Page images
PDF
EPUB

"Tis, then, a "madness" we may heavenly deem,
A fire that makes the eyes of seraphs beam;
An effervescence, sparkling, glowing, bright,
That lifts the soul to mental phrensy's height;
Yet not, as thought Democritus, in fact,

That none were Poets till their brains were crackt;

Nor such a lunacy, no power can tame,

As cast Empedocles in Ætna's flame.

What then is Poetry?-a work of mind,
With passion warm and fancy bright, combined;
The "secret soul of harmony" divine,
Breathed in the language of the tuneful line;
The mind's own euphony and vigour, found
In deep communion with all Nature round.
Nor is he greatest of this honour'd band,
Whose words in sweetest collocation stand,

But he whose thoughts with loftiest grandeur roll, And strike their influence deepest to the soul.

For heavenly Poetry is not the rhyme

That marshals words, in weak and senseless chime,

But something 'tis " divine," (as Horace taught)

A strong, proportion'd, elevated thought,

A gem of Genius bright, presented so

That charming sounds, with thought, in concert flow. Such "mental furor," in such numbers sweet, Was deem'd as language for Olympus meet.

As, when the light on Memnon's image fell,
Harmonious sounds came forth with magic swell,-
So, when, on Fancy's efflorescent dreams,
The ray sublime and intellectual beams,

It's sportive flight and overture restrains,
And holds the rhapsodist in wisdom's chains;
"Tis then the images of fancy shine,
Reflecting sunbeams of a mind divine;
The sumptuous wanderings of ideas bright
Receive the chastening of a heavenly light,
And fragrant Poesy's ecstatic art,
(Pure and complete in every various part)
The highest point of elevation gains,
To which the harmony of earth attains.

[ocr errors]

Celestial Genius of harp, lyre, and shell! Dost thou alone, with nameless magic, dwell In those bright intervals of Cynthia's reign, When SILENCE shuts the eyelids of the plain, And seals in sleep her grateful votaries? When the lone Bard, enthrall'd by phantasies Of pure sublimity, roams from his cell, And, wrapt in contemplation, loves to tell How, in the audience of his soul, he hears The nightly concert of the choral spheres? Shall we, in search of true poetic worth, In cool of evening dark, go roving forth, When, from the spheroid verge of this terrene, The sapphire barge of heav'n's resplendent queen Sails thro' yon radiant isles, a countless train! That beautify the calm cerulean main, Serenely fills, with lustre soft, the sky, And meets the diamond of the Poet's eye?

IS SOLITUDE thy residence,-that we Must roam the forest, must the city flee,

Court the wide wilderness, the trackless glen,
The murky cave, the unfrequented den,
Or dead of night,-that raptures may inspire
And prompt the music of the solemn lyre?

Night, Darkness, Silence, and the Galaxy
Have power to charm, to loftiest ecstacy,
The mind devout and pensive; such as thine,
O! potent master of the glowing line,

Seraphic YOUNG! whose "wilderness of thought”*
"Time, Death, and Immortality” hath brought,
In rhapsody, to man; whose "Nights" display
A mind at "pastimes" in a "milky way."
E'en the dank cell may drink the doleful strain,
While hapless DODD communicates his pain;
Learn what kind pow'r may hast'ning death beguile,
And make the walls of sullen bondage smile.
Mid tombs and stars the florid HERVEY glows,
Writes as a Poet, tho' he writes in prose.

*Johnson's Lives of the Poets.-Art. Young.

Nay, scarce can we to pensive Bard allude,
Who ne'er composed his "Ode on Solitude;"
But one, enwrapt in dark ethereal shrouds,
Disports with spirits on careering clouds,
And with phantasmas frightful loves to dwell:-
His name is OSSIAN; more, we cannot tell.

In MELANCHOLY'S walks alone, must we Expect to meet our lov'd MELPOMENE? As if the sounds of her Parnassian shell Could only vibrate in the gloomy dell; Could only flow on such unearthly ground, Or hermit's cell, as Beattie's Edwin found,* Where rude misfortune drives from pleasure's train Her child, o'erwhelm'd with vanity and pain,Lur'd to his bane by Mammon's noon-tide ray— And stung at heart by foul Ambition's sway,— Disgusted long at this gay world's deceit,A pensive Minstrel, in his cold retreat?

*See Beattie's "Minstrel." Book II.

« PreviousContinue »