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or the goldfinch,
“in bower of apple-blossoms perch’d.” Cowper might have heard
“the grazing ox
or the sea,
raking with harsh recoil the pebbly steep ;" this is one of the most speaking lines in poetry,--the sea rushes through it.
The Sabbath of Grahame may be united to the Village Curate of Hurdis; not so much from any resemblance in the treatment of the subject, as on account of the love of nature which animated them both. Grahame, though slightly known in England, has gained considerable popularity in Scotland. With
very little imagination, and no flashes of fancy, he attracts and detains attention by the reality of his rural sketches, the unaffectedness of his devotion, and the simple harmony of his style. His muse has the ruddy look of pastoral health. The opening lines of the Sabbath compose a delightful picture:
“ How still the mourning of the hallowed day!
Mute is the voice of rural labour, husha
With these exquisite touches of rural description are mingled allusions to things of far higher import. Like a greater poet, whom he frequently resembles, Grahame finds food for meditation in the humblest flower; and in his Sabbath Walks he is always ready to “moralize his song." How beautiful is the comparison of the shepherd keeping his helpless charge in the winter time
on the bleak hill's stormy side,
“ leads the heavenly flock
The streams of life, the Siloah of the soul.” His Biblical Pictures are less open to objection than any other paraphrases of Scripture we remember. The simple grandeur of the originals is generally preserved, and the illustrations occasionally introduced harmonize with the theme. Two specimens will be sufficient.
BEHOLD MY MOTHER AND MY BRETHREN.
“ Who is my mother, or my brethren?
He spake, and look’d on them who sat around
Shed o'er the land, and on the dewy sward
Drifted by storms into a mountain cave.” Thus far have we wandered through the burial ground of our poets, renewing, though with a feeble hand, the inscriptions
which time has defaced, and hanging the offering of our love upon their monuments, or binding a verdant bough upon their graves
. Many we have been compelled to pass by without the meed of - one melodious tear.” Among these is the Judah Restored, of Roberts, containing some admirable passages; and particularly the appearance of Gabriel to Daniel in the nightwhen he suddenly
“ heard a rushing noise,
· Bright as the summer noon
Shone all the earth." The procession of the Chaldeans to the temple of Belus, with the picture of Belshazzar, from whose
“ shoulders flows
Sweep o'er the marble pavement." And the tremendous writing upon the wall, which is described with considerable richness of diction. The monarch and his lords are rising to drain the wine cup to the honour of Bel
when all at once
Tracing strange characters." As our devious path brings us among the ashes of those upon whom the grass, if we may so speak, is still green, the difficulties of our task increase. The face of Kirke White, worn down with study and sickness, comes back upon our heart, as we think of what he might have accomplished in riper years. read the two stanzas which conclude the fragment of the CHRISTIAD, without feelings of anguish?
“ Thus far have I pursued my solemn theme;
With self-rewarding toil thus far have sung
The lyre which I in early days have strung ;
And now my spirits faint, and I have hung
On the dark cypress ; and the strings which rung
Or, when the breeze comes by, moan, and are heard no more, NO. I.
“ And must the harp of Judah sleep again?
Shall I no more reanimate the lay?
Thou who dost listen when the humble pray,
One little space prolong my mournful day!
I am a youthful traveller on the way,
Ere I with death shake hands, and smile that I am free." It must have been a melancholy spectacle to watch the declining fires of such a spirit as this. * We have a picture of the scene from an eye-witness :
“ For some weeks before the student was gathered to his rest, the slightest glance at the pallid and worn expression of his face would have sufficed to convince any one, that, without some prompt alteration of his pursuits, the days of the youthful scholar were numbered. He himself was perfectly conscious of his peril, and seemed every hour to detach" himself more and more from the bonds of the world, and to prepare for his journey into a far country: not a word of repining, not a murmur escaped his lips. He looked upon his past sufferings, his early struggles, and his present afflictions, as so many merciful indications of the love of his Heavenly Father. • At best,' he said to me one evening, our journey is a long, a rough, and dangerous road; but it should cheer us to remember, that every evening brings us nearer to our Father's house, which ever stands open to his prodigal and repentant children. The world is a harsh mistress, but consider how soon death fetches us home from school! Every new affliction is, to the sincere Christian, only another friendly blow upon the fetters which bind him to his earthly servitude. Oh happy hour! when the prison chamber shall brighten with the presence of the angelic messenger, and the chains shall fall from our feet, and the doors open before
In such a state of bodily debility the mind could not be expected to take a lofty flight. Yet the occasional gleams that broke in upon his sufferings served to cheer his spirit. Once, when a tranquil night had recruited his powers, he received me with the following verses from one who, like himself, was early transplanted to an immortal Garden :- +
“I bud again,
It cannot be
That I am he
* Conversations at Cambridge.
+ George Herbert.
These are thy wonders, Lord of love!
To make us see we are but flowers that glide,
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide.” Other names throng into the memory. Pollok, author of the Course of Time, like White, cut off in the morning of his days, and the lamented Heber, and many others not now to be recorded. The Course of Time, as the production of a very young man, gave promise of a golden summer; it is vigorous, sincere, and often sublime. Harsh expressions, unripe thoughts, and inharmonious versification, were to be expected. Though upon a very different subject, we trace a resemblance to the Pharsalia of Lucan,-composed, too, at about the same age, in the rhetorical fire and exaggeration of the style. Heber abandoned the lyre for nobler duties; but not before he had left upon our ears the melody of its strings, and in our hearts the beauty of its religion. Palestine is almost the only Prize Poem possessing a literary fame; as a specimen of adaptations from preceding writers, connected with wonderful artistical skill, it is a surprising production for so youthful a writer. The taste is perfect. Some of his Hymns are delightfully simple, fervent, and poetical, reflecting the gentleness, the fancy, and the piety of the author. Nor let us pass over unhonoured another name dear to poetry,-Felicia Hemans --whose virtues are so attractively displayed in the Memorials of Mr. Chorley. Her genius is not to be estimated by the forced fruits which the necessities of the day obliged it to put forth. Had she been able to turn that “inward eye which is the bliss of solitude" upon some great and absorbing theme, she would, without doubt, have left a monument behind her. For pomp and melody of language, and a certain dreamy grandeur of sentiment, no modern writer has excelled her. Leigh Hunt said, in his own way, that she stirred her tea with a sceptre; you felt, indeed, that the song was often pitched in too high a key; that the pearls were showered with too liberal a hand. In religious poetry, of which she has bequeathed to us so many beautiful specimens, the solemn music of her lyre was heard in its full power. Take, for example, the Better Land, which, in despite of its floridness, is a touching composition,—but painted up to the Exhibition splendour.
THE BETTER LAND.
Not there, not there, my child.