Page images

Thy power unjust, thou traitor slave!

Shall fall on thy own head"— From out of hearing of the king

Departed then the sled.

King Edward's soul rush'd to his face,

He turn'd his head away, And to his brother Gloucester

He thus did speak and say:

"To him, that so-much-dreaded death

No ghastly terrors bring;
Behold the man! he spake the truth;

He's greater than a king I"

"So let liim die I" Duke Richard said "And may each one our ibes

Bend down their necks to bloody axe,
And feed the carrion crows."

And now the horses gently drew
Sir Charles up the high hill;

The axe did glister in the sun,
His precious blood to spill.

Sir Charles did up the scaffold go,

As up a gilded car
Of victory, by valorous chiefs

Gaind in the bloody war.

And to the people he did say:

"Behold you see me die, For serving loyally my king,

My king most rightfully.

As long as Edward rules this land,

No quiet you will know; Your sons and husbands shall be slain,

And brooks with blood shall flow.

You leave your good and lawful king,

When in adversity;
Like me, unto the true cause suck,

And for the true cause die."

Then he, with priests, upon his knees,
A prayer to God did make,

Beseeching him imto himself
His parting soul to take.

Then, kneeling down, he laid his head
Most seemly on the block;

Which from his body fair at once
The able headsman stroke:

And out the blood began to flow,
And round the scaffold twine;

And tears, enough to wash't away,
Did flow from each man's cyne.

The bloody axe his body fair

Into four partis cut;
And every part, and eke his head,

Upon a pole was put.
One part did rot on Kinwulph-hill,

One on the minster-tower,
And one from off the castle-gate

The crowen did devour.
The other on Saint Paul's good gate,

A dreary spectacle;
His head was placed on the high cross,

In high street most noble.
Thus was the end of Bawdin's fate:

God prosper long our king,
And grant he may, with Bawdin's soul,

In heaven God's mercy sing I


O God, whose thunder shakes the sky,

Whose eye this atom globe surveys; To Thee, my only rock, I fly,

Thy mercy in thy justice praise.

The mystic mazes of thy will,

The shadows of celestial light,
Are past the power of human skill—

But what the Eternal acts is right

O teach me in the trying hour,

When anguish swells the dewy tear, To still my sorrows, own thy power,

Thy goodness love, thy justice fear.

If in this bosom aught bnt Thee

Encroaching sought a boundless sway,

Omniscience could the danger see,
And Mercy look the cause away.

Then why, my soul, dost thou complain t

Why drooping seek the dark recess 1 ,

Shake off the melancholy chain, 1'

Foj God created all to bless.

But ah! my breast is human still—

The rising sigh, the falling tear, My languid vitals' feeble rill,

The sickness of my soul declare.

But yet, with fortitude resign'd,

I'll thank th' inflicter of the blow; Forbid the sigh, compose my mind,

Nor let the gush of misery flow.

The gloomy mantle of the night,

Which on my sinking spirits steals, Will vanish at the morning light,

Which God, my East, my Sun, reveals.

MARK AKENSIDE. 1721—1770.

Fxw English poets of the eighteenth century are to be mnked before the author of " The Pleasures of the Imagination." He was born on the 9th of November, 1721, at Neweastle-upon-Tyne, an J was edncated at the University of Edinburgh. His parents designed him for the ministry, but as his edncation progressed, other views governed him, and he devoted himself to the study of medicine as his future profession. After remaining three years at the Scottish capital, he went to Leyden, where he also studied three years, and took his degree of M. D. in 1744. Returning home the same year, he published his poem, " The Pleasures of the Imagination/' On ottering the copy to Dodsley, he demanded £120 for the manuscript, but the wary publisher hesitated at paying snch a price for the work of an unknown youth of twenty, three. He therefore showed the work to Pope, when the latter, having glanced over a few pages, said, "Don't be niggardly about the terms, for this is no every-day writer."

No sooner was it published than it excited great attention, and received goneml applause. But he could not reap from it "the means whereby to live," and he betook himself to the pmctice of his profession. He first settled in Northampton; but finding little encoumgement there, he removed to Hampstead, and thence finally to Loudon. Here he experienced the difficulty of getting into notice in a large city, and though he acquired seveml professional henors, he never obtained any large share of pmctice. He was busy in presenting himself to public notice, by publishing medical essays and observations, and delivering lectures, when his career was terminated by a putrid fever, on the 23d of January, 1770.

The Pleasures of the Imagination is written in blank verse, with great heauty of versification, elegance of language, and splendor of imagery. Its object is to tmce the various pleasures which we receive from nature and art to their respective principles in the human imagination, and to show the connection of those principles with the moml dignity of man. and the final purposes of his creation.1 This task Akenside has executed in a most admimble manner. If his philosophy be not always correct, his geneml ideas of moml truth are lofty and prepossessing. He is peculiarly eloquent in those passages in which he describes the final causes of our emotions of taste; he is equally skilful in delineating the processes of memory and association; and he gives an animating view of Genius collecting her stores for works of excellence. Of this poem Dr. Johnson remarks, "It has undoubtedly a just claim to a very

• Nonius and uncommon the original inspiration, under which he had written the work, does not appear to have been ready at his call.1


With what attractive charms this goodly frame
Of nature touches the consenting hearts
Of mortal men; and what the pleasing stores
Which beauteous imitation thence derives
To deck the poet's or the painter's toil;
My verse unfolds. Attend, ye gentle powers
Of musical delight! and while I sing
Your gifts, your honors, dance around my strain.
Thou smiling queen of every tuneful breast,
Indulgent Fancy! from the fruitful banks
Of Avon, whence thy rosy fingers cull
Fresh flowers and dews to sprinkle on the turf
Where Shakspeare lies, be present: and with thee
Let Fiction come, upon her vagrant wings,
Wafting ten thousand colors through the air,
Which, by the glances of her magic eye,
She blends and sliifts at will, through countless forms,
Her wild creation. Goddess of the lyre,
Which rules the accents of the moving sphere,
Wilt thou, eternal Harmony I descend,
And join this festive train? for with thee comes
The guide, the guardian of their lovely sports,
Majestic Truth; and where Truth deigns to come
Her sister Liberty w ill not be far.
Be present, all ye genii, who conduct
The wandering footsteps of the youthful bard,
New to your springs and shades: who touch his ear
With finer sounds: who heighten to his eye
The bloom of nature; and before him turn
The gayest, happiest attitude of things.

OA have the laws of each poetic strain
The critic-verse employ d; yet still unsung
Lay this prime subject, though importing most
A poet's name: for fruitless is th1 attempt,
By dull obedience and by creeping toil,
Obscure, to conquer the severe ascent
Of high Parnassus. Nature's kindling breath
Must fire the chosen genius; nature's hand
Must string his nerves, and imp his eagle-wings,
Impatient of the painful steep, to soar
High as the summit; there to breathe at largo
Ethereal air; with bards and sages old,
Immortal sons of praise. These flattering scenes,
To this neglected labor court my song:
Yet not unconscious what a doubtful task
To paint the finest features of the mind,
And to most subtle and mysterious things
Give color, strength, and motion. But the love

I Read—Mr*. BarhntiM'a elegant F.anay, prefixed to an edition of Ids poem, published In 1796; In which she characterizes his renin* a* lofty and elegant, rhnjtc, class<tal, and correct.


Of nature and the mu9es bids explore,
Through secret paths erewhile untrod by man,
The fair poetic region, to detect
Untasted springs, to drink inspiring draughts,
And shade my temples with unfading flowers
Cull'd from the laureate vale's profound recess,
Where never poet gain'd a wreath before.

But not alike to every mortal eye
Is this great scene unveil'd. For since the claims
Of social life to different labors urge
The active powers of man; with wise intent
The hand of nature on peculiar minds
Imprints a different bias, and to each
Decrees its province in the common toil
To some she taught the fabric of the sphere,
The changeful moon, the circuit of the stars,
The golden zones of heaven; to some she gave
To weigh the moment of eternal things,
Of time, and space, and fate's unbroken chain,
And will's quick impulse: others by the hand
She led o'er vales and mountains, to explore
What healing virtue swells the tender veins
Of herbs and flowers; or what the beams of morn
Draw forth, distilling from the clefted rind
In balmy tears. But some to higher hopes
Were destined; some within a finer mould
She wrought, and temper'd with a purer flame.
To these the Sire Omnipotent unfolds
The world's harmonious volume, there to rend
The transcript of himself. On every part
They trace the bright impressions of his hand:
In earth or air, the meadow's purple stores,
The moon's mild radiance, or the virgin's form
Blooming widi rosy smiles, they see portray d
That uncreated beauty, which delights
The mind supreme. They also feel her charms,
Enamour'd; they partake th' eternal joy.

Man's Immortal Aspirations.

Say, why was man so eminently raised Amid the vast creation; why ordain'd Through life and death to dart his piercing eye, With thoughts beyond the limit of his frame; But that th' Omnipotent might send him forth In sight of mortal and immortal powers, As on a boundless theatre, to run The great career of justice; to exalt His generous aim to all diviner deeds; To chase each partial purpose from his breast, And through the mists of passion and of sense, And through the tossing tide of chance and pain, To hold his course unfaltering, while the voice Of truth and virtue, up the steep ascent Of nature, calls him to his high reward, Th' applauding smile of heaven? Else wherefore bums

« PreviousContinue »