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THE BURIED LIFE
Eddying at large in blind uncertainty,
Though driving on with it eternally.
Light flows our war of mocking words,
Behold, with tears mine eyes are wet !
Alas! is eren love too weak
yet The same heart beats in every human
breast ! But we, my love !-doth a like spell be
numb Our hearts, our voices ?-must we too be
dumb? Ah! well for us, if even we, Even for a moment, can get free Our heart, and bave our lips unchain'd ; For that which seals them hath been
deep-ordain'd! Fate, which foresaw How frivolous a baby man would beBy what distractions he would be pos
sess'd, How he would pour himself in every
strife, And well-nigh change his own identityThat it might keep from his capricious
play His genuine self, and force him to obey Even in bis own despite his being's law. Bade through the deep recesses of our
breast The unregarded river of our life Pursue with indiscernible flow its way ; And that we should not see The buried stream, and seem to be
But often, in the world's most crowded
streets, But often, in the din of strife, There rises an unspeakable desire After the knowledge of our buried life; A thirst to spend our fire and restless
force In tracking out true, original
course ; A longing to inquire Into the mystery of this heart which
beats So wild, so deep in us—to know Whence our lives come and where they
go. And many a man in his own breast then
delves, But deep enough, alas! none ever mines. And we have been on many thousand
lines, And we have shown, on each, spirit and
power; But hardly have we, for one little hour, Been on our own line, have we been
ourselvesHardly had skill to utter one of all The nameless feelings that
through our breast, But they course on for ever unexpress'd. And long we try in vain to speak and act Our hidden self, and what we say and do Is eloquent, is well-but 'tis not true! And then we will no more be rack'd With inward striving, and demand Of all the thousand nothings of the hour Their stupefying power; Al, yes, and they benumb us at our call! Yet still, from time to time, vague and
forlorn, From the soul's subterranean depth up
borne As from an infinitely distant land, Come airs, and floating echoes, and con
vey A melancholy into all our day. Only-but this is rare-When a beloved band is laid in ours, When, jaded with the rush and glare Of the interminable hours, Our eyes can in another's eyes read clear, When our world-deafen'd ear Is by the tones of a loved voice caressd-A bolt is shot back somewhere in our
breast, And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.
The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies
plain, And what we mean, we say, and what
we would, we know. A man becomes aware of his life's flow, And hears its winding murmur ; and he
sees The meadows where it glides, the sun,
the breeze. And there arrives a lull in the hot race Wherein be doth for ever chase That flying and elusive shadow, rest. An air of coolness plays upon his face, And an unwonted calm pervades his
breast. And then he thinks he knows The hills where his life rose, And the sea where it goes. 1852.
Yet here is peace for ever new!
WRITTEN IN KENSINGTON GARDENS
A WANDERER is man from his birth.
In this lone, open glade I lie,
come! Sometimes a child will cross the glade To take his nurse his broken toy ; Sometimes a thrush flit overhead Deep in her unknown day's employ. Here at my feet what wonders pass, What endless, active life is here! What blowing daisies, fragrant grass ! An air-stirr'd forest, fresh and clear. Scarce fresher is the mountain-sod Where the tired angler lies, stretch'd
out, And, eased of basket and of rod, Counts his day's spoil, the spotted trout. In the huge world, which roars hard by, Be others happy if they can ! But in my helpless cradle I Was breathed on by the rural Pan. I, on men's impious uproar hurld, Think often, as I hear them rave, That peace has left the upper world And now keeps only in the grave.
As what he sees is, so have his thoughts
been. Whether he wakes Where the snowy mountainous pass, Echoing the screams of the eagles, Hems in its gorges the bed Of the new-born clear-flowing stream: Whether he first sees light Where the river in gleaming rings Sluggishly winds through the plain : Whether in sound of the swallowing sea-As is the world on the banks, So is the mind of the man.
Vainly does each, as he glides, Fable and dream Of the lands which the river of Time Had left ere he woke on its breast, Or shall reach when his eyes have been
closed. Only the tract where he sails He wots of ; only the thoughts, Raised by the objects be passes, are his. Who can see the green earth any more As she was by the sources of Time? Who imagines her fields as they lay In the sunshine, unworn by the plough? Who thinks as they thought, (breast The tribes who then roam'd on her Her vigorous, primitive sons ?
As the stars come out, and the night
wind Brings up the stream Murmurs and scents of the infinite sea.
And we say that repose has fled
foam As it draws to the Ocean, may strike Peace to the soul of the man on its
breastAs the pale waste ridens around him, As the banks fade dimmer away,
STANZAS IN MEMORY OF THE
AUTHOR OF “OBERMANN”1 In front the awful Alpine track Crawls up its rocky stair ; The autumn storm-winds drive the rack, Close o'er it, in the air.
1 The author of Obermann, Étienne Pivert de Senancour, has little celebrity in France, his own country; and out of France he is almost unknown. But the profound inwardness, the austere sincerity, of his principal work, Obermann, the delicate feeling for nature which it exhibits, and the melancholy eloquence of many passages of it, have attracted and charmed some of the most remarkable spirits of this century, such as George Sand and Sainte-Beuve, and will probably always find a certain number of spirits whom they touch and interest.
Senancour was born in 1770, He was educated for the priesthood, and passed some time in the seminary of St. Sulpice ; broke away from the Seminary and from France itself, and passed some years in Switzerland, where he married ; returned to France in middle life, and followed thenceforward the career of a man of letters, but with harılly any fame or success. He died an old man in 1816, desiring that on his grave might be placed these words only: Eternité, deviens mon asile!
The influence of Rousseau, and certain affini. ties with more famous and fortunate authors of his own day,--Chateaubriand and Madame de Staöl, -are everywhere visible in Senancour. But though, like these eminent personages, he may be called a sentimental writer, and though Obermann, a collection of letters from Switzerland treating almuost entirely of nature and of the human soul, may be called a work of sentiment, Senancour has a gravity and severity which distinguish him from all other writers of the sentimental school. The world is with him in his solitude far less than it is with them ; of all writers he is the most perfectly isolated and the least attitudinizing. His chief work, too, has a value and power of its own, apart from these merits of its author. The stir of all the main forces, by which modern life is and has been impelled, lives in the letters of Obermann ; the dissolving agencies of the eighteenth century, the fiery storm of the French Revolution, the first faint promise and dawn of that new world which our own time is but more fully bringing to light, --all these are to be felt, almost to be touched, there. To me, indeed, it will always seem that the impressiveness of this production can hardly be rated too high.
Beside Obermann there is one other of Senancour's works which, for those spirits who feel his attraction, is very interesting; its title is, Libres Méditations d'un Solitaire Inconnu. (Arnold's note. The passage of George Sand alluded to may be found in her Questions d'Art et de Littérature. Sainte-Beuve has several times written of Senancour: especially in his Portraits Contemporains. Vol. I, and in Chateaubriand et son Groupe littéraire, Chap. 14.)
Though here a moutain-murmur swells
Yet, through the hum of torrent lone,
Is it for this, because the sound
Like children bathing on the shore,
Some secrets may the poet tell, For the world loves new ways; To tell too deep ones is not wellIt knows not what he says.
Yet, of the spirits who have reign'd
1 The Baths of Leuk. This poem was conceived, and partly composed, in the valley going down from the foot of the Gemmi Pass towards the Rhone. (Arnold.)
Ah ! two desires toss about
he glow, he cries, the thrill of life, Vhere, where do these abound ot in the world, not in the strife f men, shall they be found. le who hath watch'd, not shared, the
strife, inows how the day hath gone. le only lives with the world's life, Vho hath renounced his own. 'o thee we come, then ! Clouds are rollid Vhere thou, O seer ! art set; 'hy realm of thought is drear and cold'he world is colder yet! Ind thou hast pleasures, too, to share Vith those who come to theeBalms floating on thy mountain-air, Ind healing sights to see. low often, where the slopes are green On Jaman, bast thou sate 35 some high chalet-door, and seen The summer-day grow late; And darkness steal o'er the wet grass With the pale crocus starr'd, And reach that glimmering sheet of
glass Beneath the piny sward, Lake Leman's waters, far below! And watch'd the rosy light Fade from the distant peaks of snow; And on the air of night Heard accents of the eternal tongue Through the pine branches playListen'd, and felt thyself grow young! Listen'd and wept-Away! Away the dreams that but deceive And thou, sad guide, adieu ! I go, fate drives me ; but I leave Half of my life with you. We, in some unknown Power's employ, Move on a rigorous line ; Can neither, when we will, enjoy, Nor, when we will, resign. I in the world must live ; but thou, Thou melancholy shade! Wilt not, if thou canst see me now, Condemn me, nor upbraid. For thou art gone away from earth, And place with those dost claim, The Children of the Second Birth, Whom the world could not tame;
And with that small, transfigured band,
STREW on her roses, roses,
And never a spray of yew ! In quiet she reposes;
Ah, would that I did too!
Her mirth the world required ;
She bathed it in smiles of glee. But her leart was tired, tired,
And now they let her be.