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ALTHOUGH the pages of our Quarterly have hitherto been chiely devoted to subjects of a strictly Oriental nature ; and notwithstanding that our object is still to preserve to the work an Asiatic character, as its distinguishing feature, we have by no means precluded ourselves from giving insertion to articles of a more general complexion, devoted to Literature and Science in all their branches." Poetry, we need scarcely say, comes particularly under. our plan, when the inspirations of the Muse find a local habitation and a name' among ourselves. Of this description will be found the following poetical contribution from a Correspondent, whose name is already known to fame as a Poet; and from whose reputation, as a suocessful wooer of the Muse, this contribution will not, we think, detract. We take the opportunity of thanking the author of Sappho' for his promised aid, in future, to enrich our poetical department, and when his talents are turned, as he promises to the depicting of local-scenes and manners, we anticipate an interest being bestowed on our pages, which the drier and more erudite lucubrations of the Hindoo and Sanscrit scholar cannot be expected to confer.
The swelling wave rolls in its giant form
The settling grandeur of a recent storm ;
And echoing caves, resound its deafeping shocks,
As the loud surges climb the Lesbian rocks.
The setting sun, on ocean's brow depressed,
Gilds the bright waters from the glowing west ;
Along the horizon, his extending blaze,
From fiercest red, dissolves to yellow rays,
And in the midst, the day-anointed God
Displays his brightness o'er the ocean flood,
His beams diverging, as the clouds retire,
Pour their full light, and arch the sea with fire.
The vine-clothed heights, ascending from the beach,
In grand confusion to the inland reach,
And onward tower, till the grey outline spreads
Its misty finish o'er their verdant heads.
Where bends the sea side hill its brow of shade,
The sacred olives fringe a natural glade ;
There, trained with care each fairer flower had root,
And blooms luxuriantly the pendent fruit :
Through the thick foliage zephyrs gently play,
And brooks o'er beds of agate wind their way.
As oft a pause in harmony conveys,
More music, than the sweetest notes can raise,
The voiceless spirit of that placid scene
Was musically still, and touchingly serene.
Man, who is peaceful but in solitude,
Would change such stillness to inquietude ;
But the calm beauty of that tranquil place
Might well accord with woman's milder grace ;
Her timid playfulness, opposed to strife,
Mars not its peace, but gives to nature-life ;
And here, amid the deep sequestered shades
Were seen, in converse sweet, two gentle maids;
The younger beauteous as the fairest day,
Robed in its brightest sky, its purest ray,
Yet mild, as though some magic power had given
A morning freshness to the noonday heaven;
Her's all the enchantments nature can compress
Within the pale of female loveliness.
Yet few had paused to view her brighter mien,
Or e'en those charms her careless zone left seen,
Who once the darker maiden's
And marked its orb with fire and feeling fraught;
Her brow the spirit of the storm disclosed,
Where slumbering lightnings awfully reposed,
And won the gazer, as it fixed his sight,
Sublimely gloomy, or intensely bright;
Her form, although diminutive, supplies
By perfect symmetry, its want of size,
While her pervading soul appears to move
God of the place—in energy and love!
And such was Sappho, as she poured along,
In fervent eloquence, the tide of song,
To Atthis, who in listening rapture hung
those strains, which seemed to lend a tongue To tell of feelings she had often known, But ne'er could breathe in language of her own.
V. “Sappho, thy words have more than female force, And bear my spirit in their rapid course,
Uttered with all the energy of Man,
Each latent passion in my breast they fan,
And kindle fires as warm, but more refined,
Than He inspires, to captivate my mind.”
“ Forget such thought, my Atthis! there may
In female love, a male intensity;
I cannot breathe affection half suppressed,-
My words are flame, whose fires consume my breast ;-
Yet, though I love thee with this wild excess,
What you deem passion, is but tenderness!
Nor wonder that Alcæus fails to move,
The fixed affection of my sister love;
Howe'er the music of his tuneful lay
Charm balmy Zephir, pausing on his way,
When tints arrested leave the rose-bud pale,
And flowers half formed forget to bless the gale ;
Howe'er his strains delight each ravish'd sphere,
They seem but discord to my loathing ear,
It moves me not his ever frequent vow,-
And, if I mark the blush upon his brow,
Heedless I turn from love I cannot share,
And smile to see his coward soul despair.”
“Oh! never, Sappho, may the Gods distress Thy ardent bosom with its own excess, Or cause thy feelings on thyself to roll, To whelm, in hopeless, helpless, wreck thy soul ; And teach thee then, if thou couldst not approve, Thou shouldst have shown some pity for his love."
There was a glow of pride on Sappho's face,--
“ Pity I do, I ever did, -disgrace ! -
His buckler left inglorious on the plain,
Hangs on the Temple wall without a stain,
One noble stain, to show how much it cost,
Before his honor, and his shield were lost.
A coward's spirit with a warrior's mien,
Excites our scorn—and who can love the mean?
His passion may indeed my pity move,
But whom I pity!--him I cannot love!
Courage must grace the soldier-if he be
Devoid of that, what serves his panoply?
We know not, Atthis, in the coward's breast,
What baser thoughts, his fears may hush to rest;
Lurking within his tainted heart may lie,
Crimes of the vilest cast, and deepest die ;
Which, did not fear in stern subjection keep,
Would make his country bleed, his kindred weep:
To the dark secrets of his bosom cling,
Alike the serpent's gulle, and scorpion's sting,
Ev'en should some latent spark of worth remain.
Think not 'twill kindle there--the hope were vain;
A doubting friend, an insincere ally,
Can he to virtue live, who fears to die?
Useless his life, and undeplored his death,
His passion-boasting; and his friendship-breath
Perhaps my words a deeper tone possess,
Than ever clothed their former tenderness;
For in the hours of solitude and rest,
Delicious dreams disturb my conscious breast;
Then my freed thoughts unusual flights pursue,
And snatch my soul from innocence and you !
Twas so last night; when like some truant star,
Through circling clouds came Venus' golden car,
Methought I saw the harnessed sparrows sail,
With their high pinions waving on the gale;
While she, unzoned, as from a God's embrace,
Immortal beauty beaming in her face,
Checked their light speed, and o'er her forehead threw
The humid fragrance of Olympian dew.-
Perhaps the omen of a wilder course,
Too soon to whelm me with impetuous force,
And from my agi ated breast remove
The dear rememkrance of
Sister love, But hush!”
The rustling of the neighbouring trees
Is more than the faint movement of the breeze :
The sound approaches, and each startled maid
With wistful eye looks down the shadowy glade.
Not long alarmed, their fears at once subside,
When from the grove, they see the stranger glide :
Above the middle,- not of giant height,-
Firm in his slenderness, and strong, though light;
His rounded limbs possessed a vigorous grace ;
A youthful freshness lingered in his face;
And, to the admiring nymphs, his age appears,
Though more than boyish, not of manly years.
His sailor's habít, dripping from the wave,
Bespoke a suppliant, who had much to craye ;
But in his eye, the confidence was spied
Of onè, who little feared to be denied.
Sappho, at length, the smiling youth addressed,
Unconscious how her tone betrayed her breast.
VIII Say to what chance, or what offended God, We owe thy presence at our poor abodeBy us, who thus obtain so fair a guest, That chance be hallowed, and that God be blessed.”
IX. « Nor other chance, nor God,"—the youth replies, * Than boisterous billows, and tempestuous skies. Where Mitylene's walls o’erlook the deep, My brethren labour, and my fathers sleep. Thrice has the sun aroused the slumbering world, Since gaily, there, I saw our sails unfurled. And, by the favouring breezes wafted o'er, To fair Æolia's coast à Dame I bore; Who, when my bark had crossed the feathery wave, A casket of Arabian perfume gave. No sooner, o'er my brow, the oil I poured, Than, as if Phæbus moved, my crew adored ; A force by nature ne'er bestowed was mine, I seemed anointed with a power divine. But adverse fortune frowned on our return, Just aś we saw our household beacons burn, And gazed delighted, on the well-known light, To which with eager eye we turned our sight; Fierce from the north the sudden tempests rise, And whirl the darkening clouds along the skies; The blood-red lightnings gleam athwart the dark; All forms of danger threat our drifting bark: In vain the rowers strain their utmost force, The mightier storm, half adverse to our course, Hurries us down the channel, till the sea Roars all around in dread sublimity, No star to lead us on our trackless way, We watch the breaking of the sunless day : It breaks, but not to hope; resigned we wait In silent thoughtlessness the will of fate ; We look from sea to sky, from sky to sea, And feel,-how frightful their sterility. At length the winds are lulled, yet the wild wave Howls like a hell, and opens like a grave. Our toil renewed, afresh the oars we ply, And labour o'er the billows silently ; For weariness does all despair had done, And each looks, tongue-tied, on the cheering sun ; He, when we neared the breakers of your strand, Cleared from all clouds, illumed the woody land. Then, while with welcome murmurs on the ear, The rolling surges told, that land was near;