Page images

Tears that had melted his soft heart : for years

Wept he as bitter tears ! “ Merciful God!” such was his latest prayer,

“ These may she never share !".
Quieter is his breath, his breast more cold

Than daisies in the mould,
Where children spell, athwart the churchyard gate,

His name and life's brief date.
Pray for him, gentle souls, whoe'er you be,

And, oh! pray, too, for me!


Queen of the double sea, beloved of him
Who shakes the world's foundations, thou hast seen
Glory in all her beauty, all her forms;
Seen her walk back with Theseus when he left
The bones of Sciron bleaching to the wind,
Above the ocean's roar and cormorant's flight,
So high that vastest billows from above
Shew but like herbage waving in the mead;
Seen generations throng thy Isthmian games,
And pass away--the beautiful, the brave,
And them who sang their praises.

But, O Queen,
Audible still, and far beyond thy cliffs,
As when they first were uttered, are those words
Divine which praised the valiant and the just;
And tears have often stopt, upon that ridge
So perilous, him who brought before his eye
The Colchian babes.

“ Stay! spare him! save the last ! Medea !-is that blood ? again! it drops From my imploring hand upon my feet ;I will invoke the Eumenides no more. I will forgive thee-bless thee-bend to thee In all thy wishes-do but thou, Medea, Tell me, one lives."

“And shall I too deceive ?" Cries from the fiery car an angry voice; And swifter than two falling stars descend Two breathless bodies-warm, soft, motionless, As flowers in stillest noon before the sun, They lie three paces from him—such they lie As when he left them sleeping side by side, A mother's arm round each, a mother's cheeks Between them, flushed with happiness and love. He was more changed than they were doomed to shew Thee and the stranger, how defaced and scarred Grief hunts us down the precipice of years, And whom the faithless prey upon the last.

To give the inertest masses of our earth Her loveliest forms was thine, to fix the gods Within thy walls, and hang their tripods round With fruits and foliage knowing not decay. A nobler work remains : thy citadel Invites all Greece ; o'er lands and floods remote Many are the hearts that still beat high for thee : Confide then in thy strength, and unappalled Look down upon the plain, while yokemate kings Run bellowing, where their herdsmen goad them on; Instinct is sharp in them, and terror true-They smell the floor whereon their necks must lie.


My briar that smelledst sweet,
When gentle spring's first heat

Ran through thy quiet veins ;
Thou that couldst injure none,

But wouldst be left alone,
Alone thou leavest me, and nought of thine remains.

What! hath no poet's lyre
O'er thee, sweet breathing briar,

Hung fondly, ill or well?
And yet, methinks with thee,

A poet's sympathy,
Whether in weal or woe, in life or death, might dwell.

Hard usage both must bear,
Few hands your youth will rear,

Few bosoms cherish you ;
Your tender prime must bleed

Ere you are sweet, but freed
From life, you then are prized ; thus prized are poets too.


In Clementina's artless mien

Lucilla asks me what I see,
And are the roses of sixteen

Enough for me?

Lucilla asks, if that be all,

Have I not cull'd as sweet before-
Ah, yes, Lucilla! and their fall

I still deplore.

I now behold another scene,

Where pleasure beams with heaven's own light, More pure, more constant, more serene,

And not less bright.

Faith, on whose breast the loves repose,

Whose chain of flowers no force can sever ;
And Modesty, who, when she goes,

Is gone for ever.

THOMAS CAMPBELL was born in Glasgow, in the year 1777. He was educated at the University of that city; into which he entered at twelve years of age, and where he rapidly obtained distinction. From Glasgow, he removed to the Scottish Metropolis, and cultivated acquaintance with the many celebrated men who, at that period, resided there, and who perceived a kindred spirit in the youthful Poet. Here he published the “ Pleasures of Hope,"-a poem which at once achieved the fame that time has not diminished, and which must endure with the language in which it is written. Upwards of twenty years elapsed before Mr. Campbell again essayed a continued work; but during the interval, he produced those immortal odes, the Battle of the Baltic," " Ye Mariners of England," and “Hohenlinden," - the field of which, during the battle, he is said to have overlooked from the walls of a neighbouring convent. In 1820, he published « Gertrude of Wyoming,"-a poem sufficient to maintain the high reputation he had acquired, and which, indeed, is by many preferred to the “ Pleasures of Hope." In 1824, appeared " Theodric," a domestic tale; and these, with the exceptions of his MINOR poems--the term can have reference only to their length-comprise the whole of his contributions to English poetry. In the year 1820, Mr. Campbell undertook the Editorship of the “ New Monthly Magazine," which he relinquished in 1830 : and in the conduct of which Mr. S. C. Hall had the honour to succeed him. Soon afterwards Mr. Campbell undertook a voyage to Algiers, the results of which he has recently communicated to the public. During three successive years, he was elected Lord Rector of the University in which he received his education,--a distinction the more marked, inasmuch as his competitors were Sir Walter Scott, and Mr. Canning. To Mr. Campbell we are mainly indebted for the establishment of the London University : the plan for its formation originated with him, and was by him matured ; although he left its completion in the hands of his more active or more influential contemporaries.

Mr. Campbell is rather below than above the middle stature. The expression of his countenance indicates the sensitiveness of his mind. His eye is large, and of a deep blue; his manners are peculiarly bland and insinuating: in general society he is exceedingly cheerful, and his conversation abounds in pointed humour. His general appearance is, however, considered to lend force to the supposition, that he dislikes labour; and is rarely roused to more than momentary exertion. At College, he rose to high repute as a scholar; and he has since taken some steps to maintain the character he acquired; his lectures on Greek poetry have been published. It has been a subject of regret, that Mr. Campbell has written so little. But those who so express themselves forget that it is far more to their advantage to have a few finished models, than a mass of crude and incomplete formations; and that it is only by long labour in execution, and still longer labour in preparatory thought and arrangement, that perfection can be produced. There is not one of the fine “ Odes" of Campbell that would be sacrificed for a volume: it may be even questioned which the world would most willingly permit to perish,-" The Pleasures of Hope," or, “ Ye Mariners of England." The whole of his works have been recently collected, and published in two volumes; and, we understand, a new edition, splendidly illustrated by Turner, R.A. is in preparation.

The poetry of Campbell is universally felt, and therefore universally appreciated. His appeals are made to those sensations which are common to mankind. While his poetry can bear the test of the severest criticism, it is intelligible to the simplest understanding. As little occurs to dissatisfy the mind as the ear. His conceptions are natural and true; and the language in which he clothes them is graceful and becoming. If he has laboured hard-as it is said he always does--to render his verse easy and harmonious, he never leads the reader to suspect that his care to produce harmony has weakened his original thought. He affords no evidence of fastidiousness in the choice of words; yet they always seem the fittest for his purpose, and are never forced into a service they are not calculated to perform. He combines the qualities so rarely met together-strength and smoothness-yet his vigour is never coarse, and his delicacy never effeminate. His subjects have been all skilfully chosen ;-he has sought for themes only where a pure mind seeks them; and turned from the grosser passions, the meaner desires and the vulgar sentiments of man, as things untitted for verse,

stration. The Poet has had his reward. His poems will perish only with the memories of mankind.

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

Star that bringest home the bee,
And sett'st the weary labourer free!
If any star shed peace, 'tis thou,

That send'st it from above;
Appearing when heaven's breath and brow

Are sweet as her's we love.

Come to the luxuriant skies,
Whilst the landscape's odours rise,
Whilst far-off lowing herds are heard, —

And songs, when toil is done,
From cottages, whose smoke unstirr’d,

Curls yellow in the sun.

« PreviousContinue »