Page images
PDF
EPUB

In the genial warmth of upper day
Are rolling in unwieldy play ;
Or shooting upwards through the light
With arrowy motion silvery bright,
The silent summer air employ
For their region of capricious joy!
While fairy shells in myriads lying,
The smooth, hard sand in lustre dyeing,
Encircle with a far-seen chain
Of glory,—the most glorious main!

THE WEE HOUSIE.

I like thee weel, my wee auld house,

Though laigh thy wa's an' flat the riggin'; Though round thy lum the sourock grows,

An' rain-draps gaw my cozy biggin'. Lang hast thou happit mine and me,

My head's grown grey aneath thy kipple ; And aye thy ingle cheek was free

Baith to the blind man an' the cripple.

What gart my ewes thrive on the hill,

An' kept my little store increasin'? The rich man never wish'd me ill,

The poor man left me aye his blessin’. Troth I maun greet wi' thee to part,

Though to a better house I'm fittin'; Sic joys will never glad my heart

As I've had by thy hallan sittin'.

My bonny bairns around me smiled,

My sonsy wife sat by me spinning, Aye lilting o'er her ditties wild,

In notes sae artless an' sae winning. Our frugal meal was aye a feast,

Our e'ening psalm a hymn of joy ; Sae calm an' peacefu' was our rest,

Our bliss, our love, without alloy.

I canna help but haud thee dear,

My auld, storm-batter’d, hamely shieling; Thy sooty lum, an' kipples clear,

Thy roof will fa', thy rafters start,

How damp an' cauld thy hearth will be ! Ah! sae will soon ilk honest heart,

That erst was blithe an' bauld in thee!

I thought to cower aneath thy wa',

Till death should close my weary een; Then leave thee for the narrow ha',

Wi lowly roof o'sward sae green. Farewell, my house an' burnie clear,

My bourtree bush an' bowzy tree! The wee while I maun sojourn here,

I'll never find a hame like thee.

THE BROKEN HEART.

Now lock my chamber-door, father,

And say you left me sleeping ;
But never tell my step-mother

Of all this bitter weeping.
No earthly sleep can ease my smart,

Or even a while reprieve it;
For there's a pang at my young heart

That never more can leave it!

0, let me lie, and weep my fill

O'er wounds that heal can never ; And O, kind Heaven! were it thy will,

To close these eyes for ever :
For how can maid's affections dear

Recal her love forsaken?
Or how can heart of maiden bear

To know that heart forsaken?

O, why should vows so fondly made,

Be broken ere the morrow-
To one who loved as never maid

Loved in this world of sorrow !
The look of scorn I cannot brave,

Nor pity's eye more dreary;
A quiet sleep within the grave
Is all for which I weary !

Farewell, dear Yarrow's mountains green,

And banks of broom so yellow !
Too happy has this bosom been

Within your arbours mellow.
That happiness is fled for ave,

And all is dark desponding-
Save in the opening gates of day,

And the dear home beyond them!

MARY GRAY
SOME say that my Mary Gray is dead,

And that I in this world shall see her never ; Some say she is laid on her cold death-bed,

The prey of the grave and of death for ever! Ah, they know little of my dear maid,

Or kindness of her spirit's Giver; For every night she is by my side,

By the morning bower, or the moonlight river. My Mary was bonny when she was here,

When flesh and blood was her mortal dwelling; Her smile was sweet, and her mind was clear,

And her form all virgin forms excelling. But oh, if they saw my Mary now,

With her looks of pathos and of feeling,
They would see a cherub's radiant brow,

To ravish'd mortal eyes unveiling.
The rose is the fairest of earthly flowers,

It is all of beauty and of sweetness,
So my dear maid in the heavenly bowers,

Excels in beauty and in meekness !
She has kiss'd my cheek, she has kaim'd my hair,

And made a breast of heaven my pillow; And promised her God to take me there

Before the leaf falls from the willow ! Farewell ! ye homes of living men

I have no relish for your pleasures ; In the human face I naething ken

That with my spirit's yearning measures. I long for onward bliss to be,

A day of joy-a brighter morrow; And from this bondage to be free,

THE SKYLARK.

Bird of the wilderness,

Blithesome and cumberless, Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea!

Emblem of happiness,

Blest is thy dwelling-place-
O to abide in the desert with thee!

Wild is thy lay, and loud,

Far in the downy cloud,
Love gives it energy, love gave it birth.

Where, on thy dewy wing,

Where art thou journeying? Thy lay is in heaven, thy love is on earth.

O'er fell and fountain sheen,

O'er moor and mountain green, O'er the red streamer that heralds the day,

Over the cloudlet dim,

Over the rainbow's rim, Musical cherub, soar, singing away!

Then, when the gloaming comes,

Low in the heather blooms Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love be!

Emblem of happiness,

Blest is thy dwelling place,-
O to abide in the desert with thee !

AN ARABIAN SONG.
Meet me at even, my own true love,
Meet me at even, my honey, my dove,

Where the moonbeam revealing
The cool fountain stealing,
Away and away

Through flow'rets so gay,
Singing its silver roundelay.
Love is the fountain of life and bliss,
Love is the valley of joyfulness;

A garden of roses,
Where rapture reposes,
A temple of light

All heavenly bright;
O, virtuous love is the soul's delight!

FELICIA DOROTHEA BROWNE was born in Liverpool, on the 21st of September, 1793. Her father was Irish, and her mother German ;-much of the romance which pervaded her character from earliest childhood may be traced to this mixed descent. Her first youth was passed among the mountains and valleys of North Wales : scenes so fertile in sublimity and beauty produced their natural effects; the earnest and continual study of Shakspeare led to the power of giving language to thought,--and before she had entered her thirteenth year, a printed collection of her Juvenile Poems was actually before the world. From this period to the close of her life she continued to send forth volume after volume,-each surpassing the other in sweetness and power: it seemed as if the intellectual mine was inexhaustible, and perhaps her last production, of any length, will be considered her best. She married early: h not a happy one. Into the cause of her husband's estrangement, after she had borne

province to inquire; but it is impossible not to feel that the circumstance contributed to produce that sadness, which, as an under-current, runs through all her works :

“ Have I not tried, and striven, and falled to bind

One true heart unto me, whereon my own

Might find a resting place ?” She resided several years at St. Asaph, then removed to Wavertree, near Liverpool, and finally to Dublin, where she died on the 16th of May, 1835.

The character of Mrs. Hemans is in beautiful keeping with her poetry. Like the sweetest of all singing birds she was often heard but rarely seen. After her name be

to every reader in England, she shrunk from the public gaze,-and, we believe, never visited the Metropolis. We have, however, the testimony of more than one intimate and loving friend, that her unwillingness to enter general society arose from no unworthy disrelish for it. All her sympathies were in common with mankind. She is said to have possessed considerable beauty in youth ; but thought and anxiety had done the work of years,--and it had passed long before its time. Her form was exceedingly delicate; her countenance was gentle, yet full of expression and intelligence; and her long hair of silken auburn continued to the last remarkably profuse. Her manners were unassuming: she was reserved to strangers--but among her friends cheerful even to playfulness. We have heard one of the most beloved of all her familiar associates-a kindred spirit, also too early lost-speak of her with the most earnest and devoted affection. She described her conversation as singularly fascinating,full o! rich poetry; and Mr. Chorley, who loved her when living, and honoured her meinory when dead, relates that some of her poems were printed almost exactly as they were spoken.

The poetry of Mrs. Hemans will endure as long as the language in which it is written. It is essentially feminine. A tone of gentle, unforced, and persuasive GOODNESS pervades it: it displays no fiery passion, and resorts to no vehement appeal;-it touches upon nothing degraded or unnatural; it is often sad, but never exhibits "a discontented or repining spirit;" and though it atfords continual proofs of an eager longing for a better land," and a mournful consciousness that her “ Soul's lofty gifts" were insufficient

« To quench its panting thirst for happiness;”

it manifests no unwillingness to bear meekly, patiently, and trustingly, the thousand ills that flesh is heir to. Few Poets, living or dead, have written so much, and written so well. There is not, indeed, one among her productions that we might cast from us with indifference, or “willingly let die." Her diction is harmonious and free; her themes, though infinitely varied, are all happily chosen, and treated with grace, originality, and judgment. Her poetry is full of images—but they are always natural and true: it is studded with ornaments-but they are never unbecoming; she selected and distributed them with singular felicity. Though rarely energetic, she is never languid,her tenderness never wearies; her piety-one of the chief sources of her power and her success-never degenerates into bitterness, but is at all times fervid and humanizing. The poetry of Mrs. Hemans, indeed, may be likened to a Cathedral chaunt,-deep, solemn, and impressive; entrancing rather than exciting-and depress

« PreviousContinue »