Page images

more to the mind than if it were decked out in diffuse and elaborated imagery. "MAY.

There's perfume upon every wind

Music in every treo--
Oh, the merry May has pleasant hours,
And dreamily they glide,

Dews for the moisture-loving flowers, As if they floated like the leaves

Sweets for the sucking bee; Upon a silver tide;

The sick come forth for the healing south, The trees are full of crimson buds,

The young are gathering flowers, And the woods are full of birds,

And life is a tale of poetry, And the waters flow to music,

That is told by golden hours. Like a tune with pleasant words.

It must be a true philosophy, The verdure of the meadow-land

That the spirit when set free Is creeping to the hills,

Still lingers about its olden home, The sweet blue-bosom'd violets

In the flower and the tree, Are blowing by the rills ;

For the pulse is stirr'd as with voices heard The lilac has a load of balm

In the depth of the shady grove, For every wind that stirs,

And while lonely we stray through the And the larch stands green and beautiful

fields away, Amid the sombre firs.

The heart seems answering love." “On seeing a beautiful Boy at play,” possesses much finish, and contains bursts of rapture equalling the outpourings of the loftiest world poets; to use the words of the poem itself, it is like a painter's fine conception." * ON SEEING A BEAUTIFUL BOY AT And the new leaves of June, and the young PLAY.


That fices away into the depths of heaven, Down the green slope he bounded. Raven

Lost in his own wild music, and the breath curls

Of spring-time, and the summer eve, and From his white shoulders by the winds

noon were swept,

In the cool autumn, are like fingers swept And the clear colour of his sunny cheek Over sweet-toned affections—but the joy Was bright with motion. Through his open

That enters to the spirit of a child lips

Is deep as his young heart: his very breath, Shone visibly a delicate line of pearl,

The simple sense of being is enough Like a wbite vein within a rosy shell,

To ravish him, and like a thrilling touch, And his dark eye's clear brilliance, as it lay

He feels each moment of his life go by. Beneath his lashes, like a drop of dew Hid in the moss, stole out as covertly Beautiful, beautiful childhood! with a joy As starlight from the edging of a cloud, That like a robe is palpable, and flung I never saw a boy so beautifnl.

Out by your every motion ! delicate bud His step was like the stooping of a bird, Of the immortal flower that will unfold And his limbs melted into grace like things And come to its maturity in heaven! Shaped by the wind of summer.

He was

I weep your earthly glory. 'Tis a light like

Lent to the new born spirit that goes out A painter's fine conception—such an one With the first idle wind It is the leaf As he would have of Ganymede, and weep Fresh flung upon the river, that will dance Upon bis pallet that he could not win

Upon the wave that stealeth out its life, The vision to his easel. Who could not Then sink of its own heaviness. The face paint

Of the delightful earth will to your eye The young and shadowless spirit? Who Grow dlm; the fragrance of the many could chain

flowers The sparkling gladness that lives,

Be noticed not, and the beguiling voice Like å glad fountain, in the eye of light, Of nature in her gentleness will be With an unbreathing pencil? Nature's gift To manhood's senseless ear inaudible, Has nothing that is like it. Sun and stream, I sigh to look upon thy face, young boy !"

Eschewing all sensual gratification, and all the syren persuasions of ambition, the Poet exhibits in " The table of Emerald,” the possession of a well organized mind, and an elevated and highly intellectual taste. The “Extract froin a Poem” is philosophical in its tendency: defending the honorable anbition of man, in seeking to unlock new treasures in the storehouses of creation, for the laudable purpose of enriching humanity by their contents, the Poet points out another course to be followed with advantage and pleasure by the less ambitious portion of mankind; namely, to read the book of nature, to indulge in healthful contemplation, to wander occasionally by the stream, the grove, and the hill-side: to listen to the chant of the bird, to belold and analyze the beauty of the leafy forest, to rejoice in the sunshine, but to tremble in the storm; the heart will be improved by its suggestions.

In the preceding pages we have endeavoured to illustrate the predominant features in the works of five principal American Poets. It is to be hoped that the reader is now pretty well acquainted with the distinguishing traits of the Poets of America, and that heis conscious of the fact that they possess far more than the requisite celebrity, for the foundation of a National Poetry, and are likely to told in the eyes of posterity, the places in their own country, which Chaucer, and his earlier followers occupy in England.

The most considerable portion of their works may be appropriately denominated storehouses of intellectual materials, varied, and of that fecund nature which seems particularly suited to the reproduction of ideas. The authors themselves, in a great measure, typify distinct poetic attributes. Longfellow may inspire a future Spenser ; Poe, a second Dante ; Whittier, another Burns, and the deep knowledge of human nature which Lowell possesses, may create another Shakespere to immortalize an American Avon. It is consoling to reflect that these are no utopian suppositions, and, that the existing order of things permit their future realization : are not the stupendous miracles of nature which their country contains, evidences, sufficiently convincing, of the incentives to trans. cendant genius which she supplies? Do not her broad Canadian lakes, chose inland seas, her forests that sepulchre the earth for miles, her “palaces of nature," the “carth overgazing mountains,” her mighty rivers, and her endless prairies, speak more than the tongues of a nation, of the undying lays which are to chronicle their majestic beauty ?

In addition to the conclusions which are to be derived from the potent influence of such advocacy, we have also to consider the human achievements which must necessarily take place, upon whose multiplied, and complicated grandeur, it would be impossible to speculate, and whose fame will naturally constitate the theme for the exercise of intellectual power equally as remarkable. Poetry in America will inevitably exhibit phases, distinct from any it has hitherto manifested throughout the world: the peculiar spirit of enterprise which characterizes its people, the unprecedented rapidity with which they have risen from a state of infancy, to one of towering greatness, their unconquerable activity of mind, and their unceasing aspiration for higher excellence, must obviously affect the character of their literature, as much as of their laws. If the muse first exercised her influence among the Jewish race; it is probable she shall end her mission on the other side of the Atlantic; to profess this belief is merely to coincide in the long established, and well grounded conviction with reference to the termination of earthly power, and the race of man. How then will the spirit of Poetry appear, previous to her translation to the skies ? What mellow hues will be selected to adorn that celestial robe, attired in which, she will unfold to earth's latest progeney, the hoarded treasures of time, the wisdom of buried centuries she has gathered ? Will she not, like one of the Angels in the Apocalypse, “ Her face as the sun, and her feet as pillars of fire,” be “ clothed with a cloud, and have a rainbow on her head?” her divine origin will then assert itself, and the glory of her triumph on the earth will convey her to her melodious home in paradise. Ere this mighty consummation, much remains to be effected, towards the improvement of the human race, which poetry in conjunction with genuine philosophy can accomplish : by continuing as they have begun, the Poets of America will follow the surest course to the anticipated goal, with the spirit of truth, and the love of freedom for their guides, they will easily overcome the im. potent though untiring efforts, which the enemies of man are constantly making to uproot the foundations of moral principle; strengthened as they proceed, they will gradually segregate tliemselves from their European brethren, by creating and consolidating peculiarity of attributes, and originalty of style, while they nourish and shadow forth in even more robust proportions, those excellencies for which the former have acquired so much incomparable celebrity; obliterating all traces of that slightly upsetting philosophy which seems to be based on the astonishing perfection of the « Ego," they will replace it by a steady national feeling, which, though it less “o'ersteps the modesty of nature," will be equally, if not more de terminedly firm, vivid, and strongly interwoven with the feclings of the heart. Moreover, as we have hitherto affirined, and, as we now reiterate, not actuated by the spirit of prophecy, but by the influence begotten of a rational reflection, the principle which now guides them, if continued, will enable them to perfect the study of man, and give to America, and the world, not alone what civilization gave to Europe, but what she bas never as yet given in any sphere, universal philanthropy, which shall rest on stable foundations, and defy the machinations of the wicked.


FIELD. 1. Report of the Committee of the House of Commons appointed

to Enquire into the Condition of the Army before Sebastopol, and into the Conduct of the rarious Departments of the Government whose duty it has been to minister to the wants

of the Army. March, 1855. 2. Hansard's Debates, 1855. Debates on the War, Passim. 3. The Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army. Third

Edition, 1944. 4. Addenda to the same up to March, 1854. Parker, Furnival

and Parker. Whitehall : London.

But four short years ago and who so palmy and so proud as England! She had attained, as it seemed, the highest pinnacle of prosperity and strength. Throughout her vast empire there was peace, and while her rule was met with due and profound subidission by the millions upon millions over whom it extends in both hemispheres of the globe, foreign countries seemed to be hield in deep, admiring respect, if not in awe. Everything appeared to promise a calm and long enjoyment of the fruits of her wonderful industry, enterprize and skill, and of the at length fully pacified and consolidated acquirements of her wars and expeditions in times long gone by.

In the myriad glitterings and fairy splendours of the Crystal Palace the meridian sun of England's glory seemed reflected, and the self-gratulatory excitement of the time denied all opportunity to the wholesome thought, that perishable as was the material of the Palace, transitory as itself it was, to the full as insecure and precarious might be found the palmy greatness of which that fair-shewing and vast-reaching edifice was in truth no inapt type.

The Crystal Palace has passed away, and the green sward of Hyde Park has resumed dominion over its site, and effaced even to the latest traces of the lofty, and mighty and resplendent erection. Even in like manner has passed away that brilliant shew of palminess and pride, which had as dazzling an effect upon the moral eye as the other upon the physical

. True, there has arisen a successor to that other ; a structure even more wondrous than before, but far away from the old, and differing in plan, and position and accessories. The omen will scarcely be accepted, for it would go to foretell one more of the great periodical changes among nations--an ending of the greatness and the glory of one empire, and the growing up and predominance of another.

Happily the parallel has not been carried out; and although the well being of our native Ireland has unfortunately not been proved to be a necessary consequence or concomitant of

a the power and prosperity of England, still we not the less ardently and earnestly hope, that beyond the undeniable circumstance of certain rather sharp but salatary mortifications to overblown pride, and disappointments of exaggerated notions and absurdly inflated expectations, the change will not proceed, at least in our age, whatever there may be in the decrees of Providence for the remote future.

It would be well, however, to take a lesson in time and lay it deep to heart. British power is not that overwhelming, allsubduing thing the British people were not a little inclined to imagine it. British wealth is very great indeed, and has done

. what seeined wonders, but it cannot, no matter how freely, how recklessly it may be used and expended, accomplish the miracles that were at least tacitly expected. Great Britain, in short, is not, and must not hope to be exempted from the common lot of nations as well as of individuals in this world of change and trial, and must expect, and however unpleasant the experience, must accept and undergo reverses and crosses

« PreviousContinue »