholy mood
Venice should blush to hear the Muse relate,
When reason, justice, vainly urged his cause,
Glad to return, though Hope could grant no more,
Aërial forms in Tempe's classic vale Each, as the various avenues of sense
Glance through the gloom, and whisper in the gale; Delight or sorrow to the soul dispense,
In wild Vaucluse with love and Laura dwell, Brightens or fades; yet all, with magic art, And watch and weep in Eloisa's cell. (10) Control the latent fibres of the heart.
"T was ever thus. As now at Virgil's tomb (11) As studious Prospero's mysterious spell
We bless the shade, and bid the verdure bloom : Drew every subject-spirit to his cell;
So Tully paused, amid the wrecks of Time, (12. Each, at thy call, advances or retires,
On the rude stone to trace the truth sublime; As judgment dictales, or the scene inspires.
When at his feet, in honor'd dust disclosed, Each thrilis the seat of sense, that sacred source The immortal Sage of Syracuse reposed. Whence the fine nervcs direct their mazy course, And as he long in sweet delusion hung, And through the frame invisibly convey
Where once a Plato taught, a Pindar sung; The subtle, quick vibrations as they play.
Who now but meets him musing, when he roves Survey the globe, each ruder realm explore ; His ruin'd Tusculan's romantic groves? From Reason's faintest ray to NEWTON soar. In Rome's great forum, who but hears him roll What different spheres to human bliss assign'd! His moral thunders o'er the subject soul ? What slow gradations in the scale of mind!
And hence that calm delight the portrait gives : Yet mark in each these mystic wonders wrought; We gaze on every feature till it lives! Oh mark the sleepless energies of thought! Still the fond lover sees the absent maid ;
The adventurous boy, that asks his little share, And the lost friend still lingers in his shade! And hies from home with many a gossip’s prayer, Say why the pensive widow loves to weep, (13) Turns on the neighboring hill, once more to see When on her knee she rocks her babe to sleep: The dear abode of peace and privacy ;
Tremblingly still, she lists his veil to trace And as he turns, the thatch among the trees, The father's features in his infant face. The smoke's blue wreaths ascending with the breeze, The hoary grandsire smiles the hour away, The village-common spotted white with sheep, Won by the raptures of a game at play ; The church-yard yews round which his fathers He bends to meet each artless burst of joy, sleep; (3)
Forgets his age, and acts again the boy.
What though the iron school of War erase
What though the fiend's torpedo-touch arrest
Melts at the long-lost scenes that round him rise, Want with her babes round generous Valor clung,
To wring the slow surrender from his tongue,
the sky. Sought the lone limits of a forest-shed.
Hark! the bee (21) winds her small but mellow When Diocletian's self-corrected mind (17)
horn, The imperial fasces of a world resign’d,
Blithe to salute the sunny smile of morn. Say why we trace the labors of his spade,
O'er thymy downs she bends her busy course,
And many a stream allures her to its source.
Its orb so full, its vision so confined !
Undamp'd by time, the generous Instinct glows With conscious truth retrace the mazy clue
Of varied scenis, that charm'd her as she flew ?
Guards the least link of Being's glorious chain.
Delle cose custode, e dispensiera.
The Memory has hitherto acted only in subservi
the prospects of life: for “we can only anticipate the
Faney, who with the boldest effort can only com-
When the first emotions of despair have subsided,
that noble confidence which results from the conscious. With that mute eloquence which passes speech.- ness of having acted well. When sleep has suspended And see, the master but returns to die!
the organs of sense from their oflice, she not only supYet who shall bid the watchful servant fly! plies the mind with images, but assists in their combi. The blasts of heaven, the drenching dews of earth, nation. And even in madness itself, when the soul is The wanton insults of unfeeling mirth,
resigned over to the tyranny of a distempered imagiThese, when to guard Misfortune's sacred grave, nation, she revives past perceptions, and awakens that Will firm Fidelity exult to brave.
train of thought which was formerly most familiar. Led by what chart, transports the timid dove Nor are we pleased only with a review of the The wreaths of conquest, or the vows of love? brighter passages of life. Events, the most distressing Say, through the clouds what compass points her flight? in their immediate consequences, are often cherished Monarchs have gazed, and nations bless'd the sight. in remembrance with a degree of enthusiasm. Pile rocks on rocks, bid woods and mountains rise, But the world and its occupations give a mechanical Eclipse her native shades, her native skies :- impulse to the passions, which is not very favorable 'Tis vain! through Ether's pathless wilds she goes, to the indulgence of this feeling. It is in a calm and And lights at last where all her cares repose. well-regulated mind that the Memory is most perfect; Sweet bird! thy truth shall Haarlem's walls at- and solitude is her best sphere of action. With this test, (20)
sentiment is introduced a Tale illustrative of her inAnd unborn ages consecrate thy nest.
fluence in solitude, sickness, and sorrow. And the subWhen, with the silent energy of grief,
ject having now been considered, so far as it relates 13 With looks that ask'd, yet dared not hope relief, man and the animal world, the Poem concludes with