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But in that quiet dell,
On the air;
And rejoice! The poems of Mr. Legaré are generally very short; single, momentary efforts of the muse, upon spontaneous suggestions of the thought. He has evidently not seated himself to his task; not deliberately taken up his pen; but merely caught up the overflow of his fancy and preserved it as a proof, or promise, of what might issue from the proper unsealing of his fountains. And there is considerable promise. The poems before us are full of instances of rare felicity of phrase, happy turns of thought, analogies equally sweet and curious, and fine moralities that crown the verse, at its close, with a sudden surprise and beauty. His fancy is very delicate; his command of language considerable; and his tastes find provocation, to life and utterance, from the casual encounter with wood, lake or forest scene. We content ourselves with two small specimens of his verse, in which the reader will be pleased to discern a pleasant vein of musing, and a peculiar harmony of expression.
How still Earth lies !-behind the pines
It was when on the fallow fields
And I too, walking through the waste
Rewarded well, if, when the world
Down, in the meadows of the heart,
The fourth, and last poet in our rubric, is, like Mr. Legaré, a South-Carolinian, and perhaps the youngest in our catalogue. His writings betray less finish,--less of that practice which denotes the artist, familiar, by long usage, with the pencil. But his 'prentice han' promises largely for his skill hereafter, assuming that he continues his exercises with industry, and chooses his models with taste and judgment. His endowments are in direct contrast with those of Mr. Legaré. He lacks the nice delicacy, and the somewhat quaint but sweet fancy of the latter. But his resources are quite compensative for these deficiencies. His manner is nervous and bold. His utterance is direct and earnest. He has force and warmth, and unites the passionate with the contemplative. His subjects are not always well chosen, and we might find much cause of complaint with their occasional treatment. But it would be absurd to deny the vigor, the earnestness, and epigrammatic terseness of the stanzas which follow, and which present a fair specimen of the author's best manner. A poem of some forty stanzas, in the Spenserian verse, discouragingly entitled an Extract, presents far better samples of his muse, but is less suited for the purposes of selection. The author—and we suppose that we violate no confidence when we state the fact—is Mr. Robert P. Hall, now a resident of Georgia. He is engaged, we learn, upon a narrative and descriptive poem, the subject of which is André Chenier, one of the very best of the modern French poets, whose mournful fate is well known to the readers of French revolutionary history. 20
VOL. XVI.-NO. 31.
“I SOUGHT HER SIDE.”
“I sought her side with careless tread,
And silence dwelt within the room ; I bent me o'er the lovely dead
I felt, but could not weep her doom. The earth was waste, the sky was gloom
Gone was my day-beam's fading light, It waited but the yawning tomb
To close and leave me blackest night.
Fast, fast and freely, fell the tears
From stranger groups that gathered nigh; The playmate of her younger years
Looked on alone wlth tearless eye. I bent me o'er her snowy couch,
I marked her calm, unchanging brow, I clasp'd her hand-unfelt my touch
Her icy fingers chill me now.
Nor groan nor sigh escaped my breast,
Nor swam my frenzied eye, to gaze Upon the long, undreaming rest
Of her who blest my better days. Her brow was calm, though pale and cold,
Her eyes were closed in peaceful sleep; Her marble features' lovely mould
So softly shone, I could not weep.
A passing breeze swept moaning by,
And faintly waved her silken hair,
The chillness of a cheek so fair.
The pangless slumber of the dead,
A heart whose every grief had fled.
Each ill of life forgotten, she
Seemed, pure and pale, to dream in peace, And sleep like placid infancy ;
Oh! who would bid such slumber cease! As some white cloud, when swept away
Its tears and darkness, shines on high Pure, calm and still, that being lay,
In peace and beauty, 'neath mine eye.
But, Oh! though calmly fixed my brow, An endless gloom, a hopeless pain,
Was on my heart, is on it now :Long vanished hours of hope and light
Our childhood's old and happy homeDeparted day-the starless night
The lovely past-my lonely doom.
The memories we loved to share
Upon my spirit's vision shone,
I felt and knew I was alone.
The cheerless future knew her not,
Lay crushed beneath my lonely lot.
As one who drifts along the wave,
Lifts from the wreck his aching eye In vain, for some white sail to save
From rolling wave and stormy sky, I gaze upon my lonely days;
But all unblest their billows roll; Thou mad'st them lovely to my gaze,
Sweet sister of my stricken soul.
Like yonder far expiring beam
That shines along the clouded west,
Through driving mist, with sombre gleam,
Departed raptures light my breast : They win but to distract; Oh! vain
Their far and fading glories burn, Through sorrow's dark and wintry rain,
And shrieking winds, o'er beauty's urn.
I stoop'd, and silently I prest
My lips, too coldly met, to thine ; The first, last time, Oh! dearest, best!
Thy lips have coldly greeted mine. The time is o'er, and thou art fled,
But life must fail and reason flee, Before this heart forget its dead,
Or cease to bleed, and bleed for thee.