Norman Harold Hepple.

Lyrical forms in English; online

. (page 7 of 17)
Online LibraryNorman Harold HeppleLyrical forms in English; → online text (page 7 of 17)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

When proud-pied April dress'd in all his trim

Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,

That heavy Saturn laugh'd and leap'd with him.

Yet nor the lays of birds nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue

Could make me any summer's story tell,

Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew;

Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,

Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;

They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.

Yet seem'd it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.




99. "To me, fair friend, you never can be old"

To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,

Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers' pride,

Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn'd
In process of the seasons have I seen,

Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn'd,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.

Ah ! yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,

Steal from his figure and no pace perceived;

So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion and mine eye may be deceived :

For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred;
Ere you were born was beauty's summer dead.


ioo. True Love

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixe'd mark

That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken,

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out ev'n to the edge of doom:

If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.



101. When the Assault was Intended to the City

Captain, or Colonel, or Knight in Arms,

Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,
If deed of honour did thee ever please,

Guard them, and him within protect from harms.

He can requite thee; for he knows the charms
That call fame on such gentle acts as these,
And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas,

Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.

Lift not thy spear against the Muses' bower:
The great Emathian conqueror bid spare

The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
Went to the ground: and the repeated air

Of sad Electra's poet had the power

To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.


102. To the Lord General, Cromwell

Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough'd,
And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud

Hast rear'd God's trophies, and His work pursu'd;
While Darwen stream with blood of Scots imbru'd,
And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud,
And Worcester's laureat wreath: yet much remains
To conquer still; Peace hath her victories,
No less renown'd than War; new foes arise,
Threat'ning to bind our souls with secular chains:
Help us to save free conscience from the paw
Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw.




103. On his Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labour, light deni'd?"
I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work, or His own gifts; who best

Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best; His state
Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."


104. On the Late Massacre in Piedmont

Avenge, O Lord, Thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold;
Ev'n them who kept Thy truth so pure of old
When all our fathers worshipt stocks and stones
Forget not: in Thy book record their groans
Who were Thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piemontese that roll'd
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubPd to the hills, and they

To Heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
O'er all th' Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundredfold, who having learnt Thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.




105. On the Death of Mr Richard West

In vain to me the smiling mornings shine,

And redd'ning Phoebus lifts his golden fire :
The birds in vain their amorous descant join;

Or cheerful fields resume their green attire:
These ears, alas! for other notes repine,

A different object do these eyes require:
My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine;

And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.

Yet morning smiles the busy race to cheer,
And new-born pleasure brings to happier men:

The fields to all their wonted tribute bear:
To warm their little loves the birds complain :

I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear,
And weep the more, because I weep in vain.


106. The Bells of Ostend

How sweet the tuneful bells' responsive peal !
As when at opening dawn the fragrant breeze
Touches the trembling sense of pale disease,

So piercing to my heart their force I feel.

And hark ! with lessening cadence now they fall,
And now along the white and level tide
They fling their melancholy music wide;

Bidding me many a tender thought recall

Of summer days, and those delightful years

When by my native streams in life's fair prime
The mournful magic of their mingling chime

First waked my wondering childhood into tears!
But seeming now, when all those days are o'er,
The sounds of joy once heard and heard no more.




107. Sonnet on the Sonnet

Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room;

And hermits are contented with their cells;

And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,

High as the highest peak of Furness Fells,

Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells;
In truth, the prison, unto which we doom
Ourselves, no prison is; and hence to me,

In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound

Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground,
Pleased if some souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty

Should find short solace there, as I have found.


108. Upon Westminster Bridge

Earth has not anything to show more fair:

Dull would he be of soul who could pass by ***"
A sight so touching in its majesty:

This City now doth like a garment wear &s

The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,

Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky,

All bright and glittering in the smokeless air:

Never did sun more beautifully steep

In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;

Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep !
The river glideth at his own sweet will :

Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!


1 06


109. Fair Star of Evening

Fair Star of Evening, Splendour of the West,
Star of my country! On the horizon's brink
Thou hangest, stooping, as might seem, to sink

On England's bosom: yet well pleased to rest

Meanwhile, and be to her a glorious crest
Conspicuous to the Nations. Thou I think
Should'st be my Country's emblem ; and should'st wink,

Bright Star! with laughter on her banners, drest

In thy fresh beauty. There! that dusky spot
Beneath thee, it is England; there it lies.

Blessings be on you both ! one hope, one lot,

One life, one glory ! I with many a fear
For my dear Country, many heartfelt sighs,

Among men who do not love her, linger here.


no.-" The World is too much with us"

The World is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon !
This sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are upgathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I'd rather be

A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.




in. The Castle of Chillon

Eternal Spirit of the chainless mind !

Brightest in dungeons, Liberty, thou art ;

For there thy habitation is the heart
The heart which love of thee alone can bind ;
And when thy sons to fetters are consigned,

To fetters and the damp vault's dayless gloom,

Their country conquers with their martyrdom,
And Freedom's fame finds wing on every wind.

Chillon! thy prison is a holy place

And thy sad floor an altar, for 'twas trod,

Until his very steps have left a trace,

Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,

By Bonnivard ! May none those marks efface !
For they appeal from tyranny to God.


112. The Rock of Cashel

Royal and saintly Cashel! I would gaze

Upon the wreck of thy departed powers

Not in the dewy light of matin hours,
Nor the meridian pomp of summer's blaze,
But at the close of dim autumnal days,

When the sun's parting glance, through slanting showers,

Sheds o'er thy rock-throned battlements and towers
Such awful gleams as brighten o'er Decay's
Prophetic cheek. At such a time, methinks,

There breathes from thy lone courts and voiceless aisles
A melancholy moral, such as sinks

On the lone traveller's heart, amid the piles
Of vast Persepolis on her mountain stand,
Or Thebes half buried in the desert sand.




113. An Evening Cloud

A cloud lay cradled near the setting sun,,

A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow ;

Long had I watch'd the glory moving on
O'er the still radiance of the Lake below ;

Tranquil its spirit seemed and floated slow ;
Even in its very motion there was rest ;

While every breath of eve that chanced to blow
Wafted the traveller to the beauteous West.

Emblem, methought, of the departed soul,

To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is given ;

And by the breath of mercy made to roll

Right onwards to the golden gates of Heaven,

Where to the eye of Faith it peaceful lies,
And tells to man his glorious destinies.


114. On First Looking into Chapman's "Homer"

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen ;
Round many western islands have I been

Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.

Oft of one wide expanse had I been told

That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne :
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene,

Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold :

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken ;

Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific, and all his men

Look'd at each other with a wild surmise
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.




115. The Human Seasons

Four Seasons fill the measure of the year ;

There are four seasons in the mind of Man :
He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear

Takes in all beauty with an easy span :

He has his Summer, when luxuriously

Spring's honey'd cud of youthful thought he loves

To ruminate, and by such dreaming high
Is nearest unto heaven : quiet coves

His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
He furleth close ; contented so to look

On mists in idleness to let fair things
Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook :

He has his Winter too of pale misfeature,
Or else he would forego his mortal nature.


116. The Grasshopper and the Cricket

The poetry of earth is never dead :

When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run

From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead :

That is the grasshopper's he takes the lead
In summer luxury, he has never done
With his delights, for when tired out with fun,

He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.

The poetry of earth is ceasing never ;

On a lone winter evening, when the frost

Has wrought a silence, from our stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.



117. Night and Death

Mysterious Night ! when our first parent knew
Thee from report divine, and heard thy name,
Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,

This glorious canopy of light and blue ?

Yet 'neath a curtain of translucent dew,

Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
Hesperus with the host of heaven came,

And lo ! Creation widened in man's view.

Who could have thought such darkness lay concealed
Within thy beams, O Sun ! or who could find,

Whilst flow'r and leaf and insect stood revealed,
That to such countless orbs thou mad'st us blind !

Why do we then shun Death with anxious strife ?

If Light can thus deceive, wherefore not Life?


118. Sonnet written in a Workhouse

Oh, blessed ease ! no more of Heaven I ask :
The overseer is gone that vandal elf
And hemp, unpicked, may go and hang itself,

And I, untasked, except with Cowper's "Task,"

In blessed literary leisure bask

And lose the work-house, saving in the works
Of Goldsmiths, Johnsons, Sheridans, and Burkes ;

Eat prose and drink of the Castalian flask ;

The themes of Locke, the anecdotes of Spence,
The humorous of Gay, the grave of Blair

Unlearned toil, unlettered labours hence !
But hark ! I hear the master on the stair

And Thomson's Castle, that of Indolence,
Must be to me a castle in the air.




119. The Grasshopper and the Cricket

Green little vaulter in the sunny grass,

Catching your heart up at the feel of June,
Sole voice that's heard amidst the lazy noon

When even the bees lag at the summoning brass ;

And you, warm little housekeeper, who class

With those who think the candles come too soon,
Loving the fire, and with your tricksome tune

Nick the glad silent moments as they pass :

Oh ! sweet and tiny cousins, that belong,
One to the fields, the other to the hearth,

Both have your sunshine ; both, though small, are strong
At your clear hearts ; and both seem given to earth

To ring in thoughtful ears this natural song
Indoors and out, summer and winter, Mirth.


120. -The Sound of the Sea

The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide,
I heard the first wave of the rising tide

Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep

A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain's side

Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.

So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul ;

And inspirations, that we deem our own,

Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.



121. My Cathedral

Like two cathedral towers those stately pines
Uplift their fretted summits tipped with cones ;
The arch beneath them is not built with stones,

Not Art but Nature traced these lovely lines,

And carved this graceful arabesque of vines ;
No organ but the wind here sighs and moans,
No sepulchre conceals a martyr's bones,

No marble bishop on his tomb reclines.

Enter ! the pavement carpeted with leaves
Gives back a softened echo to thy tread !

Listen ! the choir is singing ; all the birds,
In leafy galleries beneath the eaves,

Are singing ! Listen ere the sound be fled,

And learn there may be worship without words.


122. Love's Reason

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say,
"I love her for her smile... her look... her way

Of speaking gently,... for a trick of thought

That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day "
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may

Be changed, or change for thee, and love, so wrought,

May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,

A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby !

But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.


H. H


123. The Sonnet

A Sonnet is a moment's monument,

Memorial from the Soul's eternity

To one dead deathless hour. Look that it be,
Whether for lustral rite or dire portent,
Of its own arduous fulness reverent :

Carve it in ivory or in ebony,

As Day or Night may rule; and let Time see
Its flowering crest impearled and orient.

A Sonnet is a coin: its face reveals

The soul, its converse, to what Power 'tis due;
Whether for tribute to the august appeals
Of Life, or dower in Love's high retinue,

It serve; or, 'mid the dark wharf's cavernous breath,
In Charon's palm it pay the toll to Death.


124. Shakespeare

Others abide our question Thou art free!
We ask and ask Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge! For the loftiest hill

Who to the stars uncrowns his majesty,

Planting his stedfast footsteps in the sea,

Making the heaven of heavens his dwelling-place,
Spares but the cloudy border of his base

To the foil'd searching of Mortality:

And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know,
Self-school'd, self-scann'd, self-honour'd, self-secure,
Didst walk on earth unguess'd at. Better so!

All pains the immortal spirit must endure,

All weakness which impairs, all griefs which bow,
Find their sole voice in that victorious brow.



125. Natura Maligna

The Lady of the Hills with crimes untold
Followed my feet with azure eyes of prey;
By glacier-brink she stood by cataract-spray

When mists were dire, or avalanche-echoes rolled.

At night she glimmered in the death-wind cold,
And if a footprint shone at break of day,
My flesh would quail, but straight my soul would say:

"'Tis hers whose hand God's mightier hand doth hold."

I trod her snow-bridge, for the moon was bright,
Her icicle-arch across the sheer crevasse,
When lo, she stood!.... God made her let me pass,
Then felled the bridge!. ...Oh, there in sallow light,
There down the chasm, I saw her cruel, white,
And all my wondrous days as in a glass.


126. Natura Benigna

What power is this? what witchery wins my feet
To peaks so sheer they scorn the cloaking snow,
All silent as the emerald gulfs below,

Down whose ice- walls the wings of twilight beat?

What thrill of earth and heaven most wild, most sweet-
What answering pulse that all the senses know,
Comes leaping from the ruddy eastern glow

Where, far away, the skies and mountains meet?

Mother, 'tis I reborn : I know thee well :
That throb I know and all it prophesies,

O Mother and Queen, beneath the olden spell
Of silence, gazing from thy hills and skies!

Dumb Mother, struggling with the years to tell
The secret at thy heart through helpless eyes.

H 2 i



" Son style imp^tueux souvent marche au hasard :
Chez elle, un beau d^sordre cst un effet de Tart."


To the Ancients the ode was simply a poem written to be
sung to music the original " lyric " or earliest type of song :
in modern poetry the ode and the song are very different things.
As the present section is confined to odes in English it will be
unnecessary to refer to the ancient ode further than to notice
that, as practised by Pindar, it served as a pattern to the English
ode in certain of its forms mentioned below.

The modern ode, in common with all other lyrical forms
except the song, is no longer intended to be sung, or to be in
any way accompanied by music. It is a dignified, serene, and
sometimes majestic lyric, not acutely personal in its note, and
dealing with one sustained, and exalted, or loftily meditative
theme of general import. It is customary to divide all modern
odes into two classes :

(1) Regular Odes, which observe some definite, structural
scheme in their stanzaic arrangement; and

(2) Irregular Odes^ which follow no such apparent metrical

I. Of these two groups the Regular Ode may be further
divided into:

(a) the Anglo-Pindaric Ode which imitates the symmetrical
structure of the Ancient Regular Pindaric Ode, described in



the Note to Gray's Progress of Poesy, the only example of the
species included in this volume ; and

(b) those which consist of a uniform series of regular stanzas,
the form in which, with few exceptions, our greatest English
odes have been written, and of which Wordsworth's Ode to Duty,
Shelley's To a Skylark, and Keats' On a Grecian Urn are examples,

II. The Irregular Ode is written in stanzas, irregular in
length and arrangement, though generally rhymed. In the
body of these, abrupt changes of metre and versification occur,
short lines, singly or in groups, being suddenly interpolated
among longer ones, and vice versa. Before Pindar's regular
metrical scheme was understood, the poets believed, erroneously,
that in using this irregular odic form they were following the
Pindaric model; and it is not surprising that in failing to
understand Pindar's scheme they should have failed also, for
the most part, to appreciate its melody and purpose, and, in
consequence, to produce anything but poetry of a very mediocre
quality. For the abrupt variations in metre and cadence should
be neither arbitrary nor meaningless, but " the outward and
visible signs" of corresponding variations in feeling or in thought.
When the poet is writing under the direct influence of an
inspiration which for the time being entirely controls his
expression, this may follow naturally; but when, as is more
frequently the case in odic composition, the irregular metre is
the result of the more deliberate application of art, the poem
will be excellent, at any rate as regards form, in proportion to
the genius displayed in adapting the metre to the theme. As
an example of such genius and skill, Dry den's Alexander's Feast
is perhaps unrivalled, and from it I quote two short passages in
illustration :

(a) "He chose a mournful Muse
Soft pity to infuse :
He sung Darius great and good,
By too severe a fate
Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
Fallen from his high estate,
And weltering in his blood ;
Deserted at his utmost need,
By those his former bounty fed ;
On the bare earth exposed he lies
With not a friend to close his eyes."


(b) " Hark, hark ! the horrid sound
Has raised up his head :
As awaked from the dead
And amazed he stares around.
Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries,
See the furies arise !
See the snakes that they rear
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes!"

The quiet sadness of the former passage, intensified by the
effective repetition of the wordfa//en^ is in striking contrast to
the harsh, strident vigour of the more irregular and rapid metre
of the lines in (). The form of both passages is obviously in
keeping with and suggested by the different kinds of emotion
excited in Alexander by the music of Timotheus.

During the study of the odes in this volume it will prove a
useful and interesting exercise to try to account for any metrical
variations of this kind which may occur.


127. At a Solemn Music

Blest pair of Sirens, pledges of Heaven's joy,

Sphere-born, harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse,
Wed your divine sounds; and mixt power employ

Dead things with inbreath'd sense able to pierce;
And to our high-raised phantasy present
That undisturbed song of pure concent,

Aye sung before the sapphire-colour'd throne
To Him that sits thereon,

With saintly shout and solemn jubilee;

1 2 3 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Online LibraryNorman Harold HeppleLyrical forms in English; → online text (page 7 of 17)