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A thousand piles the dusky horrors gild,
While upon this subject, I cannot refrain from further quotations, and as Pope's descriptive powers have never yet received that attention which they deserve, I shall lay a few brief speci. mens before the reader.
See; from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
With slaughtering gun th’ unwearied fowler roves,
Far as creation's ample range extends,
This description, however, reminds us a little too much of Thomas Paine's celebrated sarcasm-Mr. Burke pities the plumage, but neglects the dying bird. Pope rather injudiciously draws off our attention from the bird's suffering to make us admire its feathers. The fourth line is perfect.
What modes of sight betwixt cach wide extreme,
These passages, (to which could be added many others of equal excellence from the same writer,) are highly picturesque, and ought to make the Lake poets treat the name of Pope with a little more respect. They as extravagantly depreciate his powers as Lord Byron overrated them. As I have quoted Wordsworth's allusion to the Nocturnal Reverie of the Countess of Winchelsea, and as that poem is not likely to be familiar to many of my readers, I will introduce a short extract from it.
“When darkened grores their softest shadows wear,
Wordsworth in the following night-scene, taken from one of his sonnets, appears to have had the natural and striking images contained in the last four lines of the passage just extraeted, very strongly in his mind.
“Calm is all nature as a resting wheel;
Hurdis, in his Favorite Village, has also a similar description :
“ The grazing ox His dewy supper from the savoury herbs Audibly gathering."
Wordsworth abounds in natural images of admirable truth and beauty, which linked as they usually are to lofty and philosophical thoughts, form some of the most delightful poetry in the language. Here is a companion picture to Pope's “ lonely woodcocks." It is from one of Wordsworth's juvenile productions.
“Sweet are the sounds that mingle from afar,
The duck dabbling in the above passage reminds me of a ludicrous but very descriptive line of Southey's in a Sonnet to a Goose :
“ Or waddle wide, with flat and flabby feet,
Over some Cambrian mountain's plashy moor."
SCENE ON THE GANGES. The shades of evening veil the lofty spires Of proud Benares' fanes ! A thickening haze Hangs o'er the stream. The weary boatmen raise Along the dusky shore their crimson fires, That tinge the circling groups. Now hope inspires Yon Hindoo maid, whose heart true passion sways, To launch on Gunga's flood the glimmering rays Of Love's frail lamp,—but, lo! the light expires ! Alas! what sudden sorrow fills her breast ! No charm of life remains. Her tears deplore An absent lover's doom, and never more Shall hope's sweet vision yield her spirit rest! The cold wave quenched the flame-an omen dread The maiden dares not question ;-he is dead !
SONNET. LADY! if from my young, but clouded brow, The light of rapture fade so fitfullyIf the mild lustre of thy sweet blue eye Awake no lasting joy,—Oh! do not Thou, Like the gay throng, disdain the mourner's woe, Or deem his bosom cold !-Should the deep sigh Seem to the voice of bliss unmeet replyOh! bear with one whose darkened path below The Tempest-fiend hath crossed! The blast of doom Scatters the ripening bud, the full-blown flower Of Hope and Joy, nor leaves one living bloom, Save Love's wild evergreen, that dares its power, And clings to this lone heart, young Pleasure's tomb,
Like the fond ivy on the ruined tower!
Behold glad Nature's triumph ! Lo, the sun
Of that dear boon-existence ;-all around
The scene is steeped in beauty-and my soul,
Breathes of pervading love, and proves the Power