Puslapio vaizdai

We shall set down in order the few particulars which the volume itself enables us to collect, of the friendship whose earthly interruption it deplores.

It was not of long life, nor had it its roots in Childhood. It was only of four years' duration, if we are not taking this elegy too literally.

"The path by which we twain did go,

Which led by tracts that pleased us well,
Thro' four sweet years arose and fell,
From flower to flower, from snow to snow:
And we with singing cheer'd the way,
And crown'd with all the season lent,
From April on to April went,
And glad at heart from May to May:

But where the path we walked began
To slant the fifth autumnal slope,
As we descended following Hope,
There sat the Shadow fear'd of man;
Who broke our fair companionship,

And spread his mantle dark and cold;
And wrapped thee formless in the fold,
And dull'd the murmur on thy lip;

And bore thee where I could not see,

Nor follow, tho' I walk in haste;

And think that somewhere in the waste,

The Shadow sits and waits for me."-P. 38.

But though thus short its intensity was not unnatural ; for it seems to have had its origin in the noblest springs of youthful faith, when two minds, enthusiastic, pure, and richly gifted, strengthen in each other the holy aspirations which no experiences of men, and no failures of virtue in themselves, have yet dishonoured. A friendship that began and had all its being in that golden light of life may well consecrate the heart for ever. Its birth could not have been very remote from the genial remembrances here recorded.

"I past beside the reverend walls

In which of old I wore the gown;

I roved at random through the town,
And saw the tumult of the halls;


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And heard once more in college fanes
The storm their high-built organs make,
And thunder-music, rolling, shake
The prophets blazon'd on the panes;

And caught once more the distant shout,
The measured pulse of racing oars
Among the willows; paced the shores
And many a bridge, and all about

The same gray flats again, and felt
The same, but not the same; and last
Up that long walk of limes I past
To see the rooms in which he dwelt.

Another name was on the door :

I linger'd; all within was noise

Of songs, and clapping hands, and boys
That crash'd the glass and beat the floor;

Where once we held debate, a band

Of youthful friends, on mind and art,
And labour, and the changing mart,
And all the framework of the land;

When one would aim an arrow fair,

But send it slackly from the string;
And one would pierce an outer ring,
And one an inner, here and there;

And last the master-bowman, he

Would cleave the mark. A willing ear
We lent him. Who, but hung to hear
The rapt oration flowing free

From point to point with power and grace,
And music in the bounds of law,

To those conclusions when we saw
The God within him light his face,

And seem to lift the form, and glow
In azure orbits heavenly-wise;

And over those ethereal eyes
The bar of Michael Angelo."-P. 127.

The friendship begun at College was made more dear

and intimate in the intercourses of a home in the country, when Arthur was the poet's guest.

"Witch-elms that counterchange the floor

Of this flat lawn with dusk and bright:
And thou, with all thy breadth and height
Of foliage, towering sycamore;

How often, hither wandering down,
My Arthur found your shadows fair,
And shook to all the liberal air

The dust and din and steam of town:

He brought an eye for all he saw;
He mixt in all our simple sports;

They pleased him, fresh from brawling courts
And dusky purlieus of the law.

O joy to him in this retreat,

Immantled in ambrosial dark,

To drink the cooler air, and mark

The landscape winking through the heat:

O sound to rout the brood of cares,
The sweep of scythe in morning dew,
The gust that round the garden flew,
And tumbled half the mellowing pears!

O bliss, when all in circle drawn

About him, heart and ear were fed
To hear him, as he lay and read
The Tuscan poets on the lawn:

Or in the all-golden afternoon

A guest, or happy sister, sung,

Or here she brought the harp and flung
A ballad to the brightening moon."

The "happy sister" was to have been the bond of their love. How beautifully this is told, and how lovely the vision of this life of related companionship!

"When I contemplate all alone,

The life that had been thine below,
And fix my thoughts on all the glow
To which thy crescent would have grown;

I see thee sitting crown'd with good,
A central warmth diffusing bliss

In glance and smile, and clasp and kiss,
On all the branches of thy blood;

Thy blood, my friend, and partly mine;
For now the day was drawing on,
When thou should'st link thy life with one
Of mine own house, and boys of thine

Had babbled Uncle' on my knee;
But that remorseless iron hour
Made cypress of her orange flower,
Despair of Hope, and earth of thee.

I seem to meet their least desire,

To clap their cheeks, to call them mine,
I see their unborn faces shine
Beside the never-lighted fire.

I see myself an honoured guest,
Thy partner in the flowery walk
Of letters, genial table-talk,
Of deep dispute, and graceful jest:

While now thy prosperous labour fills
The lips of men with honest praise,
And sun by sun the happy days
Descend below the golden hills

With promise of a morn as fair;

And all the train of bounteous hours
Conduct by paths of growing powers,
To reverence and the silver hair:

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The poet refuses to give any description of his lost friend; partly from the hopeless difficulty of conveying in words the impressions produced by personal power and converse; and partly in natural shrinking from that coldness of the world "which credits what is done," but has

little care for unfulfilled promise, though it was Death that broke the earthly performance which is going on somewhere else. But he is not always able to retain this distrustful silence. We give one of several attempts to communicate the peculiar presence of his friend :

"Heart-affluence in discursive talk

From household fountains never dry;
The critic clearness of an eye,
That saw thro' all the Muses' walk;

Seraphic intellect and force

To seize and throw the doubts of man;
Impassion❜d logic which outran

The hearer in its fiery course;

High nature amorous of the good,
But touch'd with no ascetic gloom;
And passion pure in snowy bloom
Thro' all the years of April blood;

A love of freedom rarely felt,

Of freedom in her regal seat

Of England, not the schoolboy heat,
The blind hysterics of the Celt;

And manhood fused with female grace
In such a sort, the child would twine
A trustful hand, unasked, in thine
And find his comfort in thy face;

All these have been, and thee mine eyes

Have look'd on: if they look'd in vain

My shame is greater who remain,

Nor let thy wisdom make me wise.”—P. 168.

Some of the most touching poems in the volume, for all have had the experience that inspired them, are those which celebrate the return of anniversaries after the death of one with whom all their joy and all their hope had been interwoven. We have the records of at least three Christmas days, and they mark the spiritual stages of grief. The first is but a patient, all enduring concession to custom: the holy emblems do not yet sway the

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