Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

interest so lively in those precious recollections, as will be mutually and equally shared by you. When Adam and Eve are exiled paradise, Mil

ton says,

“ They, hand in hand, with wandering steps, and slow,

Thro' Eden took their solitary way."

The little words, “ hand in hand,” steal, witlı balmy power, upon the pains of sensibility, while it contemplates that mournful banishment. Were I near you, I should strive to sooth, instead of using fruitless endeavours, by common-place arguments, to banish your grief. I should ask yon concerning Chatillion's person, his graces and his virtues. By making them habitually our theme, a lost friend seems not lost; he mingles in our conversation; we see him; we hear his voice; we make our friends see and listen to him ; and we imagine that his beatified spirit hovers over us; and that it is not among the least of its de lights to contemplate the affection, which thus consecrates his idea in the breast of those who were dearest to him upon earth, and to whom he will soon be reunited in that state, the happiness of which will find its perfection in the consciousness of its perpetuity.

The brilliant bard of Sussex lately sent me a beautifully Aattering impromptu from his new

tor.

Parnassus; its subject a mistake of his sculp

IMPROMTU BY MR HAYLEY.

YE gods, cried a bard, with a classical oath,

Who had order'd the bustos of Pope and of Prior;
That on each side of Seward*, who rivals them both,
They might properly honour that queen of the lyre:

O Jove, he exclaim'd, if I wielded thy thunder,

I wou'd frighten the sculptor who ruins my hope,
Sure never did artist commit such a blunder,

He has sent me a NEWTON instead of a POPE.

In the wonders of nature Sir Isaac was vers'd,

But, alas! with the NINE he had little alliance,
And tho' to the bottom of comets he pierc'd,

He ne'er sounded woman, that much deeper science.

But away, old astronomer! 'tis not thy post!

Here, exclaim'd the vex'd poet, take Newton away; When, O wonderful speech! in the tone of a ghost, The meek modest sage thus petition'd to stay :

"Dear irascible bard, be a little more just,

Nor thy sculptor accuse of a careless transaction,
In the shape of a cold and insensible bust,

I am drawn to thy house by the laws of attraction.

* Her picture by Romney.

Tho' sages and bards judge but ill of a brother,
While matter incumbers the spirit of each,
All the children of science are just to each other,
When they soar out of human infirmity's reach.

E'en on canvas thy Seward has virtue to draw

A philosopher's soul from the regions of bliss,
To contemplate her genius may charm him who saw
All the secret sublime of the starry abyss.

Then on me, I beseech you, this charge to confer ;
Of Seward's attendants I justly am one :
The rapt student of light may well wait upon her,
Whose fancy has all the rich hues of the sun."

LETTER VII.

WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.

Lichfield, March 15, 1785.

ABSORBED by considerations yet more interesting than even your beautiful writings, I believe my last letter made no comment upon the agreeable hope, extended in the epistle to which it replied, viz. that of seeing a new emanation from our bright fountain of poetic light. Till I feel more assured hope of your restoration to health, I shall look forward to the gratification of

this curiosity in that sort of languor with which a sick man expects his friend to undraw his curtains, after he has been told that morning is arisen in all the summer's glory.

Cruel! Why would you not send me the trimming epigram upon the mitred pedant, who has so despicably criticized your Sargent's beauteous dramatic poem? Not less welcome to me is the gall than the honey of Mr Hayley's pen, since sure I am, that when it flows, it is the hand of justice which lifts the flood-gates. Beattie commends, and calls the indignation generous, with which we smile over the chastisement of the malevolent.

Miss Weston has sent me a most interesting extract from a letter lately received from Mr Whalley, and dated December 1784. There is no resisting the temptation of copying it here for your amusement.

"I have this month visited the celebrated fountain of VAUCLUSE. It is the fullest, purest, and most beautiful source imaginable. So serenely does it sleep in a vast cavern, at the foot of a lofty rock, that not one intruding breath ruffles its azure surface, even while it is sending out an hundred limpid streams from its secret and immeasureable depth. These streams gush out from beneath a shelving bed of huge mossy

stones, in various directions, and unite themselves at once in a little river. But this is its state only when the waters are low. As soon as the first ardent beams of the sun penetrate into the storehouses of the mountain-snows, and send them dissolving through the rocky crevices to replenish the springs, the Fountain of Vaucluse swells, and fills completely the ample cavern in which it now slumbers; and then, scorning even that mound, its waters rush out with impetuous fury at the mouth of the cave, and foam over the rough crags, which now seem to tower far above their reach. Then it is that this overflowing fountain increases the now gentle Sorgue into a wide and rapid torrent, that often deluges the vale.

-“While I sat and leaned on a rock, what a soft melancholy did the striking scene of tender poe. tic consecration breathe over my soul! mine, which was so much less affected than that of Petrarch by relative objects and concatenated ideas; but you must not talk of the laurels around this fountain, for there are none, or rather it is abundant in poetic, because imaginary bowers. There can be little doubt, however, that such laurel bowers were contemporary with the poet, planted probably in lavish plenty by his hand, from their similarity to the name of his mistress, and

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »