페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Strange faces, like to men in masquerade,

And here perhaps a monster, there a saint:

The spring gush'd through grim mouths of granite made, And sparkled into basins, where it spent

Its little torrent in a thousand bubbles,

Like man's vain glory, and his vainer troubles.

The mansion's self was vast and venerable,

With more of the monastic than has been

Elsewhere preserved: the cloisters still were stable,
The cells, too, and refectory, I ween:
An exquisite small chapel had been able,

Still unimpair'd, to decorate the scene;

The rest had been reform'd, replaced, or sunk,
And spoke more of the baron than the monk.

Huge halls, long galleries, spacious chambers, join'd
By no quite lawful marriage of the arts,
Might shock a connoisseur; but when combined,
Form'd a whole which, irregular in parts,

Yet left a grand impression on the mind,

At least of those whose eyes are in their hearts; We gaze upon a giant for his stature,

Nor judge at first if all be true to nature.

Steel barons, molten the next generation
To silken rows of gay and garter'd earls,
Glanced from the walls in goodly preservation :
And Lady Marys blooming into girls,

With fair long locks, had also kept their station:
And countesses mature in robes and pearls;
Also some beauties of Sir Peter Lely,

Whose drapery hints we may admire them freely.
Judges in very formidable ermine

Were there, with brows that did not much invite The accused to think their lordships would determine His cause by leaning much from might to right : Bishops, who had not left a single sermon;

Attorneys-general, awful to the sight,

As hinting more (unless our judgments warp us)
Of the "Star Chamber" than of "Habeas Corpus."
Generals, some all in armour, of the old

And iron time, ere lead had ta'en the lead;
Others in wigs of Marlborough's martial fold,
Huger than twelve of our degenerate breed:
Lordlings, with staves of white or keys of gold:
Nimrods, whose canvas scarce contain'd the steed;
And here and there some stern high patriot stood,
Who could not get the place for which he sued.

But ever and anon, to soothe your vision,
Fatigued with these hereditary glories,
There rose a Carlo Dolce or a Titian,

Or wilder group of savage

Salvatore's:*

* Salvator Rosa.

Here danced Albano's boys, and here the sea shone
In Vernet's ocean lights; and there the stories
Of martyrs awed, as Spagnoletto tainted

His brush with all the blood of all the sainted.

Here sweetly spread a landscape of Lorraine;
There Rembrandt made his darkness equal light,
Or gloomy Caravaggio's gloomier stain

Bronzed o'er some lean and stoic anchorite :-
But, lo! a Teniers woos, and not in vain,

Your eyes to revel in a livelier sight:

His bell-mouth'd goblet makes me feel quite Danish
Or Dutch with thirst-What, ho! a flask of Rhenish.

THE SUICIDE.

A sleep without dreams, after a rough day
Of toil, is what we covet most; and yet

How clay shrinks back from more quiescent clay!
The very Suicide that pays his debt

At once without instalments (an old way
Of paying debts, which creditors regret)
Lets out impatiently his rushing breath,
Less from disgust of life than dread of death.

'Tis round him, near him, here, there, everywhere,
And there's a courage which grows out of fear,
Perhaps of all most desperate, which will dare

The worst to know it-when the mountains rear
Their peaks beneath your human foot, and there

You look down o'er the precipice, and drear
The gulf of rock yawns,-you can't gaze a minute,
Without an awful wish to plunge within it.

'Tis true, you don't, but, pale and struck with terror,
Retire: but look into your past impression!
And you will find, though shuddering at the mirror
Of your own thoughts, in all their self-confession,
The lurking bias, be it tuth or error,

To the unknown; a secret prepossession,

To plunge with all your fears-but where? You know

not.

And that's the reason why you do-or do not.

MOTIVES.

I hate a motive, like a lingering bottle

Which with the landlord makes too long a stand,
Leaving all claretless the unmoisten'd throttle,
Especially with politics on hand;

If I err not. "your Dane" is one of Iago's catalogue of nations “ in their drinking."

exquisite

I hate it, as I hate a drove of cattle,

Who whirl the dust as simooms whirl the sand;
I hate it as I hate an argument,

A laureate's ode, or servile peer's "content."

"Tis sad to hack into the roots of things,

They are so much intertwisted with the earth;
So that the branch a goodly verdure flings,
I reck not if an acorn gave it birth.
To trace all actions to their secret springs
Would make indeed some melancholy mirth;
But this is not at present my concern,
And I refer you to wise Oxenstiern.*

TRUTH.

"Tis strange, but true; for truth is always strange;
Stranger than fiction: if it could be told,
How much would novels gain by the exchange!
How differently the world would men behold!
How oft would vice and virtue places change!

The new world would be nothing to the old,
If some Columbus of the moral seas
Would shew mankind their souls' antipodes.
What "antres vast and deserts idle" then

Would be discover'd in the human soul!
What icebergs in the hearts of mighty men,
With self-love in the centre as their pole!
What Anthropophagi are nine of ten

Of those who hold the kingdoms in control!
Were things but only call'd by their right name,
Cæsar himself would be ashamed of fame.

VANITY.

The evaporation of a joyous day

Is like the last glass of champagne, without
The foam which made its virgin bumper gay;
Or like a system coupled with a doubt;
Or like a soda bottle when its spray

Has sparkled and let half its spirit out;
Or like a billow left by storms behind,
Without the animation of the wind;

Or like an opiate, which brings troubled rest,
Or none; or like-like nothing that I know
Except itself;-such is the human breast;

A thing, of which similitudes can shew

The famous Chancellor Oxenstiern said to his son, on the latter expressing his surprise upon the great effects arising from petty causes in the presumed mystery of politics: "You see by this, my son, with how little wisdom the kingdoms of the world are governed."

No real likeness, -like the old Tyrian vest
Dyed purple, none at present can tell how,
If from a shell-fish or from cochineal.*
So perish every tyrant's robe piece-meal!

But next to dressing for a rout or ball,
Undressing is a woe; our robe-de-chambre
May sit like that of Nessus, and recall

Thoughts quite as yellow, but less clear than amber.
Titus exclaim'd, "I've lost a day!" Of all

The nights and days most people can remember,
(I have had of both, some not to be disdain'd,)
I wish they'd state how many they have gain'd.

ADELINE'S SONG.

THE BLACK FRIAR.

1.

Beware! beware! of the Black Friar,
Who sitteth by Norman stone,

For he mutters his prayer in the midnight air,
And his mass of the days that are gone.

When the Lord of the Hill, Amundeville,
Made Norman Church his prey,

And expell'd the friars, one friar still
Would not be driven away.

2.

Though he came in his might, with King Henry's right,
To turn church lands to lay,

With sword in hand, and torch to light

Their walls if they said nay;

A monk remain'd unchased, unchain'd,

And he did not seem form'd of clay,

For he's seen in the porch, and he's seen in the church,
Though he is not seen by day.

3.

And whether for good, or whether for ill,

It is not mine to say;

But still with the house of Amundeville

He abideth night and day.

By the marriage-bed of their lords, 'tis said,

He flits on the bridal eve;

And 'tis held as faith, to their bed of death

He comes-but not to grieve.

4.

When an heir is born, he's heard to mourn,

And when aught is to befall

That ancient line, in the pale moonshine

He walks from hall to hall.

*The composition of the old Tyrian purple-whether from a shell-fish, or from cochineal, or from kermes, is still an article of dispute; and even its colour-some say purple, others scarlet: I say nothing.

His form you may trace, but not his face,

"Tis shadow'd by his cowl:

But his eyes may be seen from the folds between, And they seem of a parted soul.

5.

But beware! beware! of the Black Friar,

He still retains his sway,

For he is yet the Church's heir
Whoever may be the lay.
Amundeville is lord by day,

But the monk is lord by night;

Nor wine nor wassail could raise a vassal,
To question that friar's right.

6.

Say nought to him as he walks the hall,
And he'll say nought to you:

He sweeps along in his dusky pall,
As o'er the grass the dew.

Then grammercy! for the Black Friar;
Heaven sain him! fair or foul,

And whatsoe'er may be his prayer,
Let ours be for his soul.

THE END.

BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH.

« 이전계속 »