« PreviousContinue »
"Tis, then, a "madness" we may heavenly deem,
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,
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,
It's sportive flight and overture restrains,
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,
Night, Darkness, Silence, and the Galaxy
Seraphic YOUNG! whose "wilderness of thought”*
*Johnson's Lives of the Poets.-Art. Young.
Nay, scarce can we to pensive Bard allude,
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.