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“ To an early Primrose” was written at thirteen
-the others are of a later date.—The Sonnets are chiefly. irregular; they have, perhaps, no other claim to that specific denomination, than that they consist only of fourteen lines.
Such are the Poems towards which I entreat the lenity of the Public. The Critic will doubtless find in them much to condemn; he may likewise possibly discover something to commend. Let him scan my faults with an indulgent eye, and in the work of that correction which I invite, let him remember he is holding the iron Mace of Criticism over the flimsy superstructure of a youth of seventeen, and, remembering that, may he forbear from crushing, by too much rigour, the painted butterfly whose transient colours may otherwise be capable of affording a moment's innocent amusement.
H. K. WHITE. Nottingham.
Lo! in the west, fast fades the lingering light,
And day's last vestige takes its silent flight.
No more is heard the woodman's measured stroke,
Which with the dawn from yonder dingle broke;
No more, hoarse clamouring o’er the uplifted head,
The crows assembling seek their wind-rock'd bed;
Stilld is the village hum—the woodland sounds
Have ceased to echo o'er the dewy grounds,
And general silence reigns, save when below
The murmuring Trent is scarcely heard to flow;
And save when, swung by ’nighted rustic late,
Oft, on its hinge, rebounds the jarring gate;
Or when the sheep-bell, in the distant vale,
Breathes its wild music on the downy gale.
Now, when the rustic wears the social smile,
Released from day and its attendant toil,
And draws his household round their evening fire,
And tells the ofttold tales that never tire ;
Or, where the town's blue turrets dimly rise,
And manufacture taints the ambient skies,
The pale mechanic leaves the labouring loom, .
The air-pent hold, the pestilential room,
And rushes out, impatient to begin
The stated course of customary sin :
Now, now my solitary way I bend
Where solemn groves in awful state impend.
And cliffs, that boldly rise above the plain,
Bespeak, bless'd Clifton! thy sublime domain.
Here lonely wandering o'er the sylvan bower,
I come to pass the meditative hour;
To bid awhile the strife of passion cease,
And woo the calms of solitude and peace.
And oh! thou sacred Power, who rear’st on high
Thy leafy throne where waving poplars sigh!
Genius of woodland shades! whose mild control
Steals with resistless witchery to the soul,
Come with thy wonted ardour, and inspire
My glowing bosom with thy hallow'd fire.
And thou too, Fancy, from thy starry sphere,
Where to the hymning orbs thou lend'st thine ear,
Do thou descend, and bless my ravish'd sight,
Veil'd in soft visions of serene delight.
At thy command the gale that passes by
Bears in its whispers mystic harmony.
Thou wavest thy wand, and lo! what forms appear!
On the dark cloud what giant shapes career !
The ghosts of Ossian skim the misty vale,
And hosts of sylphids on the moonbeams sail.
This gloomy alcove darkling to the sight,
Where meeting trees create eternal night;
Save, when from yonder stream the sunny ray,
Reflected, gives a dubious gleam of day;
Recalls, endearing to my alter'd mind,
Times, when beneath the boxen hedge reclined,
I watch'd the lapwing to her clamorous brood;
Or lured the robin to its scatter'd food;
Or woke with song the woodland echo wild,
And at each gay response delighted smiled.
How oft, when childhood threw its golden ray
Of gay romance o'er every happy day,
Here, would I run, a visionary boy,
When the hoarse tempest shook the vaulted sky,
And, fancy-led, beheld the Almighty's form
Sternly careering on the eddying storm;
And heard, while awe congeald my inmost soul,
His voice terrific in the thunders roll.
With secret joy I view'd with vivid glare
The vollied lightnings cleave the sullen air ;
And, as the warring winds around reviled,
With awful pleasure big, I heard and smiled.
Beloved remembrance !-Memory which endears
This silent spot to my advancing years.
Here dwells eternal peace, eternal rest,
In shades like these to live is to be bless'd.
While happiness evades the busy crowd,
In rural coverts loves the maid to shroud.
And thou too, Inspiration, whose wild flame
Shoots with electric swiftness through the frame,
Thou here dost love to sit with upturn'd eye, And listen to the stream that murmurs by, The woods that wave, the gray owl's silken flight, The mellow music of the listening night. Congenial calins more welcome to my breast Than maddening joy in dazzling lustre dress'd, To Heaven my prayers, my daily prayers I raise, : That ye may bless my unambitious days, Withdrawn, remote, from all the haunts of strife, May trace with me the lowly vale of life, And when her banner Death shall o'er me wave, May keep your peaceful vigils on my grave. Now as I rove, where wide the prospect grows, A livelier light upon my vision flows. No more above the embracing branches meet, No more the river gurgles at my feet, But seen deep down the cliff's impending side, Through hanging woods, now gleams its silver tide. Dim is my upland path,—across the green Fantastic shadows fling, yet oft between [sheds, The chequer'd glooms the moon her chaste ray Where knots of bluebells droop their graceful heads, And beds of violets, blooming ʼmid the trees, Load with waste fragrance the nocturnal breeze.
Say, why does Man, while to his opening sight
Each shrub presents a source of chaste delight,
And Nature bids for him her treasures flow,
And gives to him alone his bliss to know, .
Why does he pant for Vice's deadly charms ? :
Why clasp the syren Pleasure to his arms ?