The Poetical Works of William Lisle Bowles, Vol. 1
by William Lisle Bowles
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With Memoir, Critical Dissertation, and Explanatory Notes,











At Tynemouth Priory, after a Tempestuous Voyage 7 Bamborough Castle 8 The River Wainsbeck 8 The Tweed Visited 9 On leaving a Village in Scotland 9 Evening 10 To the River Itchin 11 On Resigning a Scholarship of Trinity College, Oxford, and Retiring to a Country Curacy 11 Dover Cliffs 12 On Landing at Ostend 12 The Bells of Ostend 13 The Rhine 13 Influence of Time on Grief 14 The Convent 14 The River Cherwell 15 On Entering Switzerland 15 Distant View of England from the Sea 16 Hope 16 To a Friend 17 Absence 17 Bereavement 18 Oxford Revisited 19 In Memoriam 19 On the Death of the Rev. William Benwell, M.A. 20 At Malvern 20 Netley Abbey 21 Associations 21 Music 22 Approach of Summer 22 At Oxford, 1786 23 At Dover, 1786 23 Retrospection 24 On Accidentally Meeting a Lady, now no more 24 On hearing "The Messiah" performed in Gloucester Cathedral, Sept. 18, 1835 25 Woodspring Abbey, 1836 26 Lacock Nunnery, 1837 26 On a Beautiful Landscape 27 Art and Nature: the Bridge between Clifton and Leigh Woods 27 Picture of an Old Man 28 Picture of a Young Lady 29 Hour-glass and Bible 29 Milton. Two Sonnets on the bust of Milton, in Youth and Age, at Stourhead 30 To Sir Walter Scott 31


Elegy written at the Hotwells, Bristol 32 Monody on Henry Headley 36 Howard's Account of Lazarettos 37 The Grave of Howard 42 Shakspeare 46 Abbe Thule's Lament for his Son Prince Le Boo 49 Southampton Water 51 The Philanthropic Society 52 The Dying Slave 58 Song of the American Indian 60 Monody, written at Matlock 61 The Right Honourable Edmund Burke 67 On Leaving a Place of Residence 72 Elegiac Stanzas written during Sickness at Bath 73 On leaving Winchester School 77 Hope: an Allegorical Sketch 77 The Battle of the Nile 88 A Garden-Seat at Home 94 In Horto Rev. J. Still 95 Greenwich Hospital 95 A Rustic Seat near the Sea 96 Wardour Castle 96 Pole-vellum, Cornwall 97 On a Beautiful Spring 98 On a Cenotaph to the Memory of Lieut-Col. Isaac 99 Translation of a Latin Poem, by Rev. Newton Ogle 100 St Michael's Mount 101 On an Unfortunate and Beautiful Woman 111 Hymn to Woden 113 Coombe-Ellen 115 Summer Evening at Home 125 Winter Evening at Home 126 The Spirit of Navigation 127 Water-party on Beaulieu River, in the New Forest 134 Monody on the Death of Dr Warton 135 Epitaph on H. Walmsley, Esq., in Alverstoke{a} Church, Hants 141 Age 142 On a Landscape by Rubens 142 The Harp, and Despair, of Cowper 151 Stanzas for Music 152 Music 152 Absence 153 Fairy Sketch 154 Inscription 155 Pictures from Theocritus 156 Sketches in the Exhibition, 1805 161 Do. in the Exhibition, 1807 162 Southampton Castle 164 The Winds 166 On William Sommers of Bremhill 169 The Visionary Boy 170 Cadland, Southampton River 180 The Last Song of Camoens 182 The Sylph of Summer 184 The Harp of Hoel 201 Avenue in Savernake Forest 215 Dirge of Nelson 216 Death of Captain Cooke, of "The Bellerophon" 217 Battle of Corruna 218 Sketch from Bowden Hill after Sickness 219 Sun-Dial in the Churchyard of Bremhill 223


A Descriptive and Historical Poem 225 Book the First 231 Book the Second 245 Book the Third 258 Book the Fourth 266 Book the Fifth 285

THE MISSIONARY 295 Introduction 297 Canto First 298 Canto Second 309 Canto Third 318 Canto Fourth 330 Canto Fifth 339 Canto Sixth 344 Canto Seventh 350 Canton Eighth 359

The Memoir and Critical Dissertation being unavoidably delayed, will be prefixed to Vol. II.


A Ninth Edition of the following Poems having been called for by the public, the author is induced to say a few words, particularly concerning those which, under the name of Sonnets, describe his personal feelings.

They can be considered in no other light than as exhibiting occasional reflections which naturally arose in his mind, chiefly during various excursions, undertaken to relieve, at the time, depression of spirits. They were, therefore, in general, suggested by the scenes before them; and wherever such scenes appeared to harmonise with his disposition at the moment, the sentiments were involuntarily prompted.

Numberless poetical trifles of the same kind have occurred to him, when perhaps, in his solitary rambles, he has been "chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy;" but they have been forgotten as he left the places which gave rise to them; and the greater part of those originally committed to the press were written down, for the first time, from memory.

This is nothing to the public; but it may serve in some measure to obviate the common remark on melancholy poetry, that it has been very often gravely composed, when possibly the heart of the writer had very little share in the distress he chose to describe.

But there is a great difference between natural and fabricated feelings, even in poetry. To which of these two characters the poems before the reader belong, the author leaves those who have felt sensations of sorrow to judge.

They who know him, know the occasions of them to have been real; to the public he might only mention the sudden death of a deserving young woman, with whom,

... Sperabat longos heu! ducere soles, Et fido acclinis consenuisse sinu.[1]

DONHEAD, April 1805.

[1] The early editions of these Sonnets, 1791, were dedicated to the Reverend Newton Ogle, D.D., Dean of Winchester.


To account for the variations which may be remarked in this last edition of my Sonnets, from that which was first published fifty years ago, it may be proper to state, that to the best of my recollection, they now appear nearly as they were originally composed in my solitary hours; when, in youth a wanderer among distant scenes, I sought forgetfulness of the first disappointment in early affections.

Delicacy even now, though the grave has long closed over the beloved object, would forbid entering on a detail of the peculiar circumstances in early life, and the anguish which occasioned these poetical meditations. In fact, I never thought of writing them down at the time, and many had escaped my recollection;[2] but three years after my return to England, on my way to the banks of Cherwell, where

"I bade the pipe farewell, and that sad lay Whose music, on my melancholy way, I wooed,"

passing through Bath, I wrote down all I could recollect of these effusions, most elaborately mending the versification from the natural flow of music in which they occurred to me, and having thus corrected and written them out, took them myself to the late Mr Cruttwell, with the name of "Fourteen Sonnets, written chiefly on Picturesque Spots during a Journey."

I had three times knocked at this amiable printer's door, whose kind smile I still recollect; and at last, with much hesitation, ventured to unfold my message; it was to inquire whether he would give any thing for "Fourteen Sonnets," to be published with or without the name.[3] He at once declined the purchase, and informed me he doubted very much whether the publication would repay the expense of printing, which would come to about five pounds. It was at last determined one hundred copies, in quarto, should be published as a kind of "forlorn hope;" and these "Fourteen Sonnets" I left to their fate and thought no more of getting rich by poetry! In fact, I owed the most I ever owed at Oxford, at this time, namely, seventy pounds;[4] and knowing my father's large family and trying circumstances, and those of my poor mother, I shrunk from asking more money when I left home, and went back with a heavy heart to Oxford, under the conscious weight, that my poetic scheme failing, I had no means of paying Parsons, the mercer's, bill! This was the origin of the publication.

As this plain account is so connected with whatever may be my name in criticism and poetry, it is hoped it will be pardoned.

All thoughts of succeeding as a poet were now abandoned; but, half a year afterwards, I received a letter from the printer informing me that the hundred copies were all sold, adding, that if I had published FIVE HUNDRED copies, he had no doubt they would have been sold also.

This, in my then situation, my father now dead, and my mother a widow with seven children, and with a materially reduced income (from the loss of the rectories of Uphill and Brean in Somerset), was gratifying indeed; all my golden dreams of poetical success were renewed;—the number of the sonnets first published was increased, and five hundred copies, by the congratulating printer, with whose family I have lived in kindest amity from that hour, were recommended to issue from the press of the editor of the Bath Chronicle.

But this was not all, the five hundred copies were sold to great advantage, for it was against my will that five hundred copies should be printed, till the printer told me he would take the risk on himself, on the usual terms, at that time, of bookseller and author.

Soon afterwards, it was agreed that seven hundred and fifty copies should be printed, in a smaller and elegant size. I had received Coleridge's warm testimony; but soon after this third edition came out, my friend, Mr Cruttwell, the printer, wrote a letter saying that two young gentlemen, strangers, one a particularly handsome and pleasing youth, lately from Westminster School, and both literary and intelligent, spoke in high commendation of my volume, and if I recollect right, expressed a desire to have some poems printed in the same type and form. Who these young men were I knew not at the time, but the communication of the circumstance was to me most gratifying; and how much more gratifying, when, from one of them, after he himself had achieved the fame of one of the most virtuous and eloquent of the writers in his generation, I received a first visit at my parsonage in Wiltshire upwards of forty years afterwards! It was ROBERT SOUTHEY. We parted in my garden last year, when stealing time and sorrow had marked his still manly, but most interesting countenance.[5]—Therefore,












[2] I confined myself to fourteen lines, because fourteen lines seemed best adapted to unity of sentiment. I thought nothing about the strict Italian model; the verses naturally flowed in unpremeditated harmony, as my ear directed, but the slightest inspection will prove they were far from being mere elegiac couplets. The subjects were chiefly from river scenery, and the reader will recollect what Sir Humphrey Davy has said on this subject so beautifully; it will be recollected, also, that they were published ten years before those of Mr Wordsworth on the river Duddon, Yarrow, et cet. There have been many claimants, among modern poets, for the laurel of the sonnet, but, in picturesque description, sentiment, and harmony, I know none superior to those of my friend the Rev. Charles Hoyle, on scenery in Scotland, the mountains of Ben Nevis, Loch Lomond, et cet.

[3] To account for the present variations, some remained as originally with their natural pauses, others for the press I thought it best to correct into verse less broken, and now, after fifty years, they are recorrected, and restored, I believe, more nearly to the original shape in which they were first meditated.

[4] I hoped by my Sonnets to pay this vast debt.

[5] His companion, Mr Lovel, died in youth.




As slow I climb the cliff's ascending side, Much musing on the track of terror past, When o'er the dark wave rode the howling blast, Pleased I look back, and view the tranquil tide That laves the pebbled shore: and now the beam Of evening smiles on the gray battlement, And yon forsaken tower that time has rent:— The lifted oar far off with transient gleam Is touched, and hushed is all the billowy deep! Soothed by the scene, thus on tired Nature's breast A stillness slowly steals, and kindred rest; While sea-sounds lull her, as she sinks to sleep, Like melodies that mourn upon the lyre, Waked by the breeze, and, as they mourn, expire!

[6] The remains of this monastery are situated on a lofty point, on the north side of the entrance into the river Tyne, about a mile and a half below North Shields. The rock on which the monastery stood rendered it visible at sea a long way off, in every direction, whence it presented itself as if exhorting the seamen in danger to make their vows, and promise masses and presents to the Virgin Mary and St Oswin for their deliverance.


Ye holy Towers that shade the wave-worn steep, Long may ye rear your aged brows sublime, Though, hurrying silent by, relentless Time Assail you, and the winds of winter sweep Round your dark battlements; for far from halls Of Pride, here Charity hath fixed her seat, Oft listening, tearful, when the tempests beat With hollow bodings round your ancient walls; And Pity, at the dark and stormy hour Of midnight, when the moon is hid on high, Keeps her lone watch upon the topmost tower, And turns her ear to each expiring cry; Blessed if her aid some fainting wretch may save, And snatch him cold and speechless from the wave.

[7] This ancient castle, with its extensive domains, heretofore the property of the family of Forster, whose heiress married Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham, is appropriated by the will of that pious prelate to many benevolent purposes; particularly to that of administering instant relief to such shipwrecked mariners as may happen to be cast upon this dangerous coast; for whose preservation and that of their vessels every possible assistance is contrived, and is at all times ready. The estate is in the hands of trustees appointed under the Bishop's will.


While slowly wanders thy sequestered stream, WAINSBECK, the mossy-scattered rocks among, In fancy's ear making a plaintive song To the dark woods above, that waving seem To bend o'er some enchanted spot, removed From life's vain coil; I listen to the wind, And think I hear meek Sorrow's plaint, reclined O'er the forsaken tomb of him she loved!— Fair scenes, ye lend a pleasure, long unknown, To him who passes weary on his way;— Yet recreated here he may delay A while to thank you; and when years have flown, And haunts that charmed his youth he would renew, In the world's crowd he will remember you.

[8] The Wainsbeck is a sequestered river in Northumberland, having on its banks "Our Lady's Chapel," three-quarters of a mile west of Bothal. It has been commemorated by Akenside.


O Tweed! a stranger, that with wandering feet O'er hill and dale has journeyed many a mile, (If so his weary thoughts he might beguile), Delighted turns thy stranger-stream to greet. The waving branches that romantic bend O'er thy tall banks a soothing charm bestow; The murmurs of thy wandering wave below Seem like the converse of some long-lost friend. Delightful stream! though now along thy shore, When spring returns in all her wonted pride, The distant pastoral pipe is heard no more;[9] Yet here while laverocks sing could I abide, Far from the stormy world's contentious roar, To muse upon thy banks at eventide.

[9] Alluding to the simple and affecting pastoral strains for which Scotland has been so long celebrated. I need not mention Lochaber, the Braes of Bellendine, Tweedside, et cet.


Clysdale! as thy romantic vales I leave, And bid farewell to each retiring hill, Where musing memory seems to linger still, Tracing the broad bright landscape; much I grieve That, mingled with the toiling crowd, no more I may return your varied views to mark, Of rocks amid the sunshine towering dark, Of rivers winding wild,[10] or mountains hoar, Or castle gleaming on the distant steep!— Yet many a look back on thy hills I cast, And many a softened image of the past Sadly combine, and bid remembrance keep, To soothe me with fair scenes, and fancies rude, When I pursue my path in solitude.

[10] There is a wildness almost fantastic in the view of the river from Stirling Castle, the course of which is seen for many miles, making a thousand turnings.


Evening! as slow thy placid shades descend, Veiling with gentlest hush the landscape still, The lonely, battlement, the farthest hill And wood, I think of those who have no friend; Who now, perhaps, by melancholy led, From the broad blaze of day, where pleasure flaunts, Retiring, wander to the ring-dove's haunts Unseen; and watch the tints that o'er thy bed Hang lovely; oft to musing Fancy's eye Presenting fairy vales, where the tired mind Might rest beyond the murmurs of mankind, Nor hear the hourly moans of misery! Alas for man! that Hope's fair views the while Should smile like you, and perish as they smile!


Itchin! when I behold thy banks again, Thy crumbling margin, and thy silver breast, On which the self-same tints still seem to rest, Why feels my heart a shivering sense of pain! Is it, that many a summer's day has past Since, in life's morn, I carolled on thy side! Is it, that oft since then my heart has sighed, As Youth, and Hope's delusive gleams, flew fast! Is it, that those who gathered on thy shore, Companions of my youth, now meet no more! Whate'er the cause, upon thy banks I bend, Sorrowing; yet feel such solace at my heart, As at the meeting of some long-lost friend, From whom, in happier hours, we wept to part.

[11] The Itchin is a river running from Winchester to Southampton, the banks of which have been the scene of many a holiday sport. The lines were composed on an evening in a journey from Oxford to Southampton, the first time I had seen the Itchin since I left school.



Farewell! a long farewell! O Poverty, Affection's fondest dream how hast thou reft! But though, on thy stern brow no trace is left Of youthful joys, that on the cold heart die, With thee a sad companionship I seek, Content, if poor;—for patient wretchedness, Tearful, but uncomplaining of distress, Who turns to the rude storm her faded cheek; And Piety, who never told her wrong; And calm Content, whose griefs no more rebel; And Genius, warbling sweet, his saddest song, When evening listens to some village knell,— Long banished from the world's insulting throng;— With thee, and thy unfriended children dwell.


On these white cliffs, that calm above the flood Uprear their shadowing heads, and at their feet Hear not the surge that has for ages beat, How many a lonely wanderer has stood! And, whilst the lifted murmur met his ear, And o'er the distant billows the still eve Sailed slow, has thought of all his heart must leave To-morrow; of the friends he loved most dear; Of social scenes, from which he wept to part! Oh! if, like me, he knew how fruitless all The thoughts that would full fain the past recall, Soon would he quell the risings of his heart, And brave the wild winds and unhearing tide— The World his country, and his GOD his guide.


The orient beam illumes the parting oar;— From yonder azure track, emerging white, The earliest sail slow gains upon the sight, And the blue wave comes rippling to the shore. Meantime far off the rear of darkness flies: Yet 'mid the beauties of the morn, unmoved, Like one for ever torn from all he loved, Back o'er the deep I turn my longing eyes, And chide the wayward passions that rebel: Yet boots it not to think, or to complain, Musing sad ditties to the reckless main. To dreams like these, adieu! the pealing bell Speaks of the hour that stays not—and the day To life's sad turmoil calls my heart away.



How sweet the tuneful bells' responsive peal! As when, at opening morn, the fragrant breeze Breathes on the trembling sense of pale disease, So piercing to my heart their force I feel! And hark! with lessening cadence now they fall! And now, along the white and level tide, They fling their melancholy music wide; Bidding me many a tender thought recall Of summer-days, and those delightful years When from an ancient tower, in life's fair prime, The mournful magic of their mingling chime First waked my wondering childhood into tears! But seeming now, when all those days are o'er, The sounds of joy once heard, and heard no more.


[12] Written on landing at Ostend, and hearing, very early in the morning, the carillons.


'Twas morn, and beauteous on the mountain's brow (Hung with the clusters of the bending vine) Shone in the early light, when on the Rhine We bounded, and the white waves round the prow In murmurs parted:—varying as we go, Lo! the woods open, and the rocks retire, As some gray convent-wall or glistening spire 'Mid the bright landscape's track unfolding slow! Here dark, with furrowed aspect, like Despair, Frowns the bleak cliff! There on the woodland's side The shadowy sunshine pours its streaming tide; Whilst Hope, enchanted with the scene so fair, Counts not the hours of a long summer's day, Nor heeds how fast the prospect winds away.


O Time! who know'st a lenient hand to lay Softest on Sorrow's wound, and slowly thence (Lulling to sad repose the weary sense) The faint pang stealest unperceived away; On thee I rest my only hope at last, And think, when thou hast dried the bitter tear That flows in vain o'er all my soul held dear, I may look back on every sorrow past, And meet life's peaceful evening with a smile:— As some lone bird, at day's departing hour, Sings in the sunbeam, of the transient shower Forgetful, though its wings are wet the while:— Yet ah! how much must that poor heart endure, Which hopes from thee, and thee alone, a cure!


If chance some pensive stranger, hither led, His bosom glowing from majestic views, Temple and tower 'mid the bright landscape's hues, Should ask who sleeps beneath this lowly bed? A maid of sorrow. To the cloistered scene, Unknown and beautiful a mourner came, Seeking with unseen tears to quench the flame Of hapless love: yet was her look serene As the pale moonlight in the midnight aisle;— Her voice was gentle and a charm could lend, Like that which spoke of a departed friend; And a meek sadness sat upon her smile!— Now, far removed from every earthly ill, Her woes are buried, and her heart is still.


Cherwell! how pleased along thy willowed edge Erewhile I strayed, or when the morn began To tinge the distant turret's golden fan, Or evening glimmered o'er the sighing sedge! And now reposing on thy banks once more, I bid the lute farewell, and that sad lay Whose music on my melancholy way I wooed: beneath thy willows waving hoar, Seeking a while to rest—till the bright sun Of joy return; as when Heaven's radiant Bow Beams on the night-storm's passing wings below: Whate'er betide, yet something have I won Of solace, that may bear me on serene, Till eve's last hush shall close the silent scene.


Languid, and sad, and slow, from day to day I journey on, yet pensive turn to view, Where the rich landscape gleams with softer hue, The streams, and vales, and hills, that steal away. So fares it with the children of the earth: For when life's goodly prospect opens round, Their spirits burn to tread that fairy ground, Where every vale sounds to the pipe of mirth. But them, alas! the dream of youth beguiles, And soon a longing look, like me, they cast Back on the mountains of the morning past: Yet Hope still beckons us, and beckoning smiles, And to a brighter world her view extends, When earth's long darkness on her path descends.


Yes! from mine eyes the tears unbidden start, As thee, my country, and the long-lost sight Of thy own cliffs, that lift their summits white Above the wave, once more my beating heart With eager hope and filial transport hails! Scenes of my youth, reviving gales ye bring, As when erewhile the tuneful morn of spring Joyous awoke amidst your hawthorn vales, And filled with fragrance every village lane: Fled are those hours, and all the joys they gave! Yet still I gaze, and count each rising wave That bears me nearer to my home again; If haply, 'mid those woods and vales so fair, Stranger to Peace, I yet may meet her there.


As one who, long by wasting sickness worn, Weary has watched the lingering night, and heard Unmoved the carol of the matin bird Salute his lonely porch; now first at morn Goes forth, leaving his melancholy bed; He the green slope and level meadow views, Delightful bathed with slow-ascending dews; Or marks the clouds, that o'er the mountain's head In varying forms fantastic wander white; Or turns his ear to every random song, Heard the green river's winding marge along, The whilst each sense is steeped in still delight. So o'er my breast young Summer's breath I feel, Sweet Hope! thy fragrance pure and healing incense steal!


Go, then, and join the murmuring city's throng! Me thou dost leave to solitude and tears; To busy phantasies, and boding fears, Lest ill betide thee; but 'twill not be long Ere the hard season shall be past; till then Live happy; sometimes the forsaken shade Remembering, and these trees now left to fade; Nor, 'mid the busy scenes and hum of men, Wilt thou my cares forget: in heaviness To me the hours shall roll, weary and slow, Till mournful autumn past, and all the snow Of winter pale, the glad hour I shall bless That shall restore thee from the crowd again, To the green hamlet on the peaceful plain.



There is strange music in the stirring wind, When lowers the autumnal eve, and all alone To the dark wood's cold covert thou art gone, Whose ancient trees on the rough slope reclined Rock, and at times scatter their tresses sere. If in such shades, beneath their murmuring, Thou late hast passed the happier hours of spring, With sadness thou wilt mark the fading year; Chiefly if one, with whom such sweets at morn Or evening thou hast shared, afar shall stray. O Spring, return! return, auspicious May! But sad will be thy coming, and forlorn, If she return not with thy cheering ray, Who from these shades is gone, far, far away.


Whose was that gentle voice, that, whispering sweet, Promised methought long days of bliss sincere! Soothing it stole on my deluded ear, Most like soft music, that might sometimes cheat Thoughts dark and drooping! 'Twas the voice of Hope. Of love, and social scenes, it seemed to speak, Of truth, of friendship, of affection meek; That, oh! poor friend, might to life's downward slope Lead us in peace, and bless our latest hours. Ah me! the prospect saddened as she sung; Loud on my startled ear the death-bell rung; Chill darkness wrapt the pleasurable bowers, Whilst Horror, pointing to yon breathless clay, "No peace be thine," exclaimed, "away, away!"



I never hear the sound of thy glad bells, Oxford, and chime harmonious, but I say, Sighing to think how time has worn away, Some spirit speaks in the sweet tone that swells, Heard after years of absence, from the vale Where Cherwell winds. Most true it speaks the tale Of days departed, and its voice recalls Hours of delight and hope in the gay tide Of life, and many friends now scattered wide By many fates. Peace be within thy walls! I have scarce heart to visit thee; but yet, Denied the joys sought in thy shades,—denied Each better hope, since my poor Harriet died, What I have owed to thee, my heart can ne'er forget!


How blessed with thee the path could I have trod Of quiet life, above cold want's hard fate, (And little wishing more) nor of the great Envious, or their proud name; but it pleased GOD To take thee to his mercy: thou didst go In youth and beauty to thy cold death-bed; Even whilst on dreams of bliss we fondly fed, Of years to come of comfort! Be it so. Ere this I have felt sorrow; and even now, Though sometimes the unbidden tear will start, And half unman the miserable heart, The cold dew I shall wipe from my sad brow, And say, since hopes of bliss on earth are vain, Best friend, farewell, till we do meet again!


Thou camest with kind looks, when on the brink Almost of death I strove, and with mild voice Didst soothe me, bidding my poor heart rejoice, Though smitten sore: Oh, I did little think That thou, my friend, wouldst the first victim fall To the stern King of Terrors! Thou didst fly, By pity prompted, at the poor man's cry; And soon thyself were stretched beneath the pall, Livid infection's prey. The deep distress Of her, who best thy inmost bosom knew, To whom thy faith was vowed; thy soul was true, What powers of faltering language shall express? As friendship bids, I feebly breathe my own, And sorrowing say, Pure spirit, thou art gone!

[13] An accomplished young friend of the author—a poet and a scholar, formerly fellow of Trinity College, Oxford—who died of a typhus fever, caught in administering the sacrament to one of his parishioners. Mr Benwell had only been married eleven weeks when he died.


I shall behold far off thy towering crest, Proud mountain! from thy heights as slow I stray Down through the distant vale my homeward way, I shall behold upon thy rugged breast, The parting sun sit smiling: me the while Escaped the crowd, thoughts full of heaviness May visit, as life's bitter losses press Hard on my bosom; but I shall beguile The thing I am, and think, that ev'n as thou Dost lift in the pale beam thy forehead high, Proud mountain! whilst the scattered vapours fly Unheeded round thy breast,—so, with calm brow, The shades of sorrow I may meet, and wear The smile unchanged of peace, though pressed by care!


Fall'n pile! I ask not what has been thy fate; But when the winds, slow wafted from the main, Through each rent arch, like spirits that complain, Come hollow to my ear, I meditate On this world's passing pageant, and the lot Of those who once majestic in their prime Stood smiling at decay, till bowed by time Or injury, their early boast forgot, They may have fall'n like thee! Pale and forlorn, Their brow, besprent with thin hairs, white as snow, They lift, still unsubdued, as they would scorn This short-lived scene of vanity and woe; Whilst on their sad looks smilingly they bear The trace of creeping age, and the pale hue of care!


As o'er these hills I take my silent rounds, Still on that vision which is flown I dwell, On images I loved, alas, too well! Now past, and but remembered like sweet sounds Of yesterday! Yet in my breast I keep Such recollections, painful though they seem, And hours of joy retrace, till from my dream I start, and find them not; then I could weep To think how Fortune blights the fairest flowers; To think how soon life's first endearments fail, And we are still misled by Hope's smooth tale, Who, like a flatterer, when the happiest hours Pass, and when most we call on her to stay, Will fly, as faithless and as fleet as they!


O harmony! thou tenderest nurse of pain, If that thy note's sweet magic e'er can heal Griefs which the patient spirit oft may feel, Oh! let me listen to thy songs again; Till memory her fairest tints shall bring; Hope wake with brighter eye, and listening seem With smiles to think on some delightful dream, That waved o'er the charmed sense its gladsome wing! For when thou leadest all thy soothing strains More smooth along, the silent passions meet In one suspended transport, sad and sweet; And nought but sorrow's softest touch remains; That, when the transitory charm is o'er, Just wakes a tear, and then is felt no more.


How shall I meet thee, Summer, wont to fill My heart with gladness, when thy pleasant tide First came, and on the Coomb's romantic side Was heard the distant cuckoo's hollow bill! Fresh flowers shall fringe the margin of the stream, As with the songs of joyance and of hope The hedge-rows shall ring loud, and on the slope The poplars sparkle in the passing beam; The shrubs and laurels that I loved to tend, Thinking their May-tide fragrance would delight, With many a peaceful charm, thee, my poor friend, Shall put forth their green shoots, and cheer the sight! But I shall mark their hues with sadder eyes, And weep the more for one who in the cold earth lies!

AT OXFORD, 1786.

Bereave me not of Fancy's shadowy dreams, Which won my heart, or when the gay career Of life begun, or when at times a tear Sat sad on memory's cheek—though loftier themes Await the awakened mind to the high prize Of wisdom, hardly earned with toil and pain, Aspiring patient; yet on life's wide plain Left fatherless, where many a wanderer sighs Hourly, and oft our road is lone and long, 'Twere not a crime should we a while delay Amid the sunny field; and happier they Who, as they journey, woo the charm of song, To cheer their way;—till they forget to weep, And the tired sense is hushed, and sinks to sleep.

AT DOVER, 1786.

Thou, whose stern spirit loves the storm, That, borne on Terror's desolating wings, Shakes the high forest, or remorseless flings The shivered surge; when rising griefs deform Thy peaceful breast, hie to yon steep, and think,— When thou dost mark the melancholy tide Beneath thee, and the storm careering wide,— Tossed on the surge of life how many sink! And if thy cheek with one kind tear be wet, And if thy heart be smitten, when the cry Of danger and of death is heard more nigh, Oh, learn thy private sorrows to forget; Intent, when hardest beats the storm, to save One who, like thee, has suffered from the wave.


I turn these leaves with thronging thoughts, and say, Alas! how many friends of youth are dead; How many visions of fair hope have fled, Since first, my Muse, we met.—So speeds away Life, and its shadows; yet we sit and sing, Stretched in the noontide bower, as if the day Declined not, and we yet might trill our lay Beneath the pleasant morning's purple wing That fans us; while aloft the gay clouds shine! Oh, ere the coming of the long cold night, Religion, may we bless thy purer light, That still shall warm us, when the tints decline O'er earth's dim hemisphere; and sad we gaze On the vain visions of our passing days!



When last we parted, thou wert young and fair— How beautiful let fond remembrance say! Alas! since then old Time has stol'n away Nigh forty years, leaving my temples bare:— So hath it perished, like a thing of air, That dream of love and youth:—we now are gray; Yet still remembering youth's enchanted way, Though time has changed my look, and blanched my hair, Though I remember one sad hour with pain, And never thought, long as I yet might live, And parted long, to hear that voice again;— I can a sad, but cordial greeting, give, And for thy welfare breathe as warm a prayer, Lady, as when I loved thee young and fair!



Oh, stay, harmonious and sweet sounds, that die In the long vaultings of this ancient fane! Stay, for I may not hear on earth again Those pious airs—that glorious harmony; Lifting the soul to brighter orbs on high, Worlds without sin or sorrow! Ah, the strain Has died—ev'n the last sounds that lingeringly Hung on the roof ere they expired! And I, Stand in the world of strife, amidst a throng, A throng that recks not or of death, or sin! Oh, jarring scenes! to cease, indeed, ere long; The worm hears not the discord and the din; But he whose heart thrills to this angel song, Feels the pure joy of heaven on earth begin!


These walls were built by men who did a deed Of blood:—terrific conscience, day by day, Followed, where'er their shadow seemed to stay, And still in thought they saw their victim bleed, Before God's altar shrieking: pangs succeed, As dire upon their heart the deep sin lay, No tears of agony could wash away: Hence! to the land's remotest limit, speed! These walls are raised in vain, as vainly flows Contrition's tear: Earth, hide them, and thou, Sea, Which round the lone isle, where their bones repose, Dost sound for ever, their sad requiem be, In fancy's ear, at pensive evening's close, Still murmuring{b} MISERERE, DOMINE.

[14] Three mailed men, in Canterbury Cathedral, rushed on the Archbishop of Canterbury, and murdered him before the altar. Conscience-stricken, they fled and built Woodspring Abbey, in the remote corner of Somersetshire, near Western Super Mare, where the land looks on the Atlantic sea. There are three unknown graves on the Flat Holms.


JUNE 24, 1837.

I stood upon the stone where ELA lay, The widowed founder of these ancient walls, Where fancy still on meek devotion calls, Marking the ivied arch, and turret gray— For her soul's rest—eternal rest—to pray;[15] Where visionary nuns yet seem to tread, A pale dim troop, the cloisters of the dead, Though twice three hundred years have flown away! But when, with silent step and pensive mien, In weeds, as mourning for her sisters gone, The mistress of this lone monastic scene Came; and I heard her voice's tender tone, I said, Though centuries have rolled between, One gentle, beauteous nun is left, on earth, alone.

[15] "Eternam Requiem dona."


Beautiful landscape! I could look on thee For hours, unmindful of the storm and strife, And mingled murmurs of tumultuous life. Here, all is still as fair; the stream, the tree, The wood, the sunshine on the bank: no tear, No thought of Time's swift wing, or closing night, That comes to steal away the long sweet light— No sighs of sad humanity are here. Here is no tint of mortal change; the day,— Beneath whose light the dog and peasant-boy Gambol, with look, and almost bark, of joy,— Still seems, though centuries have passed, to stay. Then gaze again, that shadowed scenes may teach Lessons of peace and love, beyond all speech.



Frown ever opposite, the angel cried, Who, with an earthquake's might and giant hand, Severed these riven rocks, and bade them stand Severed for ever! The vast ocean-tide, Leaving its roar without at his command, Shrank, and beneath the woods through the green land Went gently murmuring on, so to deride The frowning barriers that its force defied! But Art, high o'er the trailing smoke below Of sea-bound steamer, on yon summit's head Sat musing; and where scarce a wandering crow Sailed o'er the chasm, in thought a highway led; Conquering, as by an arrow from a bow, The scene's lone Genius by her elfin-thread.

CLIFTON, 27th August 1836.


Old man, I saw thee in thy garden chair Sitting in silence 'mid the shrubs and trees Of thy small cottage-croft, whilst murmuring bees Went by, and almost touched thy temples bare, Edged with a few flakes of the whitest hair. And, soothed by the faint hum of ebbing seas, And song of birds, and breath of the young breeze, Thus didst thou sit, feeling the summer air Blow gently;—with a sad still decadence, Sinking to earth in hope, but all alone. Oh! hast thou wept to feel the lonely sense Of earthly loss, musing on voices gone! Hush the vain murmur, that, without offence, Thy head may rest in peace beneath the churchyard stone.


When I was sitting, sad, and all alone, Remembering youth and love for ever fled, And many friends now resting with the dead, While the still summer's light departing shone, Like many sweet and silent summers gone; Thou camest, as a vision, with a mien And smile like those I once on earth had seen, And with a voice of that remembered tone Which I in other days, long since, had heard: Like Peace approaching, when distempers fret Most the tired spirit, thy fair form appeared; And till I die, I never shall forget,— For at thy footstep light, the gloom was cheered,— Thy look and voice, oh! gentle Margaret.


Look, Christian, on thy Bible, and that glass That sheds its sand through minutes, hours, and days, And years; it speaks not, yet, methinks, it says, To every human heart: so mortals pass On to their dark and silent grave! Alas For man! an exile upon earth he strays, Weary, and wandering through benighted ways; To-day in strength, to-morrow like the grass That withers at his feet!—Lift up thy head, Poor pilgrim, toiling in this vale of tears; That book declares whose blood for thee was shed, Who died to give thee life; and though thy years Pass like a shade, pointing to thy death-bed, Out of the deep thy cry an angel hears, And by his guiding hand thy steps to heaven are led!




Milton, our noblest poet, in the grace Of youth, in those fair eyes and clustering hair, That brow untouched by one faint line of care, To mar its openness, we seem to trace The front of the first lord of human race, 'Mid thine own Paradise portrayed so fair, Ere Sin or Sorrow scathed it: such the air That characters thy youth. Shall time efface These lineaments as crowding cares assail! It is the lot of fall'n humanity. What boots it! armed in adamantine mail, The unconquerable mind, and genius high, Right onward hold their way through weal and woe, Or whether life's brief lot be high or low!


And art thou he, now "fall'n on evil days," And changed indeed! Yet what do this sunk cheek, These thinner locks, and that calm forehead speak! A spirit reckless of man's blame or praise,— A spirit, when thine eyes to the noon's blaze Their dark orbs roll in vain, in suffering meek, As in the sight of God intent to seek, 'Mid solitude or age, or through the ways Of hard adversity, the approving look Of its great Master; whilst the conscious pride Of wisdom, patient and content to brook All ills to that sole Master's task applied, Shall show before high heaven the unaltered mind, Milton, though thou art poor, and old, and blind!



Since last I saw that countenance so mild, Slow-stealing age, and a faint line of care, Had gently touched, methought, some features there; Yet looked the man as placid as a child, And the same voice,—whilst mingled with the throng, Unknowing, and unknown, we passed along,— That voice, a share of the brief time beguiled! That voice I ne'er may hear again, I sighed At parting,—wheresoe'er our various way, In this great world,—but from the banks of Tweed, As slowly sink the shades of eventide, Oh! I shall hear the music of his reed, Far off, and thinking of that voice, shall say, A blessing rest upon thy locks of gray!


JULY, 1789.


The morning wakes in shadowy mantle gray, 1 The darksome woods their glimmering skirts unfold, Prone from the cliff the falcon wheels her way, And long and loud the bell's slow chime is tolled.

The reddening light gains fast upon the skies, 2 And far away the glistening vapours sail, Down the rough steep the accustomed hedger hies, And the stream winds in brightness through the vale.

Mark how those riven rocks on either shore 3 Uplift their bleak and furrowed fronts on high; How proudly desolate their foreheads hoar, That meet the earliest sunbeams of the sky!

Bound for yon dusky mart,[17] with pennants gay, 4 The tall bark, on the winding water's line, Between the riven cliffs slow plies her way, And peering on the sight the white sails shine.

Alas! for those by drooping sickness worn, 5 Who now come forth to meet the cheering ray; And feel the fragrance of the tepid morn Round their torn breasts and throbbing temples play![18]

Perhaps they muse with a desponding sigh 6 On the cold vault that shall their bones inurn; Whilst every breeze seems, as it whispers by, To breathe of comfort never to return.

Yet oft, as sadly thronging dreams arise, 7 Awhile forgetful of their pain they gaze, A transient lustre lights their faded eyes, And o'er their cheek the tender hectic plays.

The purple morn that paints with sidelong gleam 8 The cliff's tall crest, the waving woods that ring With songs of birds rejoicing in the beam, Touch soft the wakeful nerve's according string.

Then at sad Meditation's silent hour 9 A thousand wishes steal upon the heart; And, whilst they meekly bend to Heaven's high power, Ah! think 'tis hard, 'tis surely hard to part:

To part from every hope that brought delight, 10 From those that loved them, those they loved so much! Then Fancy swells the picture on the sight, And softens every scene at every touch.

Sweet as the mellowed woods beneath the moon, 11 Remembrance lends her soft-uniting shades; "Some natural tears she drops, but wipes them soon:"— The world retires, and its dim prospect fades!

Airs of delight, that soothe the aching sense; 12 Waters of health, that through yon caverns glide; Oh! kindly yet your healing powers dispense, And bring back feeble life's exhausted tide!

Perhaps to these gray rocks and mazy springs 13 Some heart may come, warmed with the purest fire; For whom bright Fancy plumes her radiant wings, And warbling Muses wake the lonely lyre.

Some orphan Maid, deceived in early youth, 14 Pale o'er yon spring may hang in mute distress; Who dream of faith, of happiness, and truth, Of love—that Virtue would protect and bless.

Some musing Youth in silence there may bend, 15 Untimely stricken by sharp Sorrow's dart; For friendship formed, yet left without a friend, And bearing still the arrow at his heart.

Such was lamented RUSSELL'S[19] early doom, 16 The gay companion of our stripling prime; Ev'n so he sank unwept into the tomb, And o'er his head closed the dark gulph of time.

Hither he came, a wan and weary guest, 17 A softening balm for many a wound to crave; And wooed the sunshine to his aching breast, Which now seems smiling on his verdant grave!

He heard the whispering winds that now I hear, 18 As, boding much, along these hills he passed; Yet ah! how mournful did they meet his ear On that sad morn he heard them for the last!

So sinks the scene, like a departed dream, 19 Since late we sojourned blythe in Wykeham's bowers,[20] Or heard the merry bells by Isis' stream, And thought our way was strewed with fairy flowers!

Of those with whom we played upon the lawn 20 Of early life, in the fresh morning played; Alas! how many, since that vernal dawn, Like thee, poor RUSSELL, 'neath the turf are laid!

Joyous a while they wandered hand in hand, 21 By friendship led along the springtide plain; How oft did Fancy wake her transports bland, And on the lids the glistening tear detain!

I yet survive, now musing other song, 22 Than that which early pleased my vacant years; Thinking how days and hours have passed along, Marked by much pleasure some, and some by tears!

Thankful, that to these verdant scenes I owe 23 That he[21] whom late I saw all drooping pale, Raised from the couch of sickness and of woe, Now lives with me these mantling views to hail.

Thankful, that still the landscape beaming bright, 24 Of pendant mountain, or of woodland gray, Can wake the wonted sense of pure delight, And charm a while my solitary way.

Enough:—through the high heaven the proud sun rides, 25 My wandering steps their silent path pursue Back to the crowded world where fortune guides: Clifton, to thy white rocks and woods adieu!

[16] Afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury.

[17] Bristol.

[18] From a latin prize poem, by W. Jackson—

"Et lacerum Pectus zephyri mulcere tepentes."

[19] The Rev. Thomas Russell, Fellow of New College, Oxford, author of some beautiful sonnets, died at the Hotwells 1788, in the twenty-sixth year of his age. His poems were first published by Mr Howley, with whom we wooed the Muses together on the banks of Itchen. Headley was a pupil of Dr Parr.

[20] Winchester College.

[21] The Rev. Dr Howley, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury.


To every gentle Muse in vain allied, In youth's full early morning HEADLEY died! Too long had sickness left her pining trace, With slow, still touch, on each decaying grace: Untimely sorrow marked his thoughtful mien! Despair upon his languid smile was seen! Yet Resignation, musing on the grave, (When now no hope could cheer, no pity save), And Virtue, that scarce felt its fate severe, And pale Affection, dropping soft a tear 10 For friends beloved, from whom she soon must part, Breathed a sad solace on his aching heart. Nor ceased he yet to stray, where, winding wild, The Muse's path his drooping steps beguiled, Intent to rescue some neglected rhyme, Lone-blooming, from the mournful waste of time; And cull each scattered sweet, that seemed to smile Like flowers upon some long-forsaken pile.[22] Far from the murmuring crowd, unseen, he sought Each charm congenial to his saddened thought. 20 When the gray morn illumed the mountain's side, To hear the sweet birds' earliest song he hied; When meekest eve to the fold's distant bell Listened, and bade the woods and vales farewell, Musing in tearful mood, he oft was seen The last that lingered on the fading green. The waving wood high o'er the cliff reclined, The murmuring waterfall, the winter's wind, His temper's trembling texture seemed to suit; 29 As airs of sadness the responsive lute. Yet deem not hence the social spirit dead, Though from the world's hard gaze his feelings fled: Firm was his friendship, and his faith sincere, And warm as Pity's his unheeded tear, That wept the ruthless deed, the poor man's fate, By fortune's storms left cold and desolate. Farewell! yet be this humble tribute paid To all his virtues, from that social shade Where once we sojourned.[23] I, alas! remain To mourn the hours of youth, yet mourn in vain, 40 That fled neglected. Wisely thou hast trod The better path; and that High Meed, which GOD Ordained for Virtue towering from the dust, Shall bless thy labours, spirit pure and just!

[22] Alluding to the Beauties of Ancient Poetry, published by Mr Headley, a short time before his death. He was also the author of some pleasing original poetry.

[23] Trinity College, Oxford. Among my contemporaries were several young men of literary taste and talent, Headley, Kett, Benwell, Dallaway, Richards, and Dornford; Thomas Warton was one of the Senior Fellows.


Mortal! who, armed with holy fortitude, The path of good right onward hast pursued; May HE, to whose eternal throne on high The sufferers of the earth with anguish cry, Be thy protector! On that dreary road That leads thee patient to the last abode Of wretchedness, in peril and in pain, May HE thy steps direct, thy heart sustain! 'Mid scenes, where pestilence in darkness flies; In caverns, where deserted misery lies; 10 So safe beneath His shadow thou may'st go, To cheer the dismal wastes of human woe. O CHARITY! our helpless nature's pride, Thou friend to him who knows no friend beside, Is there in morning's breath, or the sweet gale That steals o'er the tired pilgrim of the vale, Cheering with fragrance fresh his weary frame, Aught like the incense of thy sacred flame? Is aught in all the beauties that adorn The azure heaven, or purple lights of morn; 20 Is aught so fair in evening's lingering gleam, As from thine eye the meek and pensive beam That falls like saddest moonlight on the hill And distant grove, when the wide world is still! Thine are the ample views, that unconfined Stretch to the utmost walks of human kind: Thine is the spirit that with widest plan Brother to brother binds, and man to man. But who for thee, O Charity! will bear Hardship, and cope with peril and with care! 30 Who, for thy sake, will social sweets forego For scenes of sickness, and the sights of woe! Who, for thy sake, will seek the prison's gloom, Where ghastly Guilt implores her lingering doom; Where Penitence unpitied sits, and pale, That never told to human ears her tale; Where Agony, half-famished, cries in vain; Where dark Despondence murmurs o'er her chain; Where gaunt Disease is wasted to the bone, And hollow-eyed Despair forgets to groan! 40 Approving Mercy marks the vast design, And proudly cries—HOWARD, the task be thine! Already 'mid the darksome vaults profound, The inner prison deep beneath the ground, Consoling hath thy tender look appeared: In horror's realm the voice of peace is heard! Be the sad scene disclosed; fearless unfold The grating door—the inmost cell behold! Thought shrinks from the dread sight; the paly lamp Burns faint amid the infectious vapours damp; 50 Beneath its light full many a livid mien, And haggard eye-ball, through the dusk are seen. In thought I see thee, at each hollow sound, With humid lids oft anxious gaze around. But oh! for him who, to yon vault confined, Has bid a long farewell to human kind; His wasted form, his cold and bloodless cheek, A tale of sadder sorrow seem to speak: Of friends, perhaps now mingled with the dead; Of hope, that, like a faithless flatterer, fled 60 In the utmost hour of need; or of a son Cast to the bleak world's mercy; or of one Whose heart was broken, when the stern behest Tore him from pale affection's bleeding breast. Despairing, from his cold and flinty bed, With fearful muttering he has raised his head: What pitying spirit, what unwonted guest, Strays to this last retreat, these shades unblest? From life and light shut out, beneath this cell Long have I bid the cheering sun farewell. 70 I heard for ever closed the jealous door, I marked my bed on the forsaken floor, I had no hope on earth, no human friend: Let me unpitied to the dust descend! Cold is his frozen heart—his eye is reared To Heaven no more—and on his sable beard The tear has ceased to fall. Thou canst not bring Back to his mournful heart the morn of spring;— Thou canst not bid the rose of health renew Upon his wasted cheek its crimson hue; 80 But at thy look, (ere yet to hate resigned, He murmurs his last curses on mankind), At thy kind look one tender thought shall rise, And his full soul shall thank thee ere he dies! Oh ye, who list to Pleasure's vacant song, As in her silken train ye troop along; Who, like rank cowards, from affliction fly, Or, whilst the precious hours of life pass by, Lie slumbering in the sun! Awake, arise, To these instructive pictures turn your eyes; 90 The awful view with other feelings scan, And learn from HOWARD what man owes to man! These, Virtue! are thy triumphs, that adorn Fitliest our nature, and bespeak us born For loftier action; not to gaze and run From clime to clime; nor flutter in the sun, Dragging a droning flight from flower to flower, Like summer insects in a gaudy hour; Nor yet o'er love-sick tales with fancy range, And cry—'Tis pitiful, 'tis wondrous strange! 100 But on life's varied views to look around, And raise expiring sorrow from the ground:— And he who thus has borne his part assigned In the sad fellowship of human kind, Or for a moment soothed the bitter pain Of a poor brother, has not lived in vain! But 'tis not that Compassion should bestow An unavailing tear on want or woe: Lo! fairer Order rises from thy plan, Befriending virtue, and adorning man. 110 That Comfort cheers the dark abode of pain, Where wan Disease prayed for relief in vain; That Mercy soothes the hard behest of law; That Misery smiles upon her bed of straw; That the dark felon's clan no more, combined, Murmur in murderous leagues against mankind; That to each cell, a mild yet mournful guest, Contrition comes, and calms the laboring breast, Whilst long-forgotten tears of virtue flow; Thou, generous friend of all—to thee we owe! 120 To thee, that Pity sees her views expand To many a cheerless haunt, and distant land! Whilst warm Philanthropy extends her ray, Wide as the world, and general as the day! HOWARD! I view those deeds, and think how vain The triumphs of weak man, the feeble strain That Flattery brings to Conquest's crimson car, Amid the bannered host, and the proud tents of war! From realm to realm the hideous War-fiend hies Wide o'er the wasted earth; before him flies 130 Affright, on pinions fleeter than the wind; Whilst Death and Desolation fast behind The havoc of his echoing march pursue: Meantime his steps are bathed in the warm dew Of bloodshed, and of tears;—but his dread name Shall perish—the loud clarion of his fame One day shall cease, and, wrapt in hideous gloom, Forgetfulness bestride his shapeless tomb! But bear thou fearless on;—the God of all, To whom the afflicted kneel, the friendless call, 140 From His high throne of mercy shall approve The holy deeds of Mercy and of Love: For when the vanities of life's brief day Oblivion's hurrying wing shall sweep away, Each act by Charity and Mercy done, 145 High o'er the wrecks of time, shall live alone, Immortal as the heavens, and beauteous bloom To other worlds, and realms beyond the tomb.


Spirit of Death! whose outstretched pennons dread Wave o'er the world beneath their shadow spread; Who darkly speedest on thy destined way, Midst shrieks and cries, and sounds of dire dismay; Spirit! behold thy victory! Assume A form more terrible, an ampler plume; For he, who wandered o'er the world alone, Listening to Misery's universal moan; He who, sustained by Virtue's arm sublime, Tended the sick and poor from clime to clime, 10 Low in the dust is laid, thy noblest spoil! And Mercy ceases from her awful toil! 'Twas where the pestilence at thy command Arose to desolate the sickening land, When many a mingled cry and dying prayer Resounded to the listening midnight air, When deep dismay heard not the frequent knell, And the wan carcase festered as it fell: 'Twas there, with holy Virtue's awful mien, Amid the sad sights of that fearful scene, 20 Calm he was found: the dews of death he dried; He spoke of comfort to the poor that cried; He watched the fading eye, the flagging breath, Ere yet the languid sense was lost in death; And with that look protecting angels wear, Hung o'er the dismal couch of pale Despair! Friend of mankind! thy righteous task is o'er; The heart that throbbed with pity beats no more. Around the limits of this rolling sphere, Where'er the just and good thy tale shall hear, 30 A tear shall fall: alone, amidst the gloom Of the still dungeon, his long sorrow's tomb, The captive, mourning, o'er his chain shall bend, To think the cold earth holds his only friend! He who with labour draws his wasting breath On the forsaken silent bed of death, Remembering thy last look and anxious eye, Shall gaze around, unvisited, and die. Friend of mankind, farewell! These tears we shed— So nature dictates—o'er thy earthly bed; 40 Yet we forget not, it was His high will, Who saw thee Virtue's arduous task fulfil, Thy spirit from its toil at last should rest:— So wills thy GOD, and what He wills is best! Thou hast encountered dark Disease's train, Thou hast conversed with Poverty and Pain, Thou hast beheld the dreariest forms of woe, That through this mournful vale unfriended go; And, pale with sympathy, hast paused to hear The saddest plaints e'er told to human ear. 50 Go then, the task fulfilled, the trial o'er, Where sickness, want, and pain are known no more! How awful did thy lonely track appear, Enlightening Misery's benighted sphere! As when an angel all-serene goes forth To still the raging tempest of the north, The embattled clouds that hid the struggling day, Slow from his face retire in dark array; On the black waves, like promontories hung, A light, as of the orient morn, is flung, 60 Till blue and level heaves the silent brine, And the new-lighted rocks at distance shine; Ev'n so didst thou go forth with cheering eye— Before thy glance the shades of misery fly; So didst thou hush the tempest, stilling wide Of human woe the loud-lamenting tide. Nor shall the spirit of those deeds expire, As fades the feeble spark of vital fire, But beam abroad, and cheer with lustre mild Humanity's remotest prospects wild, 70 Till this frail orb shall from its sphere be hurled, Till final ruin hush the murmuring world, And all its sorrows, at the awful blast Of the archangel's trump, be but as shadows past! Relentless Time, that steals with silent tread, Shall tear away the trophies of the dead. Fame, on the pyramid's aspiring top, With sighs shall her recording trumpet drop; The feeble characters of Glory's hand Shall perish, like the tracks upon the sand; 80 But not with these expire the sacred flame Of Virtue, or the good man's honoured name. HOWARD! it matters not, that far away From Albion's peaceful shore thy bones decay: Him it might please, by whose sustaining hand Thy steps were led through many a distant land. Thy long and last abode should there be found, Where many a savage nation prowls around: That Virtue from the hallowed spot might rise, And, pointing to the finished sacrifice, 90 Teach to the roving Tartar's savage clan Lessons of love, and higher aims of man. The hoary chieftain, who thy tale shall hear, Pale on thy grave shall drop his faltering spear; The cold, unpitying Cossack thirst no more To bathe his burning falchion deep in gore; Relentless to the cry of carnage speed, Or urge o'er gasping heaps his panting steed! Nor vain the thought that fairer hence may rise New views of life, and wider charities. 100 Far from the bleak Riphean mountains hoar, From the cold Don, and Wolga's wandering shore, From many a shady forest's lengthening tract, From many a dark-descending cataract, Succeeding tribes shall come, and o'er the place, Where sleeps the general friend of human race, Instruct their children what a debt they owe; Speak of the man who trode the paths of woe; Then bid them to their native woods depart, With new-born virtue stirring in their heart. 110 When o'er the sounding Euxine's stormy tides In hostile pomp the Turk's proud navy rides, Bent on the frontiers of the Imperial Czar, To pour the tempest of vindictive war; If onward to those shores they haply steer, Where, HOWARD, thy cold dust reposes near, Whilst o'er the wave the silken pennants stream, And seen far off the golden crescents gleam, Amid the pomp of war, the swelling breast Shall feel a still unwonted awe impressed, 120 And the relenting Pagan turn aside To think—on yonder shore the Christian died! But thou, O Briton! doomed perhaps to roam An exile many a year and far from home, If ever fortune thy lone footsteps leads To the wild Nieper's banks, and whispering reeds, O'er HOWARD's grave thou shalt impassioned bend, As if to hold sad converse with a friend. Whate'er thy fate upon this various scene, Where'er thy weary pilgrimage hath been, 130 There shalt thou pause; and shutting from thy heart Some vain regrets that oft unbidden start, Think upon him to every lot resigned, Who wept, who toiled, and perished for mankind. For me, who musing, HOWARD, on thy fate, These pensive strains at evening meditate, I thank thee for the lessons thou hast taught To mend my heart, or animate my thought. I thank thee, HOWARD, for that awful view Of life which thou hast drawn, most sad, most true. 140 Thou art no more! and the frail fading bloom Of this poor offering dies upon thy tomb. Beyond the transient sound of earthly praise Thy virtues live, perhaps, in seraph's lays! I, borne in thought, to the wild Nieper's wave, Sigh to the reeds that whisper o'er thy grave.[24]

[24] The town of Cherson, on the Black Sea, where Howard the philanthropist died, is entirely supplied with fuel by reeds, of which there is an inexhaustible forest in the shallows of the Nieper.—Craven's Travels.


O sovereign Master! who with lonely state 1 Dost rule as in some isle's enchanted land, On whom soft airs and shadowy spirits wait, Whilst scenes of "faerie" bloom at thy command, On thy wild shores forgetful could I lie, And list, till earth dissolved to thy sweet minstrelsy!

Called by thy magic from the hoary deep, 2 Aerial forms should in bright troops ascend, And then a wondrous masque before me sweep; Whilst sounds, that the earth owned not, seem to blend Their stealing melodies, that when the strain Ceased, I should weep, and would so dream again!

The song hath ceased. Ah! who, pale shade, art thou, 3 Sad raving to the rude tempestuous night! Sure thou hast had much wrong, so stern thy brow, So piteous thou dost tear thy tresses white; So wildly thou dost cry, Blow, bitter wind! Ye elements, I call not you unkind![25]

Beneath the shade of nodding branches gray, 4 'Mid rude romantic woods, and glens forlorn, The merry hunters wear the hours away; Rings the deep forest to the joyous horn! Joyous to all, but him,[26] who with sad look Hangs idly musing by the brawling brook.

But mark the merry elves of fairy land![27] 5 To the high moon's gleamy glance, They with shadowy morrice dance; Soft music dies along the desert sand; Soon at peep of cold-eyed day, Soon the numerous lights decay; Merrily, now merrily, After the dewy moon they fly.

The charm is wrought: I see an aged form, 6 In white robes, on the winding sea-shore stand; O'er the careering surge he waves his wand: Hark! on the bleak rock bursts the swelling storm: Now from bright opening clouds I hear a lay, Come to these yellow sands, fair stranger,[28] come away!

Saw ye pass by the weird sisters pale![29] 7 Marked ye the lowering castle on the heath! Hark, hark, is the deed done—the deed of death! The deed is done:—Hail, king of Scotland, hail! I see no more;—to many a fearful sound The bloody cauldron sinks, and all is dark around.

Pity! touch the trembling strings, 8 A maid, a beauteous maniac, wildly sings: They laid him in the ground so cold,[30] Upon his breast the earth is thrown; High is heaped the grassy mould, Oh! he is dead and gone. The winds of the winter blow o'er his cold breast, But pleasant shall be his rest.

O sovereign Master! at whose sole command 9 We start with terror, or with pity weep; Oh! where is now thy all-creating wand; Buried ten thousand thousand fathoms deep! The staff is broke, the powerful spell is fled, And never earthly guest shall in thy circle tread.

[25] Lear.

[26] Jaques: As You Like It.

[27] Midsummer Night's Dream.

[28] Ferdinand: see The Tempest.

[29] See Macbeth.

[30] Ophelia: Hamlet.


I climb the highest cliff; I hear the sound Of dashing waves; I gaze intent around; I mark the gray cope, and the hollowness Of heaven, and the great sun, that comes to bless The isles again; but my long-straining eye, No speck, no shadow can, far off, descry, That I might weep tears of delight, and say, It is the bark that bore my child away! Sun, that returnest bright, beneath whose eye The worlds unknown, and out-stretched waters lie, 10 Dost thou behold him now! On some rude shore, Around whose crags the cheerless billows roar, Watching the unwearied surges doth he stand, And think upon his father's distant land! Or has his heart forgot, so far away, These native woods, these rocks, and torrents gray, The tall bananas whispering to the breeze, The shores, the sound of these encircling seas, Heard from his infant days, and the piled heap Of holy stones, where his forefathers sleep! 20 Ah, me! till sunk by sorrow, I shall dwell With them forgetful in the narrow cell, Never shall time from my fond heart efface His image; oft his shadow I shall trace Upon the glimmering waters, when on high The white moon wanders through the cloudless sky. Oft in my silent cave, when to its fire From the night's rushing tempest we retire, I shall behold his form, his aspect bland; I shall retrace his footsteps on the sand; 30 And, when the hollow-sounding surges swell, Still think I listen to his echoing shell. Would I had perished ere that hapless day, When the tall vessel, in its trim array, First rushed upon the sounding surge, and bore My age's comfort from this sheltering shore! I saw it spread its white wings to the wind, Too soon it left these hills and woods behind, Gazing, its course I followed till mine eye No longer could its distant track descry; 40 Till on the confines of the billows hoar A while it hung, and then was seen no more, And only the blue hollow cope I spied, And the long waste of waters tossing wide. More mournful then each falling surge I heard, Then dropt the stagnant tear upon my beard. Methought the wild waves said, amidst their roar At midnight, Thou shalt see thy son no more! Now thrice twelve moons through the mid heavens have rolled And many a dawn, and slow night, have I told: 50 And still as every weary day goes by, A knot recording on my line I tie;[31] But never more, emerging from the main, I see the stranger's bark approach again. Has the fell storm o'erwhelmed him! Has its sweep Buried the bounding vessel in the deep! Is he cast bleeding on some desert plain! Upon his father did he call in vain! Have pitiless and bloody tribes defiled The cold limbs of my brave, my beauteous child! 60 Oh! I shall never, never hear his voice; The spring-time shall return, the isles rejoice, But faint and weary I shall meet the morn, And 'mid the cheering sunshine droop forlorn! The joyous conch sounds in the high wood loud, O'er all the beach now stream the busy crowd; Fresh breezes stir the waving plantain grove; The fisher carols in the winding cove; And light canoes along the lucid tide With painted shells and sparkling paddles glide. 70 I linger on the desert rock alone, Heartless, and cry for thee, my son, my son.

[31] I find on referring to the narrative of Captain Wilson's voyage to the Pelew Islands, that the knots were tied at the time of Prince Le Boo's departure, and that one was untied every moon by the disconsolate father.

The evening before the "Oroolong" sailed, the King asked Captain Wilson how long it might be before his return to Pelew; and being told that it would probably be about thirty moons, or might chance to extend to six more, Abba Thule drew from his basket a piece of line, and after making thirty knots on it, a little distance from each other, left a long space, and then adding six others, carefully put it by.


Smooth went our boat upon the summer seas, Leaving, for so it seemed, the world behind, Its sounds of mingled uproar: we, reclined Upon the sunny deck, heard but the breeze That o'er us whispering passed, or idly played With the lithe flag aloft. A woodland scene On either side drew its slope line of green, And hung the water's shining edge with shade. Above the woods, Netley! thy ruins pale Peered as we passed; and Vecta's[32] azure hue 10 Beyond the misty castle[33] met our view; Where in mid channel hung the scarce seen sail. So all was calm and sunshine as we went Cheerily o'er the briny element. Oh! were this little boat to us the world, As thus we wandered far from sounds of care, Circled by friends and gentle maidens fair, Whilst morning airs the waving pennant curled; How sweet were life's long voyage, till in peace We gained that haven still, where all things cease! 20

[32] Isle of Wight.

[33] Kelshot Castle.



When Want, with wasted mien and haggard eye, Retires in silence to her cell to die; When o'er her child she hangs with speechless dread, Faint and despairing of to-morrow's bread; Who shall approach to bid the conflict cease, And to her parting spirit whisper peace! Who thee, poor infant, that with aspect bland Dost stretch forth innocent thy helpless hand, Shall pitying then protect, when thou art thrown On the world's waste, unfriended and alone! 10 O hapless Infancy! if aught could move The hardest heart to pity and to love 'Twere surely found in thee: dim passions mark Stern manhood's brow, where age impresses dark The stealing line of sorrow; but thine eye Wears not distrust, or grief, or perfidy. Though fortune's storms with dismal shadow lower, Thy heart nor fears, nor feels the bitter shower; Thy tear is soon forgotten; thou wilt weep, And then the murmuring winds will hush thy sleep, 20 As 'twere with some sad music;—and thy smiles, Unlike to those that cover cruel wiles, Plead best thy speechless innocence, and lend A charm might win the world to be thy friend. But thou art oft abandoned in thy smiles, And early vice thy easy heart beguiles. Oh for some voice, that of the secret maze Where the grim passions lurk, the winding ways That lead to sin, and ruth, and deep lament, Might haply warn thee, whilst yet innocent 30 And beauteous as the spring-time o'er the hills Advancing, when each vale glad music fills! Else lost and wandering, the benighted mind No spot of rest again shall ever find; Then the sweet smiles, that erst enchanting laid Their magic beauty on thy look, shall fade; Then the bird's warbled song no more shall cheer With morning music thy delighted ear; Fell thoughts and muttering passions shall awake, And the fair rose the sullied cheek forsake! 40 As when still Autumn's gradual gloom is laid Far o'er the fading forest's saddened shade, A mournful gleam illumines the cold hill, Yet palely wandering o'er the distant rill; But when the hollow gust, slow rising, raves, And high the pine on yon lone summit waves, Each milder charm, like pictures of a dream, Hath perished, mute the birds, and dark the stream! Scuds the dreer sleet upon the whirlwind borne, And scowls the landscape clouded and forlorn! 50 So fades, so perishes frail Virtue's hue; Her last and lingering smile seems but to rue, Like autumn, every summer beauty reft, Till all is dark and to the winter left. Yet spring, with living touch, shall paint again The green-leaved forest, and the purple plain; With mingling melody the woods shall ring, The whispering breeze its long-lost incense fling: But, Innocence! when once thy tender flower The sickly taint has touched, where is the power 60 That shall bring back its fragrance, or restore The tints of loveliness, that shine no more? How then for thee, who pinest in life's gloom, Abandoned child! can hope or virtue bloom! For thee, exposed amid the desert drear, Which no glad gales or vernal sunbeams cheer! Though some there are, who lift their head sublime, Nor heed the transient storms of fate or time; Too oft, alas! beneath unfriendly skies, The tender blossom shrinks its leaves, and dies! 70 Go, struggle with thy fate, pursue thy way;— Though thou art poor, the world around is gay! Thou hast no bread; but on thy aching sight Proud luxury's pavilions glitter bright; In thy cold ear the song of gladness swells, Whilst vacant folly chimes her tinkling bells: The careless crowd prolong their hollow glee, Nor one relenting bosom thinks of thee. Will not the indignant spirit then rebel, And the dark tide of passions fearful swell! 80 Will not despight, perhaps, or bitter need, Urge then thy temper to some direful deed! Pale Guilt shall call thee to her ghastly band, Or Murder welcome thee with reeking hand! O wretched state, where our best feelings lie Deep sunk in sullen, hopeless apathy! Or wakeful cares, or gloomy terrors start, And night and tempest mingle in the heart! All mournful to the pensive sage's eye, The monuments of human glory lie; 90 Fall'n palaces, crushed by the ruthless haste Of time, and many an empire's silent waste, Where, 'midst the vale of long-departed years, The form of desolation dim appears, Pointing to the wild plain with ruin spread, The wrecks of age, and records of the dead! But where a sight shall shuddering sorrow find, Sad as the ruins of the human mind;— As Man, by his GREAT MAKER raised sublime Amid the universe, ordained to climb 100 The arduous height where Virtue sits serene;— As Man, the high lord of this nether scene, So fall'n, so lost!—his noblest boast destroyed, His sweet affections left a piteous void! But oh, sweet Charity! what sounds were those That met the listening ear, soft as the close Of distant music, when the hum of day Is hushed, and dying gales the airs convey! Come, hapless orphans, meek Compassion cried, Where'er, unsheltered outcasts! ye abide 110 The bitter driving wind, the freezing sky, The oppressor's scourge, the proud man's contumely; Come, hapless orphans! ye who never saw A tear of kindness shed on your cold straw; Who never met with joy the morning light, Or lisped your little prayer of peace at night; Come, hapless orphans! nor, when youth should spring Soaring aloft, as on an eagle's wing, Shall ye forsaken on the ground be left, Of hope, of virtue, and of peace bereft! 120 Far from the springtide gale, and joyous day, In the deep caverns of Despair ye lay: She, iron-hearted mother, never pressed Your wasted forms with transport to her breast; When none o'er all the world your 'plaint would hear, She never kissed away the falling tear, Or fondly smiled, forgetful, to behold Some infant grace its early charm unfold. She ne'er with mingling hopes and rising fears, Sighed for the fortune of your future years: 130 Or saw you hand in hand rejoicing stray Beneath the morning sun, on youth's delightful way. But happier scenes invite, and fairer skies; From your dark bed, children of woe, arise! In caves where peace ne'er smiled, where joy ne'er came, Where Friendship's eye ne'er glistened at the name Of one she loved, where famine and despair Sat silent 'mid the damp and lurid air, The soothing voice is heard; a beam of light Is cast upon their features, sunk and white; 140 With trembling joy they catch the stealing sound; Their famished little ones come smiling round. Sweet Infancy! whom all the world forsook, Thou hast put on again thy cherub look: Guilt, shrinking at the sight, in deep dismay Flies cowering, and resigns his wonted prey. But who is she, in garb of misery clad, Yet of less vulgar mien? A look so sad The mourning maniac wears, so wild, yet meek; A beam of joy now wanders o'er her cheek, 150 The pale eye visiting; it leaves it soon, As fade the dewy glances of the moon Upon some wandering cloud, while slow the ray Retires, and leaves more dark the heaven's wide way. Lost mother, early doomed to guilt and shame, Whose friends of youth now sigh not o'er thy name, Heavy has sorrow fall'n upon thy head, Yet think—one hope remains when thou art dead; Thy houseless child, thy only little one, Shall not look round, defenceless and alone, 160 For one to guide her youth;—nor with dismay Each stranger's cold unfeeling look survey. She shall not now be left a prey to shame, Whilst slow disease preys on her faded frame; Nor, when the bloom of innocence is fled, Thus fainting bow her unprotected head. Oh, she shall live, and Piety and Truth, The loveliest ornaments, shall grace her youth. And should her eye with softest lustre shine, And should she wear such smiles as once were thine, 170 The smiles of peace and virtue they shall prove, Blessing the calm abode of faithful love. For ye[35] who thus, by pure compassion taught, Have wept o'er human sorrows;—who have sought Want's dismal cell, and pale as from the dead To life and light the speechless orphan led;— Trust that the deed, in Mercy's book enrolled, Approving spirits of the just behold! Meanwhile, new virtues here, as on the wing Of morn, from Sorrow's dreary shades shall spring; 180 Young Modesty, with fair untainted bloom; And Industry, that sings beside her loom; And ruddy Labour, issuing from his hatch Ere the slant sunbeam strikes the lowly thatch; And sweet Contentment, smiling on a rock, Like a fair shepherdess beside her flock; And tender Love, that hastes with myrtle-braid To bind the tresses of the favoured maid; And Piety, with unclasped holy book, Lifting to heaven her mildly-beaming look: 190 These village virtues on the plain shall throng, And Albion's hills resound a cheerful song; Whilst Charity, with dewy eyelids bland, Leading a lisping infant in her hand, Shall bend at pure Religion's holy shrine, And say, These children, GOD OF LOVE, are thine!

[34] The Philanthropic Society was instituted in September 1788, for the prevention of crimes, by seeking out and training up to virtue and industry the children of the most abject and criminal among the vagrant and profligate poor; by these means more effectually to alleviate human misery, and to oppose the progress of vice.

[35] The promoters of the charity.


Faint-gazing on the burning orb of day, When Afric's injured son expiring lay, His forehead cold, his labouring bosom bare, His dewy temples, and his sable hair, His poor companions kissed, and cried aloud, Rejoicing, whilst his head in peace he bowed:— Now thy long, long task is done, Swiftly, brother, wilt thou run, Ere to-morrow's golden beam Glitter on thy parent stream, 10 Swiftly the delights to share, The feast of joy that waits thee there. Swiftly, brother, wilt thou ride O'er the long and stormy tide, Fleeter than the hurricane, Till thou see'st those scenes again, Where thy father's hut was reared, Where thy mother's voice was heard; Where thy infant brothers played Beneath the fragrant citron shade; 20 Where through green savannahs wide Cooling rivers silent glide, Or the shrill cicalas sing Ceaseless to their murmuring; Where the dance, the festive song, Of many a friend divided long, Doomed through stranger lands to roam, Shall bid thy spirit welcome home! Fearless o'er the foaming tide Again thy light canoe shall ride; 30 Fearless on the embattled plain Thou shalt lift thy lance again; Or, starting at the call of morn, Wake the wild woods with thy horn; Or, rushing down the mountain-slope, O'ertake the nimble antelope; Or lead the dance, 'mid blissful bands, On cool Andracte's yellow sands; Or, in the embowering orange-grove, Tell to thy long-forsaken love 40 The wounds, the agony severe, Thy patient spirit suffered here! Fear not now the tyrant's power, Past is his insulting hour; Mark no more the sullen trait On slavery's brow of scorn and hate; Hear no more the long sigh borne Murmuring on the gales of morn! Go in peace; yet we remain Far distant toiling on in pain; 50 Ere the great Sun fire the skies To our work of woe we rise; And see each night, without a friend, The world's great comforter descend! Tell our brethren, where ye meet, Thus we toil with weary feet; Yet tell them that Love's generous flame, In joy, in wretchedness the same, In distant worlds was ne'er forgot; And tell them that we murmur not; 60 Tell them, though the pang will start, And drain the life-blood from the heart,— Tell them, generous shame forbids The tear to stain our burning lids! Tell them, in weariness and want, For our native hills we pant, Where soon, from shame and sorrow free, We hope in death to follow thee!


Stranger, stay, nor wish to climb The heights of yonder hills sublime; For there strange shapes and spirits dwell,[36] That oft the murmuring thunders swell, Of power from the impending steep To hurl thee headlong to the deep; But secure with us abide, By the winding river's side; Our gladsome toil, our pleasures share, And think not of a world of care. 10 The lonely cayman,[37] where he feeds Among the green high-bending reeds, Shall yield thee pastime; thy keen dart Through his bright scales shall pierce his heart. Home returning from our toils, Thou shalt bear the tiger's spoils; And we will sing our loudest strain O'er the forest-tyrant slain! Sometimes thou shalt pause to hear The beauteous cardinal sing clear; 20 Where hoary oaks, by time decayed, Nod in the deep wood's pathless glade; And the sun, with bursting ray, Quivers on the branches gray. By the river's craggy banks, O'erhung with stately cypress-ranks, Where the bush-bee[38] hums his song, Thy trim canoe shall glance along. To-night at least, in this retreat, Stranger! rest thy wandering feet; 30 To-morrow, with unerring bow, To the deep thickets fearless we will go.

[36] The Indians believe some of their high mountains to be inhabited by supernatural beings.

[37] The alligator.

[38] The bush-bee lives on shrubs and low trees.


Matlock! amid thy hoary-hanging views, Thy glens that smile sequestered, and thy nooks Which yon forsaken crag all dark o'erlooks; Once more I court the long neglected Muse, As erst when by the mossy brink and falls Of solitary Wainsbeck, or the side Of Clysdale's cliffs, where first her voice she tried, I strayed a pensive boy. Since then, the thralls That wait life's upland road have chilled her breast, And much, as much they might, her wing depressed. 10 Wan Indolence, resigned, her deadening hand Laid on her heart, and Fancy her cold wand Dropped at the frown of fortune; yet once more I call her, and once more her converse sweet, 'Mid the still limits of this wild retreat, I woo;—if yet delightful as of yore My heart she may revisit, nor deny The soothing aid of some sweet melody! I hail the rugged scene that bursts around; I mark the wreathed roots, the saplings gray, 20 That bend o'er the dark Derwent's wandering way; I mark its stream with peace-persuading sound, That steals beneath the fading foliage pale, Or, at the foot of frowning crags upreared, Complains like one forsaken and unheard. To me, it seems to tell the pensive tale Of spring-time, and the summer days all flown; And while sad autumn's voice ev'n now I hear Along the umbrage of the high-wood moan, At intervals, whose shivering leaves fall sere; 30 Whilst o'er the group of pendant groves I view The slowly-spreading tints of pining hue, I think of poor Humanity's brief day, How fast its blossoms fade, its summers speed away! When first young Hope, a golden-tressed boy,[39] Most musical his early madrigal Sings to the whispering waters as they fall, Breathing fresh airs of fragrance and of joy, The wild woods gently wave, the morning sheds Her rising radiance on the mountain heads, 40 Strewed with green isles appears old ocean's reign, And seen at distance rays of resting light Silver the farthest promontory's height: Then hushed is the long murmur of the main, Whilst silent o'er the slowly-crisping tides, Bound to some beaming spot, the bark of pleasure glides. Alas! the scenes that smile in light arrayed But catch the sense, and then in darkness fade. We, poor adventurers, of peace bereft, Look back on the green hills that late we left, 50 Or turn, with beating breast and anxious eye, To some faint hope that glimmering meets our sight (Like the lone watch-tower in the storm of night), Then on the dismal waste are driv'n despairing by! Meantime, amid the landscape cold and mute, Hope, sweet enchanter, sighing drops his lute: So sad decay and mortal change succeeds, And o'er the silent scene Time, like a giant, speeds! Yet the bleak cliffs that lift their heads so high (Around whose beetling crags, with ceaseless coil, 60 And still-returning flight, the ravens toil) Heed not the changeful seasons as they fly, Nor spring, nor autumn: they their hoary brow Uprear, and ages past, as in this now, The same deep trenches unsubdued have worn, The same majestic frown, and looks of lofty scorn. So Fortitude, a mailed warrior old, Appears; he lifts his scar-intrenched crest; The tempest gathers round his dauntless breast; He hears far off the storm of havoc rolled; 70 The feeble fall around: their sound is past; Their sun is set, their place no more is known; Like the wan leaves before the winter's blast They perish:—He, unshaken and alone Remains, his brow a sterner shade assumes, By age ennobled, whilst the hurricane, That raves resistless o'er the ravaged plain, But shakes unfelt his helmet's quivering plume. And so yon sovereign of the scene[40] I mark Above the woods rear his majestic head, 80 That soon all shattered at his feet shall shed Their short-lived beauties: he the winter dark Regardless, and the wasteful time that flies, Rejoicing in his lonely might, defies. Thee, wandering in the deep and craggy dell, Sequestered stream, with other thoughts I view: Thou dost in solitude thy course pursue, As thou hadst bid life's busy scenes farewell, Yet making still such music as might cheer The weary passenger that journeys near. 90 Such are the songs of Peace in Virtue's shade; Unheard of Folly, or the vacant train That pipe and dance upon the noontide plain, Till in the dust together they are laid! But not unheard of Him, who sits sublime Above the clouds of this tempestuous clime, Its stir and strife; to whom more grateful rise The humble incense, and the still small voice Of those that on their pensive way rejoice, Than shouts of thousands echoing to the skies; 100 Than songs of conquest pealing round the car Of hard Ambition, or the Fiend of War, Sated with slaughter. Nor may I, sweet stream, From thy wild banks and still retreats depart, Where now I meditate my casual theme, Without some mild improvement on my heart Poured sad, yet pleasing! so may I forget The crosses and the cares that sometimes fret Life's smoothest channel, and each wish prevent 109 That mars the silent current of content! In such a spot, amidst these rugged views, The pensive poet in his drooping age Might wish to place his reed-roofed hermitage; Where much on life's vain shadows he might muse. If fortune smiled not on his early way, If he were doomed to mourn a faithless friend, Here he might rest, and when his hairs were gray, Behold in peace the parting day descend. If a hard world his errors scanned severe, When late the earth received his mouldering clay, 120 Perhaps some loved companion, wandering near, Plucking the gray moss from the stone, might say: Him I remember, in our careless days, Vacant and glad, till many a loss severe First hung his placid eyelids with a tear; Yet on such visions ardent would he gaze, As the Muse loved, that oft would smile and die, Like the faint bow that leaves the weeping sky; His heart unguarded, yet it proudly beat Against hard wrong, or coward cold deceit;— 130 Nor passed he e'er without a sigh the cell Where wretchedness and her pale children dwell. He never wished to win the world's cold ear, Nor, prized by those he loved, its blame could fear; Its praise he left to those who, at their will, The ingenious strain of torturing art could trill! Content, as random fancies might inspire, If his weak reed, at times, or plaintive lyre, He touched with desultory hand, and drew Some softened tones, to Nature not untrue. 140 The leaves, O Derwent! on thy bosom still Oft with the gust now fall—the season pale Hath smote with hand unseen the silent vale, And slowly steals the verdure from the hill; So the fair scene departs, yet wears a while The lingering traces of its beauteous smile: But we who by thy margin stray, or climb The cliff's aerial height, or join the song Of hope and gladness amidst yonder throng, Losing the brief and fleeting hours of time, 150 Reck not how age, even thus, with icy hand, Hangs o'er us;—how, as with a wizard's wand, Youth blooming like the spring, and roseate mirth, To slow and sere consumption he shall change, And with invisible mutation strange, Withered and wasted send them to the earth; Whilst hushed, and by the mace of ruin rent, Sinks the forsaken hall of merriment! Bright bursts the sun upon the shaggy scene! The aged rocks their glittering summits gray 160 Hang beautiful amid the beams of day; And all the woods, with slowly-fading green, Yet smiling wave:—severer thoughts, away! The night is distant, and the lovely day Looks on us yet;—the sound of mirthful cheer From yonder dome comes pleasant to mine ear. From rock to rock reverberated swells, Hark,—the glad music of the village bells! On the crag's naked point the heifer lows, And wide below the brightening landscape glows! 170 Though brief the time and short our course to run, Derwent! amid the scenes that deck thy side, Ere yet the parting paths of life divide, Let us rejoice, seeking what may be won From the laborious day, or fortune's frown: Here may we, ere the sun of life goes down, A while regardless of the morrow, dwell; 177 Then to our destined roads, and speed us well!

[39] I have ventured in this place to make Hope a boy.

[40] Matlock High Tor.


Why mourns the ingenuous Moralist, whose mind Science has stored, and Piety refined, That fading Chivalry displays no more Her pomp and stately tournaments of yore! Lo! when Philosophy and Truth advance, Scared at their frown, she drops her glittering lance; Round her reft castles the pale ivy crawls, And sunk and silent are her bannered halls! As when far off the golden evening sails, And slowly sink the fancy-painted vales, 10 With rich pavilions spread in long array; So rolls the enchanter's radiant realm away; So on the sight the parting glories fade, The gorgeous vision sets in endless shade. But shall the musing mind for this lament, Or mourn the wizard's Gothic fabric rent! Shall he, with Fancy's poor and pensive child, Gaze on his shadowy vales, and prospects wild, With lingering love, and sighing bid farewell To the dim pictures of his parting spell! 20 No, BURKE! thy heart, by juster feelings led, Mourns for the spirit of high Honour fled; Mourns that Philosophy, abstract and cold, Withering should smite life's fancy-flowered mould; And many a smiling sympathy depart, That graced the sternness of the manly heart. Nor shall the wise and virtuous scan severe These fair illusions, ev'n to nature dear. Though now no more proud Chivalry recalls Her tourneys bright, and pealing festivals; 30 Though now on high her idle spear is hung, Though Time her mouldering harp has half unstrung; Her milder influence shall she still impart, To decorate, but not disguise, the heart; To nurse the tender sympathies that play In the short sunshine of life's early way; For female worth and meekness to inspire Homage and love, and temper rude desire; Nor seldom with sweet dreams sad thoughts to cheer, And half beguile affliction of her tear! 40 Lo! this her boast; and still, O BURKE! be thine Her glowing hues that warm, yet tempered shine; Whilst whispers bland, and fairest dreams, attend Thy evening path, till the last shade descend! So may she soothe, with loftier wisdom's aid, Thy musing leisure in the silent shade, And bid poor Fancy, her cold pinions wet, Life's cloudy skies and beating showers forget. But can her fairest form, her sweetest song, Soothe thee, assailed by calumny and wrong! 50 Ev'n now thy foes with louder accents cry: Champion of unrelenting tyranny, At Freedom hast thou aimed the deadly blow, And striven with impious arm to lay her altars low! No, BURKE! indignant at the voice we start: We trust thy liberal views, thy generous heart; We think of those who, naked, pale, and poor, Relieved and blessed, have wandered from thy door; We see thee with unwearied step explore Each track of bloodshed on the farthest shore 60 Of injured Asia, and thy swelling breast Harrowing the oppressor, mourning for the oppressed, No, BURKE! where'er Injustice rears her head, Where'er with blood her idol grim is fed; Where'er fell Cruelty, at her command, With crimson banner marches through the land, And striding, like a giant, onward hies, Whilst man, a trodden worm, looks up, and dies; Where'er pale Murder in her train appears, With reeking axe, and garments wet with tears; 70 Or, lowering Jealousy, unmoved as Fate, Bars fast the prison-cage's iron gate Upon the buried sorrows and the cries Of him who there, lost and forgotten, lies;— When ministers like these, in fearful state, Upon a bloody tyrant's bidding wait, Thou too shalt own (and Justice lift her rod) The cause of Freedom is the cause of GOD! Fair spirit, who dost rise in beauteous pride, Where proud Oppression hath thine arm defied! 80 When led by Virtue thou dost firm advance, And bathe in Guilt's warm blood thy burning lance; When all thy form its awful port assumes, And in the tempest shake thy crimson plumes, I mark thy lofty mien, thy steady eye, So fall thy foes! with tears of joy I cry. But ne'er may Anarchy, with eyes a-flame, And mien distract, assume thy awful name; Her pale torch sheds afar its hideous glare, And shows the blood-drops in her dabbled hair; 90 The fiends of discord hear her hollow voice, The spirits of the deathful storm rejoice: As when the rising blast with muttering sweep Sounds 'mid the branches of the forest deep, The sad horizon lowers, the parting sun Is hid, strange murmurs through the high wood run, The falcon wheels away his mournful flight, And leaves the glens to solitude and night; Till soon the hurricane, in dismal shroud, Comes fearful forth, and sounds her conch aloud; 100 The oak majestic bows his hoary head, And ruin round his ancient reign is spread: So the dark fiend, rejoicing in her might, Pours desolation and the storm of night; Before her dread career the good and just Fly far, or sink expiring in the dust; Wide wastes and mighty wrecks around her lie, And the earth trembles at her impious cry! Whether her temple, wet with human gore, She thus may raise on Gallia's ravaged shore, 110 Belongs to HIM alone, and His high will, Who bids the tempests of the world be still.[41] With joy we turn to Albion's happier plain, Where ancient Freedom holds her temperate reign; Where Justice sits majestic on her throne; Where Mercy turns her ear to every groan. O Albion! fairest isle, whose verdant plain Springs beauteous from the blue and billowy main; In peaceful pomp whose glittering cities rise, And lift their crowded temples to the skies; 120 Whose navy on the broad brine awful rolls; Whose commerce glows beneath the distant poles; Whose streams reflect full many an Attic pile; Whose velvet lawns in long luxuriance smile; Amid whose winding coombs contentment dwells, Whose vales rejoice to hear the Sabbath bells; Whose humblest shed, that steady laws protect, The villager with woodbine bowers hath decked! Sweet native land, whose every haunt is dear, Whose every gale is music to mine ear; 130 Amidst whose hills one poor retreat I sought, Where I might sometimes hide a saddening thought, And having wandered far, and marked mankind In their vain mask, might rest and safety find: Oh! still may Freedom, with majestic mien, Pacing thy rocks and the green vales, be seen; Around thy cliffs, that glitter o'er the main, May smiling Order wind her silver chain; Whilst from thy calm abodes, and azure skies, Far off the fiend of Discord murmuring flies! 140 To him who firm thy injured cause has fought, This humble offering, lo! the Muse has brought; Nor heed thou, BURKE, if, with averted eye, Scowling, cold Envy may thy worth decry! It is the lot of man:—the best oft mourn, As sad they journey through this cloudy bourne: If conscious Genius stamp their chosen breast, And on the forehead show her seal impressed, Perhaps they mourn, in bleak Misfortune's shade, Their age and cares with penury repaid; 150 Their errors deeply scanned, their worth forgot, Or marked by hard injustice with a blot. If high they soar, and keep their distant way, And spread their ample pinions to the day, Malignant Faction hears with hate their name, And all her tongues are busy with their fame. But 'tis enough to hold, as best we may, Our destined track, till sets the closing day; Whether with living lustre we adorn Our high sphere, like the radiance of the morn; 160 Or whether silent in the shade we move, Cheered by the lonely star of pensive love; Or whether wild opposing storms we stem, Panting for Virtue's distant diadem; 'Tis the unshaken mind, the conscience pure, That bids us firmly act, meekly endure; 'Tis this may shield us when the storm beats hard, Content, though poor, had we no other guard![42]

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