Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 54, No. 334, August 1843 online

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And life's redundant and rejoicing streams
Gave to the soulless, soul - where'er they flow'd.
Man gifted Nature with divinity
To lift and link her to the breast of Love;
All things betray'd to the initiate eye
The track of gods above!


Where lifeless - fix'd afar,
A flaming ball to our dull sense is given,
Phoebus Apollo, in his golden car,
In silent glory swept the fields of heaven!
On yonder hill the Oread was adored,
In yonder tree the Dryad held her home;
And from her Urn the gentle Naiad pour'd
The wavelet's silver foam.


Yon bay, chaste Daphnè wreathed,
Yon stone was mournful Niobe's mute cell,
Low through yon sedges pastoral Syrinx breathed,
And through those groves wail'd the sweet Philomel;
The tears of Ceres swell'd in yonder rill -
Tears shed for Proserpine to Hades borne;
And, for her lost Adonis, yonder hill
Heard Cytherea mourn! -


Heaven's shapes were charm'd unto
The mortal race of old Deucalion;
Pyrrha's fair daughter, humanly to woo,
Came down, in shepherd-guise, Latona's son.
Between men, heroes, Gods, harmonious then
Love wove sweet links and sympathies divine;
Blest Amathusia, heroes, Gods, and men,
Equals before thy shrine!


Not to that culture gay,
Stern self-denial, or sharp penance wan!
Well might each heart be happy in that day -
For Gods, the Happy Ones, were kin to Man!
The Beautiful alone, the Holy there!
No pleasure shamed the Gods of that young race;
So that the chaste Camoenæ favouring were,
And the subduing Grace!


A palace every shrine;
Your very sports heroic; - Yours the crown
Of contests hallow'd to a power divine,
As rush'd the chariots thund'ring to renown.
Fair round the altar where the incense breathed,
Moved your melodious dance inspired; and fair
Above victorious brows, the garland wreathed
Sweet leaves round odorous hair!


The lively Thyrsus-swinger,
And the wild car the exulting Panthers bore,
Announced the Presence of the Rapture-Bringer -
Bounded the Satyr and blithe Fawn before;
And Mænads, as the frenzy stung the soul,
Hymn'd, in their madding dance, the glorious wine -
As ever beckon'd to the lusty bowl
The ruddy Host divine!


Before the bed of death
No ghastly spectre stood - but from the porch
Of life, the lip - one kiss inhaled the breath,
And the mute graceful Genius lower'd a torch.
The judgment-balance of the Realms below,
A judge, himself of mortal lineage, held;
The very Furies at the Thracian's woe,
Were moved and music-spell'd.


In the Elysian grove
The shades renew'd the pleasures life held dear:
The faithful spouse rejoin'd remember'd love,
And rush'd along the meads the charioteer;
There Linus pour'd the old accustom'd strain;
Admetus there Alcestes still could greet; his
Friend there once more Orestes could regain,
His arrows - Philoctetes!


More glorious then the meeds
That in their strife with labour nerved the brave,
To the great doer of renownèd deeds,
The Hebe and the Heaven the Thunderer gave.
To him the rescued Rescuer of the dead,
Bow'd down the silent and Immortal Host;
And the Twin Stars their guiding lustre shed,
On the bark tempest-tost!


Art thou, fair world, no more?
Return, thou virgin-bloom on Nature's face;
Ah, only on the Minstrel's magic shore,
Can we the footstep of sweet Fable trace!
The meadows mourn for the old hallowing life;
Vainly we search the earth of gods bereft;
Where once the warm and living shapes were rife,
Shadows alone are left!


Cold, from the North, has gone
Over the Flowers the Blast that kill'd their May;
And, to enrich the worship of the ONE,
A Universe of Gods must pass away!
Mourning, I search on yonder starry steeps,
But thee no more, Selene, there I see!
And through the woods I call, and o'er the deeps,
And - Echo answers me!


Deaf to the joys she gives -
Blind to the pomp of which she is possest -
Unconscious of the spiritual Power that lives
Around, and rules her - by our bliss unblest -
Dull to the Art that colours or creates,
Like the dead timepiece, Godless NATURE creeps
Her plodding round, and, by the leaden weights,
The slavish motion keeps.


To-morrow to receive
New life, she digs her proper grave to-day;
And icy moons, with weary sameness, weave
From their own light their fullness and decay:
Home to the Poet's land the Gods are flown;
Light use in _them_ that later world discerns,
Which, the diviner leading-strings outgrown,
On its own axle turns.


Home! - and with them are gone
The hues they gazed on, and the tones they heard,
Life's beauty and life's melodies - alone
Broods o'er the desolate void the lifeless Word!
Yet rescued from Time's deluge, still they throng,
Unseen, the Pindus they were wont to cherish,
Ah - that which gains immortal life in song
To mortal life must perish!

We subjoin a few poems, belonging to the third period, which were
omitted in our former selections from that division.



I see her still, with many a fair one nigh,
Of every fair the stateliest shape appear:
Like a lone son she shone upon my eye -
I stood afar, and durst not venture near.
Seized, as her presence brighten'd round me, by
The trembling passion of voluptuous fear,
Yet, swift, as borne upon some hurrying wing,
The impulse snatch'd me, and I struck the string!


What then I felt - what sung - my memory hence
From that wild moment would in vain invoke -
It was the life of some discover'd sense
That in the heart's divine emotion spoke;
Long years imprison'd, and escaping thence
From every chain, the SOUL enchanted broke,
And found a music in its own deep core,
Its holiest, deepest deep, unguess'd before.


Like melody long hush'd, and lost in space,
Back to its home the breathing spirit came:
I look'd, and saw upon that angel face
The fair love circled with the modest shame;
I heard (and heaven descended on the place)
Low-whisper'd words a charmèd truth proclaim -
Save in thy choral hymns, O spirit-shore,
Ne'er may I hear such thrilling sweetness more!


"I know the worth within the heart which sighs,
Yet shuns, the modest sorrow to declare;
And what rude Fortune niggardly denies,
Love to the noble can with love repair.
The lowly have the loftiest destinies;
Love only culls the flower that love should wear;
And ne'er in vain for love's rich gifts, shill yearn
The heart that feels their wealth - and can return!"



Amidst the cloud-grey deeps afar
The Bliss departed lies;
How linger on one lonely star
The loving wistful eyes!
Alas - a star in truth - the light
Shines but a signal of the night!


If lock'd within the icy chill
Of the long sleep, thou wert -
My faithful grief could find thee still
A life within my heart; -
But, oh, the worse despair to see
Thee live to earth, and die to me!


Can those sweet longing hopes, which make
Love's essence, thus decay?
Can that be love which doth forsake? -
_That_ love - which fades away?
That earthly gifts are brief, I knew -
Is that all heaven-born mortal too?


Severe the proof the Grecian youth was doom'd to undergo,
Before he might what lurks beneath the Eleusinia know -
Art _thou_ prepared and ripe, the shrine - that inner shrine - to win,
Where Pallas guards from vulgar eyes the mystic prize within?
Know'st thou what bars thy way? how dear the bargain thou dost make,
When but to buy uncertain good, sure good thou dost forsake?
Feel'st thou sufficient strength to brave the deadliest human fray -
When Heart from Reason - Sense from Thought, shall rend themselves away?
Sufficient valour, war with Doubt, the Hydra-shape, to wage;
And that worst Foe within thyself with manly soul engage?
With eyes that keep their heavenly health - the innocence of youth
To guard from every falsehood, fair beneath the mask of Truth?
Fly, if thou can'st not trust thy heart to guide thee on the way -
Oh, fly the charmèd margin ere th' abyss engulf its prey.
Round many a step that seeks the light, the shades of midnight close;
But in the glimmering twilight, see - how safely Childhood goes!


(_Das Spiel des Lebens._)


A _literal_ version of this pretty little poem, which possibly may have
been suggested by some charming passages in Wilhelm Meister, would,
perhaps, be incompatible with the spirit which constitutes its chief
merit. And perhaps, therefore, the original may be more faithfully
rendered (like many of the Odes of Horace) by paraphrase than

Ho - ho - my puppet-show!
Ladies and gentlemen, see my show!
Life and the world - look here, in troth,
Though but _in parvo_, I promise ye both!
The world and life - in my box are they;
But keep at a distance, good folks, I pray!
Lit is each lamp, from the stage to the porch,
With Venus's naphtha, from Cupid's torch;
Never a moment, if rules can tempt ye,
Never a moment my scene is empty!
Here is the babe in his loading-strings -
Here is the boy at play;
Here is the passionate youth with wings,
Like a bird's on a stormy day,
To and fro, waving here and there,
Down to the earth and aloft through the air!
Now see the man, as for combat, enter -
Where is the peril he fears to adventure?
See how the puppets speed on to the race,}
Each his own fortune pursues in the chase; }
How many the rivals, how narrow the space! }
But, hurry and scurry, O mettlesome game!
The cars roll in thunder, the wheels rush in flame.
How the brave dart onward, and pant and glow!
How the craven behind them come creeping slow -
Ha! ha! see how Pride gets a terrible fall!
See how Prudence, or Cunning, out-races them all!
See how at the goal, with her smiling eyes,
Ever waits Woman to give the prize!


Where can Peace find a refuge? - whither, say,
Can Freedom turn? - lo, friend, before our view
The CENTURY rends itself in storm away,
And, red with slaughter, dawns on earth the New.
The girdle of the lands is loosen'd; - hurl'd
To dust the forms old Custom deem'd divine, -
Safe from War's fury not the watery world; -
Safe not the Nile-God nor the antique Rhine.
Two mighty nations make the world their field,
Deaming the world is for their heirloom given -
Against the freedom of all lands they wield
This - Neptune's trident; that - the Thund'rer's levin.
Gold to their scales each region must afford;
And, as fierce Brennus in Gaul's early tale,
The Frank casts in the iron of his sword,
To poise the balance, where the right may fail -
Like some huge Polypus, with arms that roam
Outstretch'd for prey - the Briton spreads his reign;
And, as the Ocean were his household home,
Locks up the chambers of the liberal main.
Where on the Pole scarce gleams the faintest star,
Onward his restless course unbounded flies;
Tracks every isle and every coast afar,
And undiscover'd leaves but - Paradise!
Alas, in vain on earth's wide chart, I ween,
Thou seek'st that holy realm beneath the sky -
Where Freedom dwells in gardens ever green -
And blooms the Youth of fair Humanity!
O'er shores where sail ne'er rustled to the wind,
O'er the vast universe, may rove thy ken;
But in the universe thou canst not find
A space sufficing for ten happy men!
In the heart's holy stillness only beams
The shrine of refuge from life's stormy throng;
Freedom is only in the land of Dreams;
And only blooms the Beautiful in Song!


Where now the minstrel of the large renown,
Rapturing with living words the heark'ning throng?
Charming the Man to heaven, and earthward down
Charming the God? - who wing'd the soul with song?
Yet lives the minstrel, not the deeds - the lyre
Of old demands ears that of old believed it -
Bards of bless'd time - how flew your living fire
From lip to lip! how race from race received it!
As if a God, men hallow'd with devotion -
What Genius, speaking, shaping, wrought below,
The glow of song inflamed the ear's emotion,
The ear's emotion gave the song the glow;
Each nurturing each - back on his soul - its tone
Whole nations echoed with a rapture-peal;
Then all around the heavenly splendour shone
Which now the heart, and scarce the heart can feel.


The Muse is silent; with a virgin cheek,
Bow'd with the blush of shame, she ventures near -
She waits the judgment that thy lips may speak,
And feels the def'rence, but disowns the fear.
Such praise as Virtue gives, 'tis hers to seek -
Bright Truth, not tinsel Folly to revere;
He only for her wreath the flowers should cull
Whose heart, with hers, beats for the Beautiful.

Nor longer yet these days of mine would live,
Than to one genial heart, not idly stealing,
There some sweet dreams and fancies fair to give,
Some hallowing whispers of a loftier feeling.
Not for the far posterity they strive,
Doom'd with the time, its impulse but revealing,
Born to record the Moment's smile or sigh,
And with the light dance of the Hours to fly.

Spring wakes - and life, in all its youngest hues,
Shoots through the mellowing meads delightedly;
Air the fresh herbage scents with nectar-dews;
Livelier the choral music fills the sky;
Youth grows more young, and Age its youth renews,
In that field-banquet of the ear and eye;
Spring flies - lo, seeds where once the flowers have blush'd
And the last bloom's gone, and the last muse hush'd.


Every one who knows Oxford, and a good many besides, must have heard of
certain periodical migrations of the younger members of that learned
university into distant and retired parts of her Majesty's dominions,
which (on the _"lucus à non lucendo"_ principle) are called and known by
the name of Reading Parties. Some half dozen under-graduates, in peril
of the coming examination, form themselves into a joint-stock cramming
company; take L.30 or L.40 shares in a private tutor; pitch their camp
in some Dan or Beersheba which has a reputation for dulness; and, like
other joint-stock companies, humbug the public, and sometimes
themselves, into the belief that they are "doing business." For these
classical bubbles, the long vacation is the usual season, and Wales one
of the favourite localities; and certainly, putting "Reading" out of the
question, three fine summer months might be worse spent, than in
climbing the mountains, and whipping the trout-streams, of that romantic
land. Many a quiet sea-side town, or picturesque fishing-village, might
be mentioned, which owes no little of its summer gayety, and perhaps
something of its prosperity, to the annual visit of "the Oxonians:" many
a fair girl has been indebted for the most piquant flirtation of the
season to the "gens togata," who were reading at the little
watering-place to which fate and papa had carried her for the race-week,
or the hunt ball: and whatever the effect of these voluntary
rustications upon the class lists in Oxford, they certainly have
procured for the parties occasionally a very high "provincial
celebrity." I know that when we beat our retreat from summer quarters at
Glyndewi in 18 - , the sighs of our late partners were positively
heart-rending, and the blank faces of the deserted billiard-marker and
solitary livery-stable 'groom' haunt me to this day.

I had been endeavouring by hard reading, for the last three months, to
work up the arrears of three years of college idleness, when my evil
genius himself, in the likeness of George Gordon of Trinity, persuaded
me to put the finishing touch to my education, by joining a party who
were going down to Glyndewi in - - shire, "really to read." In an
unguarded moment, I consented; packed up books enough to last me for
five years, reading at the rate of twenty-four hours per day, wrote to
the governor announcing my virtuous intention, and was formally
introduced to the Rev. Mr Hanmer, Gordon's tutor, as one of his "cubs"
for the long vacation.

Six of us there were to be; a very mixed party, and not well mixed - a
social chaos. We had an exquisite from St Mary Hall, a pea-coated
Brazenose boatman, a philosophical water-drinker and union-debater from
Balliol, and a two bottle man from Christ Church. When we first met, it
was like oil and water; it seemed as if we might be churned together for
a century, and never coalesce: but in time, like punch-making, it turned
out that the very heterogeneousness of the ingredients was the zest of
the compound.

I had never heard of such a place as Glyndewi, nor had I an idea how to
get there. Gordon and Hanmer were gone already; so I packed myself on
the top of the Shrewsbury mail, as the direct communication between
Oxford and North Wales, and there became acquainted with No. 2 of my
fellows in transportation; (for, except Gordon and myself, we were all
utter strangers to each other.) "I say, Hawkins; let's feel those
ribbons a bit, will you?" quoth the occupant of the box-seat to our
respectable Jehu. "Can't indeed, sir, with these hosses; it's as much as
ever I can do to hold this here near leader." This was satisfactory;
risking one's neck in a tandem was all very well - a part of the regular
course of an Oxford education; but amateur drivers of stage coaches I
had always a prejudice against: let gentlemen keep their own
four-in-hands, and upset themselves and families, as they have an
undeniable right to do - but not the public. I looked at the first
speaker: at his pea-jacket, that is, which was all I could see of him:
Oxford decidedly. His cigar was Oxford too, by the villanous smell of
it. He took the coachman's implied distrust of his professional
experience good-humouredly enough, proffered him his cigar-case, and
entered into a discussion on the near-leader's moral and physical
qualities. "I'll trouble you for a light, if you please," said I; he
turned round, we stuck the ends of our cigars together, and puffed into
each other's faces for about a minute, (my cigars were damp-ish,) as
grave as North American Indians. "Thank you," said I, as the interesting
ceremony was concluded, and our acquaintance begun. We got into
conversation, when it appeared that he, too, was bound for the
undiscovered shores of Glyndewi, and that we were therefore likely to be
companions for the next three months. He was an off-hand, good-humoured
fellow; drank brandy and water, treated the coachman, and professed an
acquaintance with bar-maids in general, and pretty ones in particular,
on our line of road. He was going up for a class, he supposed, he said;
the governor had taken a "second below the line" himself, and insisted
upon his emulating the paternal distinction; d - - d nonsense, he said,
in his opinion; except that the governor had a couple of harriers with
Greek names, he did not see that his classics were of any use to him:
and no doubt but that Hylax and Phryne would run just as well if they
had been called Stormer and Merry Lass. However, he must rub up all his
old Eton books this 'long,' and get old Hanmer to lay it on thick. Such
was Mr Branling of Brazenose.

At Shrewsbury, we were saluted with the intelligence, "Coach dines here,
gentlemen." We found a couple of fowls that the coach might probably
have dined upon, and digested with other articles - in the hind boot; to
human stomachs they seemed impracticable. We employed the allotted ten
minutes upon a leg of mutton, and ascended again to our stations on the
roof: and here was an addition to our party. Externally, it consisted of
a mackintosh and a fur cap: in the very short interval between the
turned-down flap of the one and the turned-up collar of the other, were
a pair of grey-glass spectacles, and part of a nose. So far we had no
very sufficient premises from which to draw conclusions, whether or not
he were "one of us." But there were internal evidences; an odour of
Bouquet de Roi or some such villanous compound nearly overpowering the
fragrance of some genuine weed which I had supplied my pea-coated friend
with in the place of his Oxford "Havannahs" - a short cough occasionally,
as though the smoke of the said weed were not altogether "the perfume of
the lip he loved;" - and a resolute taciturnity. What was he? It is a
lamentable fact that an Oxford under-graduate does not invariably look
the gentleman. He vibrates between the fashionable assurance of a London
swindler, and the modest diffidence of an overgrown schoolboy. There is
usually a degree of unfinishedness about him. He seems to be assuming a
character unlike the glorious Burschenschaf of Germany, he has no
character of his own. However, for want of more profitable occupation,
we set to work in earnest to discover who our fellow traveller really
was: and by a series of somewhat American conversational enquiries, we
at last fished out that he was going into - - shire like ourselves - nay,
in answer to a direct question on the subject, that he hopes to meet
Hanmer of Trinity at Glyndewi. But no further information could we get:
our new friend was reserved. Mr Branling and I had commenced intimacy
already. "My name is Branling of Brazenose;" "and mine Hawthorne of
- - ;" was our concise introduction. But our companion was the pink of
Oxford correctness on this point. He thanked the porter for putting his
luggage up called me "Sir" till he found I was an Oxford man; and had we
travelled for a month together, would rather have requested the coachman
to introduce us, than be guilty of any such barbarism as to introduce
himself. So by degrees our intimacy, instead of warming, waxed cold. As
night drew on, and the fire of cigars from Branling, self, and coachman,
became more deadly, the fur cap was drawn still closer over the ears,
the mackintosh crept up higher, and we lost sight of all but the outline
of the spectacles.

The abominable twitter of the sparrows in the hedgerows gave notice of
the break of day - to travellers the most dismal of all hours, in my
opinion - when I awoke from the comfortable nap into which I had fallen
since the last change of horses. For some time we alternately dozed,
tumbled against each other, begged pardon, and awoke; till at last the
sun broke out gloriously as we drove into the cheerful little town of
B - - .

A good breakfast set us all to rights, and made even our friend in the
mackintosh talkative. He came out most in the character of tea-maker:
(an office, by the way, which he filled to the general satisfaction of
his constituents during our stay in North Wales.) We found out that he
was a St Mary Hall man, with a duplicate name: Mr Sydney Dawson, as the
cards on his multifarious luggage set forth: that he was an aspirant for
"any thing he could get" in the way of honours: (humble aspiration as it
seemed, it was not destined to be gratified, for he got nothing.) He
thought he might find some shooting and fishing in Wales, so had brought
with him a gun-case and a setter; though his pretensions to
sportsmanship proved to be rather of the cockney order. For three months
he was the happily unconscious butt of our party, and yet never but once
was our good-humour seriously interrupted.

From B - - to Glyndewi we had been told we must make our way as we
could: and a council of war, which included boots and the waiter, ended

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Online LibraryVariousBlackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 54, No. 334, August 1843 → online text (page 2 of 23)