Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore.

'Tis the wind, and nothing more.'
Open here I fung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed be;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above muy cuanber-door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas, just above my chainber door-

Perched aud sut, aud nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decoruin of the countevance it wore,
Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, t. ou,' I said, 'art sure no craven.
Ghastly, grim, and ancient Raven, wandering from the nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the night's Platonian

shore !

Quoth the Raven: • Nevermore.'
Mach I marvelled this angainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning-little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber-door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber-door,

With such a name as • Nevermore.!.
But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour,
Nothing further then he uttered ; not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered : •Other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'

Then the bird said : • Never more.'
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
* Doubtless,' said I, . what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master, whoin unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster, till his songs one burdev bore-
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore.

Of “ Never-never more.”'
But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door ;
Theu upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking,
Fancy onto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore--
Wbai this grim, ungaiuly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore

Meant in croaking Never inore.'
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the launp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining, with the lamp-light gloating o'er,

She shall press, ah, never more!
Then, methonght, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim, wbose footfalls tinkled on the tufted foor.
Wretch! I cried, thy god hath lent thee-hy these angels he bath sent thee
Respite-respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore !
Quaff, 0 quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore !

Quoth the Raven : Never more!
Prophet !' said I, 'thing of evil!—prophet still if hird or devil !
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate, yet all andaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by horror hannted-lell me truly. I implore-
Is there-is there balın in Gilead 9-tell me-tell me. I implore!'

Quoth the Raven : Never more.

[ocr errors]

Prophet!' said I, 'thing of evil !-prophet still, if bird or devil !
By that heaveu that bends above us--by that God we bott: adore,
Tell this soul, with sorrow laden, if within the dietant Aiden,
It shall clasp a suinted maiden. übom the angels pume Leuore
Clasp a rare anu radiant muiden, whom the angels dame Lenore?'

Quoth be Raven : Never more.'
*Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend !' I sbrieked upstarting-

Get thee back into the ten pest and the night's plutonian shore1
Leave no biack plume as a token of that lie ihy soul hath: ? poaen!
Leave my lone iness anbrokeu !-quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'

Quota the Raven : 'Never more.'
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is eitting,
On the pallid bnst of Pallas, just above my chamber-door ;
And his eyes have all the serming of a demon's that is dreaming,
Aud the laup-light o'er him streaming, throws his shadow on the floor
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor,

Shall be lifted - Dever more !

WILLIAM ÇULLEN BRYANT. The father of the present generation of American poets, and one of the most original of the brotherhood, is WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT, born at Cummington, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, November 3, 1794. With a precocity rivalling that of Cowley or Chatterton, Bryant at the age of thirteen wrote a satirical poem on the Jeffersopian party, which was published in 1808 under the title of The Embargo.' A few lines from this piece will shew how well the boy-poet had mastered the art of versification:

E'en while I sing. see Faction urge her claim,
Mislead with falsehood and witb zeal indame;
ift her black banner, spread her empire wide,
And stalk triumphaut with a Fury's siride !
She blows her brazen trump and at the sound
A n otley throng. obedient: nock around;
A mist of changing hue around she flings,
And Darkness perches on her dragon wings!
Ob, might some patriot rise the gloom dispel,
Chase Error's mist, and break her magic spell!
But vain the wish-for, hark, the murmuring meed
Of hoarse applause from yonder shed proceed !
Enter and view the thronging concourse there,
Intent with gaping mouth and stopid stare;
While in their midst their supple leader stands,
Har ngg aloud and flourishes his hands.
To aculation tones his servile throat.

And sued successful for each blockhead's vote. From this perilous course of political versifying, the young author was removed by being placed at Williams College. He was admitted to the bar, and practised for several years with fair success; but in 1825, he removed to New York, and entered upon that literary life which he has ever since followed. In 1826 Mr. Bryant became editor of the New York Evening Post,' and his connection with that journal still subsists. His poetical works consist of 'Thanatopsis an exquisite solemn strain of blank verse, first published in 18:6;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• The Ages, n survey of the experience of mankind, 1828; and various pieces scattered through periodical works. Mr. Washington Irving, struck with the beauty of Bryant's poetry, had it collected and published in London in 1832. The British public, lie said, had expressed its delight at the graphic descriptions of American scenery and wild woodland characters contained in the works of Cooper. • The same keen eye and just feeling for nature,' he added, “the same indigenous style of thinking and local peculiarity of imagery, which give such novelty and interest to the pages of that gifted writer, will be found to characterise this volume, condensed into a narrower compass, and sublimated into poetry.'

From this opinion Professor Wilson-who reviewed the volume in * Blackwood's Magazine' -dissented, believing that Cooper's pictures are infinitely richer in local peculiarity of imagery and thought. • The chief charm of Bryant's genius,' he considered, consists in a tender pensiveness, a moral melancholy, breathing over all his contemplations, dreams, and reveries, even such as in the main are glad, and giving assurance of a pure spirit, benevolent to all living creatures, and habitually pious in the felt omnipresence of the Creator. His poetry overflows with natural religion-with what Wordsworth calls the religion of the woods.' This is strictly applicable to the * Thanatopsis' and · Forest Hymn;' but Washington Irving is so far right that Bryant's grand merit is his nationality and his power of painting the American landscape, especially in its wild, solitary, and magnificent forms. His diction is pure and lucid, with scarcely a flaw, and he is master of blank verse. Mr. Bryant has translated the Iliad' and Odyssey,' 4 vols. (Boston, 1870-1872.)

From Thanatopsis.'
Not to thy eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldet thon wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings,
The powerful of the earth, the wise, the good
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past-
All in One mighty sepulchre! The hills,
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun--the vales,
Stretching in pensive quietness between-
The venerable woods, rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
Old Ocean's gray and melancholy wante-
Are bui tbe solemn decorations all
of the great tomb of man! The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are bat a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom. Take the wings
Of morning, add the Bircan d:s •rt pierce,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, i nd beurs no sonnd
Save his owu dashings; yet, ihe dead are there,

[ocr errors]

And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep-the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest. And what it thou shalt fall
Unheeded by the liviny, and uo friend
Take note of thy departure! All that breathe
Will spare thy destiny. The guy will laugh
Wheu thou art gone, the solenın brood of Care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favourite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glide away, the sons of men-
The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, natron, and maid,
And the sweet babe, and the gray-beaded man -
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
By those who in their turn shall follow them.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan that moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon ; but, sustained and wotbed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

The Wind-florer.

Lodged in sunny cleft
Where the cold breezes come not, blooms alone
The little wind-flower, whose just-opened eye
Is blue as the spriug heaven it gazes at,
Startling the loiterer in the naked groves
With unexpected beauty, for the time
Of blossoins and green leaves is yet afar.

The Disinterred Warrior.
Gather him to bis grave again,

In nearer kindred than our race. And solemnly and softly lay,

In many a flood to madness tossed, Beneath the verdure of the plain,

In many a storm has been his path, The warrior's scattered bones away. He hid him not from heat or frost. Pay the deep reverence, taught of old, But met them, and defied their wrath.

The homage of man's heart to death ; Nor dare to trifle with the mould

Then they were kind—the forests here, Once hallowed by the Almighty's Rivers, and stiller waters, paid breath.

A tribute to the net and spear

Of the red ruler of the shade. The soul bath quickened every part- Fruits on the woodland branches lay, That rempant of a martial hrow,

Roots in the shaded soil below. Those ribs that held the mighty beart, he stars looked forth to teach bis way, 'l bat strong arm--stroug no longer The still earth warned him of the foe,

Spare thein, each mouldering relic spare, A poble race! But they are gone,

of God's own image ; let them rest, With their old forests wide and deep,
Till not a trace shall speak of where And we have built our homes upon
The awful likeness was impressed. Fields where their generations sleep.

Their fountains slake our thirst at noon, For he was fresher from the Hand

Upon their fields our harvest waves, That formed of earth the human face, Our lovers woo beneath their moonAnd to the elements did stand

Ah! let us spare at least their graves !

An Indian at the Burying-place of his Fathers. It is the spot I came to seek

And the gray chief and gifted seer My fathers' ancient burial-place, Worshipped the God of thunders here. Ere from these vales, ashamed and weak, Withdrew our wasted ruce.

But now the wheat is green and high It is the spot-I know it well

On clods that híd the warrior's breast, Of which our old traditions tell.

And scattered in the furrows lie

The weapons of his rest; For here the upland bank sends out And there, in the loose sand. is thrown A ridge toward the river-side ;

of his large arm the mouldering bone. I know the sbaggy hills about,

The meadows smooth and wide; Ah, little thought the strong and brave, The plains that, toward the eastern sky, Who bore their lifeless chieftain forth, Fenced east and west by mountains lie. Or the young wife that weeping gave

Her first-born to the earth, A white man, gazing on the scene, That the pale race, who waste us pow,

Would say a lovely spot was here, Among their bones should guide the And praise the lawng, 80 fresh and green, plough!

Between the hills so sheer.
I like it not-I would the plain

They waste 18-ay, like April snow
Lay in its tall old groves again.

In the warm noon, we shrink away;

And fast they foliow, as we go The sheep are on the slopes around, Toward the setting day

The cattle in the meadows feed. Till they shall fill the land, and we And Inbourers turn the crumbling ground, Are driven into the western sea.

Or drop the yellow seed, And pruncing steeds, in trappings gay, But I behold a fearful sign, Whirl the bright chariot o'er the way. To which the white man's eyes are

blind; Methinks it were a pobler sight

Their race may vanish hence, like mine, To see these vales in woods arrayed, And leave no trace behind, Their summits in the golden light, Save ruins o'er the region spread,

Their tranks in grateful shade; And the white stones above the dead. And herds of deer, that bounding go O'er rills and prostrate trees below. Beforc these fields were shorn and tilled,

Full to the brim our rivers flowed; And then to mark the lord of all,

The melody of waters filled The forest hero, trained to wars,

The fresh and boundless wood : Quivered and plumed, and lithe and tall, And torrents dashed, and rivulets played,

And seamed with glorious scars, And fountains spouted in the shade.
Walk forth, amid his train, to dare
The wolf, and grapple with the bear. Those grateful sounds are heard no

This bank, in which the dead were laid, The springs are silent in the sun;

Was sacred wben its soil was ours; The rivers, by the blackened shore, Hither the artless Indian maid

With lessening current run; Brought wreaths of beads and flowers. The realm our tribes are crushed to get,

May be a barren desert yet!

R. I. DANA-N. P. WILLISO. W. HOLMES. RICHARD HENRY Dana (born at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1787) was author of a small volume, “The Buccaneer, and other Poems' (1827), which was hailed as an original and powerful contribution to American literature. He had previously published * The Dying Raven,' a poem (1825), and contributed essays to a periodical work. The Buccaneer' is founded on a tradition of a murder committed on an island on the coast of New England by a

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »