Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

The rain and sunshine are my caterers,
Nor have I other bliss than simple life ;
Now ask me what thou wilt, that I can give,
And with a thankful joy it shall be thine.'

" Then Rhæcus, with a flutter at the heart, Yet, by the prompting of such beauty, bold, Answered: What is there that can satisfy The endless craving of the soul but love? Give me thy love, or but the hope of that Which must be evermore my spirit's goal.' After a little pause she said again, But with a glimpse of sadness in her tone, "I give it, Rhæcus, though a perilous gift; An hour before the sunset meet me here.' And straightway there was nothing he could see But the green glooms beneath the shadowy oak, And not a sound came to his straining ears But the low trickling rustle of the leaves, And far away upon an emerald slope The falter of an idle shepherd's pipe.

“Now, in those days of simpleness and faith, Men did not think that happy things were dreams Because they overstepped the narrow bourne Of likelihood, but reverently deemed Nothing too wondrous or too beautiful To be the guerdon of a daring heart. So Rhæcus made no doubt that he was blest, And all along unto the city's gate Earth seemed to spring beneath him as he walked, The clear, broad sky looked bluer than its wont, And he could scarce believe he had not wings, Such sunshine seemed to glitter through his veins Instead of blood, so light he felt and strange.

Young Rhæcus had a faithful heart enough, But one that in the present dwelt too much, And, taking with blithe welcome whatsoe'er Chance gave of joy, was wholly bound in that, Like the contented peasant of a vale, Deemed it the world, and never looked beyond. So, haply meeting in the afternoon Some comrades who were playing at the dice, He joined them and forgot all else beside.

6. The dice were rattling at the merriest, And Rhæcus, who had met but sorry luck, Just laughed in triumph at a happy throw, When through the room there hummed a yellow bee That buzzed about his ear with down-dropped legs As if to light. And Rhæcus laughed and said, Feeling how red and flushed he was with loss, • By Venus ! does he take me for a rose ?' And brushed him off with rough, impatient hand. But still the bee came back, and thrice again Rhæcus did beat him off with growing wrath. Then through the window flew the wounded bee, And Rhæcus, tracking him with angry eyes, Saw a sharp mountain-peak of Thessaly Against the red disc of the setting sun, And instantly the blood sank from his heart, As if its very walls had caved

away. Without a word he turned, and, rushing forth, Ran madly through the city and the gate, And o'er the plain, which now the wood's long shade, By the low sun thrown forward broad and dim, Darkened wellnigh unto the city's wall.

[ocr errors]

" Quite spent and out of breath he reached the tree,
And, listening fearfully, he heard once more
The low voice murmur · Rhæcus !' close at hand :
Whereat he looked around him, but could see
Nought but the deepening glooms beneath the oak.
Then sighed the voice, 'O, Rhæcus ! nevermore
Shalt thou behold me or by day or night,
Me, who would fain have blest thee with a love
More ripe and bounteous than ever yet
Filled

up with nectar any mortal heart :
But thou didst scorn my humble messenger,
And sent'st him back to me with bruised wings.
We spirits only show to gentle eyes,
We ever ask an undivided love,
And he w.ho scorns the least of Nature's works
Is thenceforth exiled and shut out from all.
Farewell ! for thou canst never see me more.'

“ Then Rhecus beat his breast, and groaned aloud, And cried, 'Be pitiful! forgive me yet This once, and I shall never need it more!' • Alas !' the voice returned, ' 't is thou art blind,

Not I unmerciful ; I can forgive,
But have no skill to heal thy spirit's eyes ;
Only the soul hath power o'er itself.'
With that again there murmured · Nevermore !
And Rhæcus after heard no other sound,
Except the rattling of the oak's crisp leaves,
Like the long surf upon a distant shore,
Raking the sea-worn pebbles up and down.
The night had gathered round him : o'er the plain
The city sparkled with its thousand lights,
And sounds of revel fell upon his ear
Harshly and like a curse; above, the sky,
With all its bright sublimity of stars,
Deepened, and on his forehead smote the breeze:
Beauty was all around him and delight,

But from that eve he was alone on earth." " A Glance behind the Curtain ” is excellent in parts, but is a terribly protracted glance.

The “Chippewa Legend " is very good, except the improvement, which has no other fault but that of being unnecessary. One cant expression in the poem should be blotted out in the next edition ; 66 Old lies and shams." The affected writers have repeated the word sham so often, that no respectable author can use it safely for the next bundred years.

We have no great fondness for sentimentality in type. Much of this in the present volume would have been better omitted. Subjective feelings, to use the jargon of philosophical criticism, should be but rarely and reservedly expressed in books. The sonnets are the least successful pieces ; especially those addressed to Wordsworth, which, so far as they have any meaning at all, have an assuming one.

We close our extracts with the fine poem called “ The Heritage."

“ The rich man's son inherits lands,

And piles of brick, and stone, and gold,
And he inherits soft, white hands,

And tender flesh that fears the cold,

Nor dares to wear a garment
A heritage, it seems to me,
One scarce would wish to hold in fee.
• The rich man's son inherits cares;

The bank may break, the factory burn,
A breath may burst his bubble shares,

old ;

And soft, white hands could hardly earn
A living that would serve his turn ;

A heritage, it seems to me,

One scarce would wish to hold in fee. 6. The rich man's son inherits wants,

His stomach craves for dainty fare ;
With sated heart, he hears the pants

Of toiling hinds with brown arms bare,

And wearies in his easychair ;
A heritage, it seems to me,

One scarce would wish to hold in fee.
“ What doth the poor man's son inherit?

Stout muscles and a sinewy heart, A hardy frame, a hardier spirit;

King of two hands, he does his part

In every useful toil and art ; A heritage, it seems to me,

A king might wish to hold in fee. “ What doth the poor man's son inherit ?

Wishes o'erjoyed with humble things, A rank adjudged by toilwon merit,

Content that from employment springs,

A heart that in his labor sings ; A heritage, it seems to me,

A king might wish to hold in fee. " What doth the poor man's son inherit ?

A patience learned of being poor, Courage, if sorrow come, to bear it,

A fellow-feeling that is sure

To make the outcast bless his door ; A heritage, it seems to me,

A king might wish to hold in fee. “O, rich man's son! there is a toil,

That with all others level stands; Large charity doth never soil,

But only wbiten, soft, white hands,

This is the best crop from thy lands; A heritage, it seems to me,

Worth being rich to hold in fee. “O, poor man's son ! scorn not thy state ;

There is worse weariness than thine, In merely being rich and great;

Toil only gives the soul to shine,

And makes rest fragrant and benign ;
A heritage, it seems to me,
Worth being poor to hold in fee.
Both, heirs to some six feet of sod,

Are equal in the earth at last ;
Both, children of the same dear God,

Prove title to your heirship vast

By record of a well-filled past ;
A heritage, it seems to me,

Well worth a life to hold in fee." We have endeavoured to do justice to the merits of this young and gifted poet, while we have pointed out, with perfect candor, the faults that still inhere in his poetical manner, and the dangerous influences to which his poetical genius is exposed. That he will soar above the spirit of coteries ; that he will reject the bad taste of cultivating singularities in thought and expression, and descend from the clouds of vague philosophy and Utopian reforms; that he will brace his mind with strengthening knowledge in science, history, and social life ; and that he will thus create a noble sphere for the exercise of his fine powers, and give additional lustre to a name already crowned with the honors of professional, literary, and mercantile eminence ; is what we not only hope, but, in the faith of achievements already performed, confidently predict and believe.

ART. III.

Report of the Land Agent of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, laid before the Legislature, January 10th, 1844. By GEORGE W. COFFIN. 8vo.

pp. 12.

In a former number of this Journal, * we devoted some attention to the forest trees of America, and took a passing notice of the lumberer ; t we propose, now, to give a brief

* N. A. Review, Number XCV.

+ The necessity of introducing new words into a language grows out of the changes effected from time to time in the circumstances and pursuits of men.

The use of the word lumber and its derivatives is peculiar to this

« ZurückWeiter »