Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of this.-Out on those who would melt « Even there, beneath that light-house tower down the golden strings of the poet's In the tumultuous evil hour,

Ere peace with Sara came; harp to be coined at the mint, and

Time was I should have thought it sweet would cut up the ivory frame into To count the echoings of my feet, tooth-brushes! Out on those who And watch the storm-vexed flame. would banish Homer from their re And there in black soul-jaundiced fit,

A sad gloom-pampered man to sit, public, declaiming against poetry as a

And listen to the roar : vain and useless art! Is it nothing, When mountain surges bellowing deep in this harsh and jarring sphere of With an uncouth monster leap ours, to have our noblest impulses and

Plunged foaming on the shore. kindliest feelings called forth like Then by the lightning's blaze to mark fountains by the prophet? Is it no

Some toiling tempest-shattered bark,

Her vain distress-guns hear; thing to have our selfishness counter And when a second sheet of light acted by sympathy with others ?-We Flash'd o'er the blackness of the night, appeal to these compositions ; and if

To see no vessel there! the reader does not rise from them,

But fancy now more gaily sings;

Or if awhile she droop her wings, like their own marriage-guest, "a

As skylarks 'mid the corn, wiser and a sadder man,” he is, in On summer fields she grounds her breast : deed, what such theories would make

The oblivious poppy o'er her nest

• Nods, till returning morn. him-a machine, whose thoughts go by clock-work, and his actions by

O mark those smiling tears that swell

The opened rose ! from heaven they fell, steam ; and Coleridge is not so sure

And with the sunbeam blend. of his immortality as we had believed. Blessed visitations from above,

Yet even volumes like these are Such are the tender woes of Love, matters of regret : how much more

Fostering the heart they bend !” might not, ought not, Coleridge to

" A green and silent spot amid the hills, have done! His fine imagination has A small and silent dell! O’er stiller place rioted in its own idleness ; he has been No singing skylark ever poised himself. content to think, or rather dream, so

The hills are heathy, save that swelling slope,

Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on, much of his life away :—too fanciful All golden with the never-bloomless furze, an architect, he has carved the marble, Which now blooms most profusely; but the and planned the princely halls, but

dell,

Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate wandered continually away and left

As vernal corn-field, or the unripe flax, the palace in fragments, from which When, through its half-transparent stalks, at

eve, other artists may copy more finished

The level sunshine glimmers with green light. works ; and of which, like those from

Oh, 'tis a quiet spirit-healing nook ! the Elgin Marbles, how few will' equal Which all, methinks, would love; but chiefly the grace and beauty of the original !

he,

The humble man, who, in his youthful years, The first to break through the tram

Knew just so much of folly as had made mels of artificial versification, to deem His early manhood more securely wise ! nature in its simplicity meet study for

Here he might lie on fern or withered heath.

While from the singing lark, (that sings unthe poet, Coleridge is the founder of

seen, our present noble and impassioned The minstrelsy that solitude loves best,) school of poetry : his spirit, like the

And from the sun, and from the breezy air,

Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame; fire which fertilises the soil it pervades,

And he, with many feelings, many thoughts, has impregnated the mind of most of Made up a meditative joy, and found our modern bards, “ giving a truth

Religious meanings in the forms of nature !

And so, his senses gradually wrapt and beauty of its own."

In a half sleep, he dreams of better worlds, We are now going to quote just a And dreaming hears thee still, O singing-lark, few fragments, just lines, stanzas, or

That singest like an angel in the clouds !" but a single image, yet all of them Never in any fiction has nature so bearing the stainp of everlasting fame, finely blended with the supernatural each and all of the finest poetry. as in the Ancient Mariner : what a Speaking of change produced in him picture of desolation, relieved by a by happy love

gleam of hope, is in this verse!

dell,

“At length did cross an albatross,

It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek,
Through the fog it came ;

Like a meadow-gale of spring
As if it had been a Christian soul,

It mingled strangely with my fears,
We hailed it in God's name."

Yet it felt like a welcoming."
How vivid the following :-

And his return !“ The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, “Oh, dream of joy! is this indeed The furrow followed free;

The light-house top I see ! We were the first that ever burst

Is this the hill ? is this the kirk ? Into that silent sea.

Is this mine own countree? Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down, We drifted o'er the harbor bar, 'Twas sad as sad could be ;

And I with sobs did prayAnd we did speak only to break

O let me be awake, my God! The silence of the sea !

Or let me sleep alway.All in a hot and copper sky,

Never did poet compress into single The bloody sun, at noon, Right up above the mast did stand, lines more of strength and beauty :No bigger than the moon.

“the silence sank Day after day, day after day,

Like music on my heart.”
We stuck, nor breath nor motion ;
As idle as a painted ship

“ Large tears that leave the lashes bright!" Upon a painted ocean."

“ Hope draws towards itself Then how exquisite the way in which The flame with which it kindles.” the charm begins to break!

“And tears take sunshine from thine eyes !" “ Beyond the shadow of the ship,

But the following exquisite ballad I watched the water-snakes ; They moved in tracks of shining white, we must quote entire. And when they reared, the elfish light Fell off in hoary flakes.

“ All thoughts, all passions, all delights,

Whatever stirs this mortal frame, Within the shadow of the ship

All are but ministers of Love,
I watched their rich attire :

And feed his sacred flame.
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam, and every track Oft in my waking dreams do I
Was a flash of golden fire.

Live o'er again that happy hour,

When midway on the mount I lay,
O happy living things ! no tongue

Beside the ruined tower.
Their beauty Inight declare :
A spring of love gushed from my heart,

The moonshine, stealing o'er the scene, And I blessed them unaware.

Had blended with the lights of eve; Sure my kind saint took pity on me,

And she was there, my hope, my joy, And I blessed them unaware.

My own dear Genevieve ! The self same moment I could pray;

She leant against the armed man, And from my neck so free

The statue of the armed knight; The albatross fell off, and sank

She stood and listened to my lay, Like lead into the sea.”

Amid the lingering light.

Few sorrows hath she of her own, Then this description of music :

My hope ! my joy ! my Genevieve !

She loves me best whene'er I sing
“ And now 'twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute ;

The songs that make her grieve.
And now it is an angel's song,

I played a soft and doleful air,
That makes the heavens be mute.

I sang an old and moving story-
It ceased; yet still the sails made on

And old rude song that suited well
A pleasant noise till noon,

That ruin wild and hoary.
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,

She listened with a fitting blush,
That to the sleeping woods all night

With downcast eyes and modest grace;
Singeth a quiet tune.”

For well she knew I could not choose

But guze upon her face. Perhaps the supernatural was never I told her of the knight that wore so depicted by a single touch as in

Upon his shield a burning brand ;

And that for ten long years he wooed the ensuing :

The lady of the land.
“ But soon there breathed a wind on me, I told her how he pined ; and ah!
Nor sound nor motion made;

The deep, the low, the pleading tone
Its path was not upon the sea,

With which I sang another's love,
In ripple or in shade.

Interpreted my own.
14 ATHENEUM, vol. 1, 3d series.

We shall insert but one other little piece, as a variety among our specimens; a piece which well suits its playful title.

She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace;
And she forgave me that I gazed

Too fondly on her face.
But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed that bold and lovely knight,
And that he crossed the mountain woods,

Nor rested day nor night;
That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once

In green and sunny glade-
There came and looked him in the face
An angel beautiful and bright;
And that he knew it was a fiend,

This miserable knight!
And that, unknowing what he did,
He leaped amid a murderous band,
And saved from outrage worse than death

The lady of the land ! And how she wept and clasped his knees, And how she tended him in vain, And ever strove to expiate

The scorn that crazed his brain.
And that she nursed him in a cave;
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest-leaves

A dying man he lay.
His dying words, but when I reached
That tenderest strain of all the dilty,
My faltering voice and pausing harp

Disturbed her soul with pity.
All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrilled my guileless Genevieve;
The music and the doleful tale,

The rich and balmy eve,
And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes long subdued,

Subdued and cherished long.
She wept with pity and delight,
She blushed with love and virgin shame;
And like the murmur of a dream,

I heard her breathe my name.
Her bosom heaved-she stepped aside,
As conscious of my look she stepped-
Then suddenly, with timorous eye,

She fled to me and wept.
She half enclosed me with her arms,
She pressed me with a meek embrace;
And bending back her head, looked up,

And gazed upon my face.
'Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly 'twas a bashful art,
That I might rather feel than see

The swelling of her heart,
I calmed her fears, and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin pride :
And so I won my Genevieve,

My bright and beauteous bride."

Something childish, but very natural.
If I had but two little wings,
And were a little feathery bird,

To you I'd fly, my dear!
But thoughts like these are idle things,

And I stay here.
But in my sleep to you I fly :
I'm always with you in my sleep!

The world is all one's own.
But then one wakes, and where am I ?

All, all alone.
Sleep stays not, though a monarch bids :
So I love to wake ere break of day;

For though my sleep be gone,
Yet, while 'tis dark, one shuts one's lids,

And still dreams on." From the mode in which the foregoing is introduced, it is evident that whenever Coleridge condescends to trifle he is aware of the fact, which is not always the case with poets, many of whom esteem their poorest productions more than their most successful efforts. It is curious, however, to remark, that with this just sense of the pure ore and the dross, even Coleridge frequently falls into the errors of puerility and doggrel. But this is not a review of censure : it is of well-earned admiration.

And we may boldly ask, what can be added to a mosaic of poetical gems like these? We have only one other observation to make, which is,-how much the force of his description is increased by the reiteration of images : for instance, how the repeated allusion to the lark in our second quotation impresses it on the imagination. This is a part of his art in which he is eminently happy.

. We shall not at present attempt to analyse the magnificent translation of Wallenstein: we have done enough for our readers in the specimens we have given of three of the most exquisite poetical volumes in the English language.

ESSAYS ON PHYSIOLOGY, OR THE LAWS OF ORGANIC LIFE.*

Essay II.-THE DistinctiONS BETWEEN THE ANIMAL AND VEGETABLE KINGDOMS, AND

THE POWERS BY WHICH THE OPERATIONS OF THE ORGANIC FRAME ARE CARRIED ON. HAVING thus stated the general re- vance to the polypus, an animal as sults, or demonstrative characters, of simple as the plant in organization, the vital principle, as manifested by without volition, and forming one of organic bodies, we may proceed to the lowest links in the chain of animal examine the more immediate powers existence. Here we find a tube comor agents, by which the living body posed of an homogeneous mass, capais enabled to perform the various and ble of contracting and dilating,-or multiform operations, necessary to its exerting itself by an involuntary poworganic existence.-As it is to the er, in obedience to the action of exanimal system, however, that we pur- ternal causes,-possessing, however, pose especially to direct our inquiries, neither heart, nor vessels, nor distinct it may be as well, for the sake of nerves ;--fixed also, as the plant, clearness, before entering on this while every part is endowed with branch of our subject, to offer a con- complete vital independence ; so that densed sketch of the distinctions which however divided, each portion beseparate the two great kingdoms of comes a new and perfect animal, caorganic bodies,-namely, the animal pable again of re-division with the and the vegetable. And here we may same effects. remark, that although, upon a cursory Next to the polypus, are the worms, view, they may seem perfectly dis- -a tribe unfurnished with a heart, but tinct and separate ; yet, upon a more possessing sensibility, and consideradeliberate examination, the line of de- ble power of muscular motion ;-camarkation may not perhaps be so rea- pable, also, of reproduction by dividily ascertained, as we were led at sion, although not bearing it to so first to imagine; since it would ap- great an extent ;-nor, indeed, is pear that from the highest order of there so complete a vital independence animals, to the plant, there may be of parts, as in the polypus. traced a regular chain or series of Above these, again, rank the crusgradations.-For instance : examine a taceous tribes, including the crab, lobplant; it will be found to consist of a ster, &c. In these, distinct muscles, multitude of tubes, capable of effect- nerves, and vessels, are discovered, ing a conversion in the nature of the and, although imperfect, a heart and fluids they absorb, and of propelling, brain ;-they have, therefore, some also, those fluids onwards, as nutri- degree of intelligence. With this ment, through branches, leaves, and more complete organization, they are flowers, whence their freshness and consequently incapable of division into their beauty are derived ;-and al- distinct animals, as the polypus or though incapable of locomotion, the worm ; nevertheless, however, they plant is enabled to obey the influence are endowed with the power of reproof warmth and air,-the buds unfold, ducing, on their loss or abscission, the and the leaves and flowers expand, claws, and parts non-essential to the and turn to meet the rays of the sun. continuance of life. In most cases, the plant is capable of Rising still higher in the chain, with being divided into slips, each slip hav- respect to indications of intelligence, ing independently in itself every part and corporeal endowments, are the and property equal to the parent tribes of fishes, and reptiles, or anustock, and producing flowers and seeds. phibious animals ;-above these, birds;

From the plant, let us next ad- —and again, the mammalia, with Man

* See page 38.

at their head, towering high above vious,--and the same remark will, on them all—their intellectual lord. Thus close examination, be found to hold may we trace the links rising gradu- good, as it regards those animals and ally through the series of organized plants which bear the nearest affinity. beings. But though not so evident, For instance, the solid parts of vegeas perhaps a superficial view would tables consist of bundles of fibres, or lead us to suppose, still, however near- threads, which lie parallel to one anly the two kingdoms may at one point other,-each fibre constituting a tube, approximate, distinguishing charac- or vessel, for the circulation of the teristics do exist, which draw a line sap. Their construction is cylindribetween them.

cal throughout; and they are aggreFirst, then, animals differ from gated into bundles, the volume of plants in the arrangement and combi- which diminishes, as they proceed onnation of their constituent principles. ward to the extremities of the plant ; The essential elements of organized but it is not the subdivision of the matter appear to be carbon, oxygen, tubes themselves, which occasions this hydrogen, and azote or nitrogen,- decrease, but the separation of a certogether with alkaline and earthy tain number of tubes from the general salts : now, the solid parts of all aggregation, in order to form smaller plants contain carbon, oxygen, and bundles. Of these tubes, or fibres, hydrogen, with scarcely a trace of we have observed the solid parts of azote. The solid parts of animals plants to consist : but, on the contraconsist of lime, or magnesia, united ry, the tubes, or vessels, for the cirwith carbonic or phosphoric acids ;- culation of the fluids, in animals, never and in those beings of both kingdoms, constitute the solid parts,-they are which appear to be destitute of solid all conical,-never proceed in bundles parts, the points of difference are by a parallel course, and each vessel, even more numerous. We find the giving off branches from itself, dimigum or mucilage of soft plants, differ- nishes by subdivision. ing widely from the gelatine, or albu- Thirdly, animals differ from plants men, of soft animals, the former be- in their nutrition. Every animal is ing destitute of azote, which enters as furnished with an apparatus, for the a constituent into the latter.-In the reception of food internally, where it soft animals, there is no extensive undergoes certain changes, before its combination of carbon, oxygen, and hy- admission into the system,-and this drogen, into which azote does not en- admission is effected by means of a ter,-or, in other words, no substance class of vessels, termed lacteals, or of a vegetable kind. In consequence absorbents, which all originate on the of this difference of composition, ani- inside of this apparatus. There is nomal and vegetable matters may be thing similar to this in plants ;-that easily distinguished when burning,– is, they have no digestive apparatus of the odor of each being peculiar, and a similar nature. In these, the abaffording an infallible criterion. Be- sorbing vessels of nutrition all arise sides, as vegetables abound in oxygen, externally on the surface. This, inthey have a tendency, after death, to deed, constitutes a most obvious and become acid, by its forming new com- essential mark of distinction, and binations with carbon and hydrogen; hence Dr. Alston was led fancifully

-whereas, the soft parts of animals, to term plants inverted animals. after death, are disposed to become Fourthly, animals are endowed with alkaline, the azote entering into new sensation—the powers of voluntary combinations with the hydrogen, and motion and for the most part, of locoforming ammonia.

motion. Plants possess not one of Secondly, animals and plants exhi- these qualifications. In all animals, hit a difference in structure ;--this, it is true, a nervous system (on which indeed, in the higher classes is ob- sensation depends) cannot be disco

« AnteriorContinuar »