Puslapio vaizdai
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"Lo! as a dove, when up she springs

To bear through Heaven a tale of woe,

Some dolorous message knit below
The wild pulsation of her wings;
Like her I go : I cannot stay;

I leave this mortal ark behind,

A weight of nerves without a mind,
And leave the cliffs and haste away
O'er ocean mirrors rounded large,

And reach the glow of southern skies,

And see the sails at distance rise,
And linger weeping on the marge,
And saying: 'Comes he thus, my friend?

Is this the end of all my care?
And circle moaning in the air :
Is this the end ? Is this the end ?'
And forward dart again, and play

About the prow, and back return

To where the body sits, and learn,

That I have been an hour away.”
Whilst this melancholy ship is on her voyage the poet's
thoughts are with her on her track. But there seems to
us some unreality in the "fancies which aver," whether
the day is calm or stormy,

“ That all thy motions gently pass
Athwart a plane of molten glass.”

The pathos of this picture of the calm day, the calm sea, and the calm dead, cannot be exceeded. How wonderfully is the stillness, and the very air and feeling of an autumn morning, made present to us by the image of the falling chesnut i

“ Calm is the morn without a sound,

Calm as to suit a calmer grief,
And only through the faded leaf
The chesnut pattering to the ground:
Calm and deep peace on this high wold,

And on these dews that drench the furze,

And all the silvery gossamers
That twinkle into green and gold :

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Calm and still light on yon great plain

That sweeps with all its autumn bowers,

And crowded farms and lessening towers,
To mingle with the bounding main :
Calm and deep peace in this wide air,

These leaves that redden to the fall;

And in my heart, if calm at all,
If any calm, a calm despair :

Calm on the seas, and silver sleep,

And waves that sway themselves in rest,

And dead calm in that noble breast
Which heaves but with the heaving deep.”—P. 17.

There are many confessions throughout the volume that it is not the true expression of the poet's grief, but rather a mechanical attempt to relieve it, to deaden the bitterness of the heart-sorrow by calling in all the powers of the intellect, and even that skill which deals with the artificial structure of verse, to bear a part of the burden and take the strain off the affections. There are times when though faithful nature could not bear another task or another contemplation, it yet need not sit vacant and passive under the weight of woe, and the spirit can now exert itself on the calamity that before crushed it. Still we must confess that, even on this hypothesis, there is in this volume too much of the luxury of woe, too much of a fond and wilful dwelling on its circumstance, and too little of the holy and peaceable fruits to the heart that is exercised thereby. We have indeed the distinct statement that he writes not to utter his grief, but to divert the mind from the sense of pain.

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In words, like weeds, I'll wrap me o'er,

Like coarsest clothes against the cold ;

But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline, and no more.”—P.5.

In another place, he says that his spirit can find relief in words only when the tides of his grief are not full. This he illustrates by some exquisite imagery. His friend, it would appear, lies buried by the banks of the Wye, which murmurs past his grave; but it is silenced, like his more tranquil sorrow, when the waves of the mighty deep rush in and overwhelm it. Each audibly trickles again, , only when the swelling waters have subsided. For the full enjoyment of the poem we have only to remember that his friend died at Vienna.

" The Danube to the Severn gave

The darken'd heart that beat no more;

They laid him by the pleasant shore,
And in the hearing of the wave.

There twice a-day the Severn fills,

The salt sea-water passes by,

And hushes half the babbling Wye,
And makes a silence in the hills.

The Wye is hush'd nor moved along ;

And hush'd my deepest grief of all,

When filled with tears that cannot fall,
I brim with sorrow, drowning song.

The tide flows down, the wave again

Is vocal in its wooded walls :

My deeper anguish also falls,
And I can speak a little then.”—P. 32.

The same feeling is expressed under very different, but not less perfect, Imagery, in the next poem.

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Who speak their feeling as it is,

And weep the fulness from the mind :

It will be hard,' they say, 'to find
Another service such as this.'
My lighter moods are like to these,
That out of words a comfort win;

But there are other griefs within,
And tears that at their fountain freeze;
For by the hearth the children sit,

Cold in that atmosphere of Death,

And scarce endure to draw a breath,
Or like to noiseless phantoms flit:
But open converse is there none,

So much the vital spirits sink
To see the vacant chair, and think,
How good ! how kind ! and he is gone.'

1"-P. 34.

Sometimes indeed there seems a resoluteness in his mourning, a retention of it by the will.

“Still onward winds the dreary way;

I with it; for I long to prove

No lapse of moons can canker Love,
Whatever fickle tongues may say.”—P. 43.

But this is always accompanied by a protest, that these flying shades of the inner darkness must not be mistaken for the realities of the unspoken agony.

“If these brief lays, of Sorrow born,

Were taken to be such as closed

Grave doubts and answers here proposed,
Then these were such as men might scorn:
Her care is not to part and prove;

She takes, when harsher moods remit,

What slender shade of doubt may flit,
And makes it vassal unto love :
And hence, indeed, she sports with words ;

But better serves a wholesome law,

And holds it sin and shame to draw
The deepest measure from the chords :

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Nor dare she trust a larger lay,

But rather loosens from the lip,

Short swallow-flights of song, that dip

Their wings in tears, and skim away.”—P. 70. He is conscious that he will be upbraided for a selfish indulgence in the luxury of woe ;—and his defence is not of a very spiritual order; he must yield to the instincts of feeling, and obey nature like the birds. One plea he puts in, in mitigation of judgment on his abandonment to his mood, which it will be well to regard,—that only those should be his judges who have shared his experience and know his case.

“I sing to him who rests below,

And since the grasses round me wave,

I take the grasses of the grave,
And make them pipes whereon to blow.
The traveller hears me now and then,

And sometimes harshly will he speak;

• This fellow would make weakness weak, And melt the waxen hearts of men.' Another answers, 'Let him be,

He loves to make parade of pain,

That with his piping he may gain
The praise that comes to constancy.'
A third is wroth, 'Is this an hour

For private sorrow's barren song,

When more and more the people throng
The chairs and thrones of civil power ?
A time to sicken and to swoon,

When science reaches forth her arms

To feel from world to world, and charms
Her secret from the latest moon ?
Behold, ye speak an idle thing:

Ye never knew the sacred dust :

I do but sing because I must,
And pipe but as the linnets sing :
And unto one her note is gay,

For now her little ones have ranged;

And unto one her note is changed,
Because her brood is stolen away.”—P, 36.

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