תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

And I felt troubled and would fain
I had not left my recent chain ;

And when I did descend again, 360 The darkness of my dim abode

Fell on me as a heavy load ;
It was as is a new-dug grave,
Closing o'er one we sought to save,

And yet my glance, too much opprest, 365 Had almost need of such a rest.

XIV.

It might be months, or years, or days,

I kept no count—I took no note,
I had no hope my eyes to raise,

And clear them of their dreary mote ; 370 At last men came to set me free,

I ask'd not why, and reck'd not where,
It was at length the same to me,
Fetter'd or fetterless to be,

I learn'd to love despair.
375 And thus when they appear'd at last,

And all my bonds aside were cast,
These heavy walls to me had grown
A hermitage and all my own!

And half I felt as they were come 380 To tear me from a second home :

With spiders I had friendship made,
And watch'd them in their sullen trade ;
Had seen the mice by moonlight play,

And why should I feel less than they? 385 We were all inmates of one place,

And I, the monarch of each race,

358 Recent chain, i.e., the chain which had recently bound ine. 379. As=as i..

Had power to kill—yet, strange to tell !
In quiet we had learn'd to dwell-

My very chains and I grew friends, 390 So much a long communion tends

To make us what we are :even I
Regain'd my freedom with a sigh.

SECTION VII.

SOOTT'S FIELD OF WATERLOO.

Sir WALTER Scott's “ Field of Waterloo " is one of the best modern productions of that class to which the battle-scenes of the Iliad belong The descriptive power of the poet is of the highest order, his language is rich and at times majestic, his verse varied and sonorous, his sentiments manly and patriotic. But the peculiar charm of the poem lies in the historic truth and the fresh interest of the events treated of. The Battle of Waterloo was not a fictitious contest between giants or gods, nor of remote date. It was a recent event, upon which the fate of Europe depended; it was the last deadly struggle between England and her implacable enemy; the victory was long contested and dearly bought by torrents of the noblest blood. It is for these reasons that this poem will ever be read by Englishmen not only with the purely æsthetic pleasure, which a beautiful poem naturally produces, but with a pleasure mingled with emotion, satisfaction, and pride

I.

FAIR Brussels, thou art far behind,
Though, lingering on the morning wind,

We yet may hear the hour
Peal'd over orchard and canal,
5 With voice prolong'd and measured fall,

From proud St. Michael's tower ;
Thy wood, dark Soignies, holds us now,
Where the tall beeches' glossy bough

For many a league around,
10 With birch and darksome oak between,
Spreads deep and far a pathless screen

Of tangled forest ground.
Stems planted close by stems defy
The adventurous foot—the curious eye

15 For access seeks in vain ;

And the brown tapestry of leaves,
Strew'd on the blighted ground, receives

Nor sun, nor air, nor rain.
No opening glade dawns on our way,
20 No streamlet, glancing to the ray,

Our woodland path has cross'd ;
And the straight causeway which we tread,
Prolongs a line of dull arcade,

Unvarying through the unvaried shade 25 Until in distance lost.

II.
A brighter, livelier scene succeeds ;
In groups the scattering wood recedes,
Hedge-rows, and huts, and sunny meads,

And corn-fields glance between ; 30 The peasant at his labour blithe, Plies the hook'd staff and shorten’d scythe :

But when these ears were green,
Placed close within destruction's scope,

Full little was that rustic's hope 35 Their ripening to have seen !

And, lo, a hamlet and its fane :-
Let not the gazer with disdain

Their architecture view;
For yonder rude ungraceful shrine,
40 And disproportion'd spire, are thine,

Immortal WATERLOO ! 18. Nor sun, nor air, nor rain.-Nor- 34. Full little.-Full expresses plenty, nor instead of neither nor is confined to and stands in strange combination with poetry.-See Craik on Shakspere, Julius little, which implies scarcity. We should Cæsar, 227.

hardly say greatly small. 20. Glancing to the ray.-See Milton's 35. To have seen.-The Infin. Perfect for Paradise Lost, 1. 537.

the Present. See Paradise Lost, 1. 40, Note. 31. “ The reaper in Flanders carries in 36. Fane, from the Latin fanum, is used his left hand a stick with an iron hook, with for temple or church. which be collects as much grain as can 39. hrine.--A part often stands poeticut, at one sweep, with a short scytbe, cally for the whole; thus, shrine for which he holds in his right hand.”—W. church. SCOTT.

[graphic]

III.

Fear not the heat, though full and high
The sun has scorch'd the autumn sky,

And scarce a forest straggler now
45 To shade us spreads a greenwood bough ;

These fields have seen a hotter day
Than e'er was fired by sunny ray.
Yet one mile on—yon shatter'd hedge

Crests the soft hill, whose long smooth ridge 50 Looks on the field below,

And sinks so gently on the dale,
That not the folds of Beauty's veil

In easier curves can flow.
Brief space from thence the ground again
55 Ascending slowly from the plain

Forms an opposing screen,
Which, with its crest of upland ground,
Shuts the horizon all around.

The soften'd vale between 60 Slopes smooth and fair for courser's tread;

Not the most timid maid need dread
To give her snow-white palfrey head

On that wide stubble-ground;
Nor wood, nor tree, nor bush, are there,
65 Her course to intercept or scare,

Nor fosse, nor fence are found,
Save where from out her shatter'd bowers
Rise Hougomont’s dismantled towers.

62. It is not very clear why the palfrey should be onow-white.

64. It is a question whether several Substantives, joined by nor, should bave the Predicate in the Singular or in the Plural. Breen (Modern English Literature, p. 19) requires the Singular; but the language

should not be scanted by such narrow rules Either number has good authorities and good reasons in its favour.

65. Of the two verbs, intercept and scare, only the former can properly be applied to course. This graminatical irregularity is

called a Zeugma o

« הקודםהמשך »