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RECORDS OF PASSING THOUGHT.
A SERIES OF SONNETS, BY MRS. HEMANS.
A VERNAL THOUGHT.
Far spreading o'er the awaken'd woods and plains,
And streams that bound to meet thee from their chains,
Of thy rich songs a melancholy tone,
Were we of mould all earthly; we alone, Sever'd from thy great spell, and doom'd to go
Farther, still farther, from our sunny time,
Never to feel the breathings of our prime,Never to flower again !—But we, O Spring!
Cheer'd by deep spirit-whispers not of earth,
Press to the regions of thy heavenly birth,
TO THE SKY.
Which o'er my opening life wild music made, -
And flashing streams, whereby my childhood play'd ;In the dim city, midst the sounding flow
Of restless life, to thee in love I turn,
O thou rich Sky! and from thy splendours learn How song-birds come and part, flowers wane and blow.
With thee all shapes of glory find their home;
And thou hast taught me well, majestic dome! By stars, by sunsets, by soft clouds which rove
Thy blue expanse, or sleep in silvery rest, That Nature's God hath left no spot unbless'd With founts of beauty for the eye of love!
Who, richly dower'd for life, are call'd to die
In Truth's pure ether, unperturb'd and high.
Let their mind's relics claim a trustful sigh!
First notes of some yet struggling harmony,
Majestically forth !—Nor doubt that He,
Whose touch mysterious may on earth dissolve Those links of music, elsewhere will evolve Their grand consummate hymn, from passion-gusts made free.
ON WATCHING THE FLIGHT OF A SKYLARK. Upward and upward still! In pearly light
The clouds are steep'd; the vernal spirit sighs
With bliss in every wind; and crystal skies
Hath meaning for all bosoms,-most of all
Of Poesy lie deep, and strive and burn
For their high place. Oh, heirs of Genius ! learn From the sky's bird your way !--no joy may fill
Your hearts,-no gift of holy strength be won
To bless your songs, ye Children of the Sun,
A THOUGHT OF THE SEA.
Thy solemn shores-thou ever-chanting Main !
In my lone being, made thy restless plain
As the vast shining floor of some dread fane,
Never to thee did Love, with silvery chain,
What waves deny—some bower for steadfast bliss;
As with sweet flowers. But chasten'd Hope for this
Now turns from Earth's green vallies, as from thee, To that sole, changeless World where “there is no more sea."
Oft let me hear, as ofttimes I have heard,
Thy swell, thou Deep! when eve calls home the bird, And stills the wood; when summer tints grow pale, Seen through the gathering of a dewy veil ;
And peasant-steps are hastening to repose ;
And gleaming flocks lie down, and flower-cups close,
When the soul hears thy distant voice profound
'Twill worship still, then most its anthem-tone Speaks to our being of the Eternal One Who girds tired Nature with unslumbering might !
By pastoral hills, old woods, and ruin’d towers;
Now gleaming forth by some rich bank of flowers ;
Long flow'd the current of my life's clear hours Onward with thine, whose voice yet haunts my dream,
Though time, and change, and other mightier powers, Far from thy side have borne me. Thou, smooth stream,
Art winding still thy sunny meads along,
Murmuring to cottage and gray hall thy song-
Through rocks and storms; yet will I not complain,
If thus wrought free and pure from earthly stain, Brightly its waves may reach their parent-deep at last.
ORCHARD BLOSSOMS. Doth thy heart stir within thee at the sight
Of orchard blooms upon the mossy bough?
Doth their sweet household smile waft back the glow
A joy of fairy-land ? Doth some old nook,
Shower'd o'er the turf, and the lone primrose-knot,
And robin's nest, still faithful to the spot,
The World's cold breath, not Time's, this life bereaves
Of vernal gifts ;-Time hallows what he leaves, And will for us endear spring-memories to the end.
To A DISTANT SCENE.
(A Woody Dingle in North Wales.) Still are the cowslips from thy bosom springing,
O far-off grassy dell! And dost thou see,
The star-gleam of the wood-anemone ?
Doth the shy ring-dove haunt thee still ?—the bee Hang on thy flowers, as when I breathed farewell
To their wild blooms ?-and round my beechen tree Still, in rich softness, doth the moss-bank swell ?-Oh, strange illusion, by the fond heart wrought,
Whose own warm life suffuses Nature's face ! My being's tide of many-coloured thought
Hath pass'd from thee; and now, green, flowery place, I paint thee oft, scarce consciously, a scene Silent, forsaken, dim-shadow'd by what hath been.
THE INFERNAL MARRIAGE.
BY DISRAELI THE YOUNGER, AUTHOR OF
IXION IN HEAVEN."
PART THE SECOND.
A chariot drawn by dragons hovered over that superb palace whose sparkling steps of lapiz-lazuli were once pressed by the daring foot of Ixion. It descended into the beautiful gardens, and Ceres stepping out sought the presence of Jove.
“Father of gods and men,” said the majestic mother of Proserpine, “ listen to a distracted parent! All my hopes were centered in my daughter, the daughter of whom you have deprived me. Is it for this that I endured the pangs of childbirth ? Is it for this that I suckled her on this miserable bosom? Is it for this that I tended her girlish innocence ? watched with vigilant fondness the development of her youthful mind, and cultured with a thousand graces and accomplishments her gifted and unrivalled promise ?-to lose her for ever!" “ Beloved Bona Dea,” replied Jove, “ calm yourself!" Jupiter, you forget that I am a mother."
It is the recollection of that happy circumstance that alone should make
satisfied.” “ Do you mock me? Where is my daughter?"
“ In the very situation you should desire. In her destiny all is fulfilled which the most affectionate mother could hope. What was the object of all your care, and all her accomplishments ?-a good partie; and she has made one."
“ To reign in hell !"
“Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.' What! would you have had her a cupbearer like Hebe, or a messenger like Hermes ? Was the daughter of Jove and Ceres to be destined to a mere place in our household! Lady! she is the object of envy to half the goddesses. Bating our own bed, which she could not share, what lot more distinguished than hers? Recollect that goddesses, who desire a becoming match, have a very limited circle to select from. Even Venus was obliged to put up with Vulcan. It will not do to be too nice. Thank your stars that she is not an old maid like Minerva.”
“ But Mars ? he loved her."
“ A young officer only with his half-pay, however good his connexions, is surely not a proper mate for our daughter." “ Apollo ?"
I have no opinion of a literary son-in-law. These scribblers are at present the fashion, and are very well to ask to dinner; but I confess a more intimate connexion with them is not at all to my taste."
“ I meet Apollo everywhere.
" The truth is, he is courted because every one is afraid of him. He is the editor of a daily journal, and under the pretence of throwing light upon every subject, brings a great many disagreeable things into notice, which is excessively inconvenient. Nobody likes to be paragraphed; and for my part I should only be too happy to extinguish the Sun and every other newspaper, were it only in my power.”
“ But Pluto is so very old, and so very ugly, and, all agree, so very ill-tempered.”
“ He has a splendid income, a magnificent estate; his settlements are worthy of his means. This ought to satisfy a mother; and his political influence is necessary to me, and this satisfies a father."
" But the heart
“ As for that she fancies she loves him; and whether she do or not, these feelings, we know, never last. Rest assured, my dear Ceres, that our girl has made a brilliant match, in spite of the gloomy atmosphere in which she has to reside."
“ It must end in misery. I know Proserpine. I confess it with tears, she is a spoiled child.”
“ This may occasion Pluto many uneasy moments; but that is nothing to you or me. Between ourselves, I shall not be at all surprised if she plague his life out.”
“ But how can she consort with the Fates ? How is it possible for her to associate with the Furies ? She who is used to the gayest and most amiable society in the world. Indeed, indeed, 'tis an ill-assorted union !"
They are united, however; and, take my word for it, my dear madam, that you had better leave Pluto alone. The interference of a mother-inlaw is proverbially never very felicitous.
II. In the meantime affairs went on swimmingly in Tartarus. The obstinate Fates and the sulky Furies were unwittingly the cause of universal satisfaction. Every one enjoyed himself, and enjoyment when it is un. expected is doubly satisfactory. Tantalus, Sisyphus, and Ixion, for the first time during their punishment, had an opportunity for a little conversation.
Long live our reforming queen,” said the ex-king of Lydia. “ You cannot conceive, my dear companions, anything more delightful than this long-coveted draught of cold water; its flavour far surpasses the memory
of my choicest wines. And as for this delicious fruit-one must live in a hot climate, like our present one, sufficiently to appreciate its refreshing gust. I would, my dear friends, you could only share my banquet."
“Your Majesty is very kind,” replied Sisyphus,“ but it seems to me that nothing in the world will ever induce me again to move. One must have toiled for ages to comprehend the rapturous sense
of repose that now pervades my exhausted frame. · Is it possible that that damned stone can really have disappeared ?"
“You say truly,” said Ixion," the couches of Olympus cannot compare with this resting wheel.”
“Noble Sisyphus," rejoined Tantalus,“ we are both of us acquainted with the cause of our companion's presence in these infernal regions, since his daring exploit has had the good fortune of being celebrated by one of the fashionable authors of this part of the world.”
“ I have never had time to read his work,” interrupted Ixion. “What sort of fellow is he?”