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While, as his flying fingers kissed the strings,
Love framed with Mirth a gay fantastic round,
(Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound,)
And he, amidst his frolic play,
As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings.
O Music ! sphere-descended maid,
Friend of Pleasure, Wisdom's aid !
Why, Goddess ! why, to us denied,
Layest thou thy ancient lyre aside ?
As in that loved Athenian bower,
You learned an all-commanding power,
Thy mimic soul, O nymph endeared !
Can well recall what then it heard ;
Where is thy native simple heart,
Devote to virtue, fancy, art?
Arise, as in that elder time,
Warm, energetic, chaste, sublime !
Thy wonders, in that god-like age,
Fill thy recording Sister's page,
'Tis said, and I believe the tale,
Thy humblest reed could more prevail,
Had more of strength, diviner rage,
Than all which charms this laggard age;
Even all at once together found,
Cecilia's mingled world of sound-
O bid our vain endeavours cease;
Revive the just designs of Greece;
Return in all thy simple state ;
Confirm the tales her sons relate!
THE CONVICT SHIP. Morn on the waters ! and purple and bright Bursts on the billows the flushing of light;
O'er the glad waves, like a child of the sun,
See the tall vessel goes gallantly on;
Full to the breeze she unbosoms her sail,
And her pennon streams onward, like hope, in the gale ;
The winds come around her, in murinur and song,
And the surges rejoice, as they bear her along.
See ! she looks up to the golden-edged clouds,
And the sailor sings gaily aloft in her shrouds :
Onward she glides, amid ripple and spray,
Over the waters, away and away!
Bright as the visions of youth ere they part,
Passing away, like a dream of the heart!
Who, as the beautiful pageant sweeps by,
Music around her, and sunshine on high-
Pauses to think, amid glitter and glow,
Oh! there be hearts that are breaking below!
Night on the waves !—and the moon is on high,
Hung like a gem on the brow of the sky,
Treading its depths in the power of her might,
And turning the clouds, as they pass her, to light !
Look to the waters !-asleep on their breast
Seems not the ship like an island of rest ?
Bright and alone on the shadowy main,
Like a beart-cherished home on some desolate plain!
Who—as she smiles in the silvery light,
Spreading her wings on the bosom of night,
Alone on the deep, as the moon in the sky,
A phantom of beauty—could deem with a sigh,
That so lovely a thing is the mansion of sin,
And souls that are smitten lie bursting within ?
Who-as he watches her silently gliding,
Remembers that wave after wave is dividing
Bosoms that sorrow and guilt could not sever,
Hearts that are parted and broken for ever?
Or dreams that he watches, afloat on the wave,
The death-bed of hope, or the young spirit's grave ?
'Tis thus with our life : while it
passes along, Like a vessel at sea, amid sunshine and song ! Gaily we glide, in the gaze of the world, With streamers afloat, and with canvass unfurled ; All gladness and glory, to wandering eyes, Yet chartered by sorrow, and freighted with sighs : Fading and false is the aspect it wears, As the smiles we put on, just to cover our tears ; And the withering thoughts that the world cannot know, Like heart-broken exiles lie burning below; Whilst the vessel drives on to that desolate shore, Where the dreams of our childhood are vanished and o'er.
MY BROTHER'S GRAVE.
Beneath the chancel's hallowed stone,
Exposed to every rustic tread,
To few, save rustic mourners, known,
My brother, is thy lowly bed.
Few words, upon thy rough stone graven,
Thy name-thy birth-thy youth declare-
Thy innocence—thy hopes of heaven,
In simplest phrase recorded there.
No 'scutcheons shine, no banners wave,
In mockery o'er my brother's grave!
The place is silent. Rarely sound
Is heard these ancient walls around,
Nor mirthful voice of friends that meet
Discoursing in the public street;
Nor hum of business dull and loud,
Nor murmur of the passing crowd,
Nor soldier's drum, nor trumpet's swell,
From neighbouring fort or citadel ;
No sound of human toil or strife,
In death's lone dwelling speaks of life,
Or breaks the silence still and deep
Where thou, beneath thy burial-stone,
Art laid in that unstartled sleep
The living eye hath never known.
The lonely sexton's footstep falls
In dismal echoes on the walls,
As, slowly pacing through the aisle,
He sweeps the unholy dust away,
And cobwebs, which must not defile
Those windows on the Sabbath-day;
And, passing through the central nave,
Treads lightly on my brother's grave.
But when the sweet-toned Sabbath-chime,
Pouring its music on the breeze,
Proclaims the well-known holy time
Of prayer, and thanks, and bended knees ; When rustic crowds devoutly meet,
And lips and hearts to God are given,
And souls enjoy oblivion sweet
Of earthly ills, in thoughts of heaven;
What voice of calm and solemn tone
Is heard above thy burial-stone ?
What form, in priestly meek array,
Beside the altar kneels to pray ?
What holy hands are lifted up,
To bless the sacramental cup ?
Full well I know that reverend form,
And if a voice could reach the dead,
Those tones would reach thee, though the worm,
My brother, makes thy heart his bed.
That sire, who thy existence gave,
Now stands beside thy lowly grave.
It is not long since thou wert wont
Within these sacred walls to kneel;
This altar, that baptismal font,
These stones, which now thy dust conceal,
The sweet tones of the Sabbath-bell,
Were holiest objects to thy soul; On these thy spirit loved to dwell,
Untainted by the world's control. My brother, those were happy days,
When thou and I were children yet! How fondly memory still surveys
Those scenes, the heart can ne'er forget! My soul was then, as thine is now,
Unstained by sin, unstung by pain;
Peace smiled on each unclouded brow-
Mine ne'er will be so calm again.
How blithely then we hailed the ray
Which ushered in the Sabbath-day!
How lightly then our footsteps trod
Yon pathway to the house of God !
For souls in which no dark offence,
Hath sullied childhood's innocence,
Best meet the pure and hallowed shrine,
Which guiltier bosoms own divine.
I feel not now as then I felt ;-
The sunshine of my heart is o'er ;
The spirit now is changed, which dwelt
Within me, in the days of yore.
But thou wert snatched, my brother, hence
In all thy guileless innocence;
One Sabbath saw thee bend the knee,
In reverential piety,
(For childish faults forgiveness crave,)
The next beamed brightly on thy grave.
The crowd, of which thou late wert one,
Now throngs across thy burial stone;
Rude footsteps trample on the spot,
Where thou liest mouldering—not forgot ;
And some few gentler bosoms weep
In silence o’er thy last long sleep.