Page images

Even while I muse, I see thee sit
In maiden bloom and matron wit ;
Fair, gentle, as when first I sued
Ye seem, but of sedater mood :
Yet my heart leaps as fond for thee
As when, beneath Arbigland tree,
We stayed and wooed, and thought the moon
Set on the sea an hour too soon;
Or lingered 'mid the falling dew,
When looks were fond, and words were few.
Though I see smiling at thy feet
Five sons and ae fair daughter sweet ;
And time, and care, and birth-time woes
Have dimmed thine eye, and touched thy rose :
To thee, and thoughts of thee, belong
All that charms me of tale or song;
When words come down like dews unsought,
With gleams of deep enthusiast thought;
And fancy in her heaven flies free,
They come, my love, they come from thee.
O, when more thought we gave of old
To silver than some give to gold,
'Twas sweet to sit and ponder o'er
What things should deck our humble bower!
'Twas sweet to pull, in hope, with thee,
The golden fruit from fortune's tree;
And sweeter, still, to choose and twine
A garland for these locks of thine ;
A song-wreath which may grace my Jean,
While rivers flow, and woods are green.
At times there come, as come there ought,
Grave moments of sedater thought,-
When fortune frowns, nor lends our night
One gleam of her inconstant light;
And hope, that decks the peasant's bower,
Shines like the rainbow through the shower :
O then I see, while seated nigh,
A mother's heart shine in thine eye ;
And proud resolve, and purpose meek,
Speak of thee more than words can speak,-
I think the wedded wife of mine
The best of all that's not divine !


A wet sheet and a flowing sea,

A wind that follows fast,
And fills the white and rustling sail,

And bends the gallant mast :
And bends the gallant mast, my boys,

While, like the eagle free,
Away the good ship flies, and leaves

Old England on the lee.

O for a soft and gentle wind !

I heard a fair one cry;
But give to me the snoring breeze,

And white waves heaving high :
And white waves heaving high, my boys,

The good ship tight and free,The world of waters is our home,

And merry men are we.

There's tempest in yon horned moon,

And lightning in yon cloud;
And hark! the music, mariners,

The wind is piping loud :
The wind is piping loud, my boys,

The lightning flashing free,-
While the hollow oak our palace is,

Our heritage the sea.

Leigu Huxt is the son of a clergyman of the Church of England, and was born at Southgate, in Middlesex, October the 19th, 1784. He, as well as Coleridge and Lamb, received his early education at Christ's Hospital, and chiefly under the same grammarmaster; and, like Lamb, he was prevented from going to the University (on the Christ's Hospital foundation, it is understood to be a preparatory step to holy orders) by an impediment in his speech-which, however, he had the good fortune to overcome. At school, as in after life, he was remarkable for exuberance of animal spirits, and for pas. sionate attachment to his friends,-a feeling, also, which years have not diminished; but he evinced little care for study, except when the exercises were in verse, when he would "give up” double the quantity demanded from him. His prose themes (he has so told us among other interesting facts) were generally so bad, that the master used to crumple them in his hand, and throw them to the boys for their amusement. Hunt has been an ardent, though never an ungenerous, political partizan, and has suffered in almost every possible way for the advocacy of opinions, which, whether right or wrong, he has lived to see in a great measure triumph. He is not the only early struggler for "Reform,” who has been left by Reformers in power, to be recompensed by his own feelings.

The acquaintance of Mr. Hunt and Lord Byron began in prison, where Mr. Hunt was confined for the publication of an article in the “Examiner," which he then conducted. It was pronounced to be a libel on the Prince Regent ;-and originated in his sympathy with the sufferings of the people of Ireland. To the history of their after intercourse we have not space to refer. Time has pretty nearly satisfied the world that Mr. Hunt by no means overdrew the picture of the noble Bard. The leading feature in Mr. Hunt's character is a love of truth. This was unpalatable to Lord Byron, and, for a time also, to the public. Animal spirits,-a power of receiving delight from the commonest every day objects, as well as from remote ones,-and a sort of luxurious natural piety (so to speak), are the prevailing influences of his writings. His friend, Hazlitt, used to say of him, in allusion to his spirits, and to his family-stock (which is from the West Indies), that he had "tropical blood in his veins."

In person he is tall, and slightly formed; his countenance is singularly fine; his eyes, like his complexion, are dark-but they have a gentle expression, akin to that of the gazelle. His look and his manner are both kindly and persuasive; indeed we have rarely met any one who so completely realizes our notions of benevolence. His conversation is exquisitely pleasing," combining the vivacity of the schoolboy with the resources of the wit, and the taste of the scholar.” We know little of his political writings; they must have been fierce and bitter,-for they alarmed his opponents, and delighted and encouraged his friends: but unquestionably the man is to be seen in the tender, graceful, and affectionate effusions of the Poet. He is only at home where the Heart presides. In the earlier part of his career, his opinions were assailed with the severest hostility. He has outlived the animosity to which he was subjected; the misfortunes to which he has been exposed have been met with philosophy; and his enemies have, like generous antagonists, aided in binding up the wounds they had inflicted. He has at length received justice from all,-save his political " friends."

The poetry of Leigh Hunt has been, and ever will be, appreciated, by all who love nature, and sympathise with humanity. It is liable to the charge of occasional affecta. tion: and it is to be lamented that, at times, he defaces the beauty of a composition by some trifling puerilities. Mr. Hazlitt appears to have divined the cause of these defects. "From great sanguineness of temper, from great quickness and unsuspecting simplicity, he runs on to the public as he does at his own fireside,-and talks about himself, forgetting that he is not always among friends." This disposition, however, is also the main source of his success. His nature is essentially good; and what he writes makes its way to the heart. The models he consults are the true old English Poets; and the gayer spirits of Italy. He is a scholar, and "a special lover of books;" yet we never find in him a touch of pedantry. His poetry is like his mind,-a sort of buoyant outbreak of joyousness; and when a tone of sadness pervades it, it is so gentle, confiding, and hoping, as to be far nearer allied to resignation than repining. Perhaps there is no Poet who so completely pictures himself: it is a fine and natural and all. unselfish egotism; and a glorious contrast to the gloomy and misanthropic moods which some Bards have laboured first to acquire, and then to portray.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

We are blushing roses,

Bending with our fulness, 'Midst our close-capp'd sister buds

Warming the green coolness. Whatsoe'er of beauty

Yearns and yet reposes, Blush, and bosom, and sweet breath,

Took a shape in roses.

Hold one of us lightly,–

See from what a slender
Stalk we bow'r in heavy blooms,

And roundness rich and tender :
Know you not our only

Rival flow'r,—the human ? Loveliest weight on lightest foot,

Joy-abundant woman?

LILIES. We are lilies fair,

The flower of virgin light ; Nature held us forth, and said,

“ Lo! my thoughts of white." Ever since then, angels

Hold us in their hands ;
You may see them where they take

In pictures their sweet stands.
Like the garden's angels

Also do we seem ;
And not the less for being crown'd

With a golden dream.
Could you see around us

The enamour'd air,
You would see it pale with bliss

To hold a thing so fair.


We are slumberous poppies,

Lords of Lethe downs, Some awake, and some asleep,

Sleeping in our crowns. What perchance our dreams may know, Let our serious beauty show. Central depth of purple,

Leaves more bright than rose,
Who shall tell what brightest thought

Out of darkest grows ?
Who, through what funereal pain,
Souls to love and peace attain ?

« PreviousContinue »