Imágenes de páginas

Beauties of the Evening.


I WALK, unseen, On the dry smooth-shaven green, To behold the wandering moon Riding near her highest noon; And oft as if her head she bow'd, Stooping through a fleecy cloud.

Oft on a plat of rising ground

I hear the far off curfew sound,
Over some wide-water'd shore,

Swinging slow with solemn roar.
Or if the air will not permit,
Some still removed place will fit,
Where glowing embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom ;
Far from all resort of mirth,
Save the cricket on the hearth,
Or the bellman's drowsy charm,
To bless the doors from nightly harm ;

(John Milton was born in London, in 1608, and died in 1674. His magnificent poetry has been well described as a compound of the majesty of Homer and the sweetness of Virgil, for it was to him that the apt and oft-quoted lines were written :

“ Three poets, in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn ;
The first in majesty of thought surpassed,
The next in sweetness, and in both the last.
The force of Nature could no further go,

To make a third she joined the other two." Sold for a pittance of fifteen pounds, neglected by the vitiated taste of a licentious age, and only recommended to notice long after the mighty hand that penned it had


[blocks in formation]

Or let my lamp at midnight hour
Be seen, in some high lonely tower,
Exploring Plato, to unfold
What worlds, or what vast regions, hold
Th’immortal mind that had forsook
Her mansion in this fleshy nook,
And of those demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.

Milton. [From “Il Penseroso.”]

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

LONGFELLOW. (From Logan's “ Aphorisms."]

crumbled into dust, Milton's “ Paradise Lost has at length been enshrined as the greatest epic poem in the English language, and its writer as our great national poet. His second great epic, “ Para dise Regained,” was written at the suggestion of Elwood, the Quaker, who remikul to Milton, “ Thou hast said a great deal upon Paradise lost; what hast thou to siy upon Paradise foun 1 ?" The minor poems of Milton – "Comus,” “ Lycidias," " L'Allegro,' “Il Penseroso," and the magnificent “ Samson Agonistes,” are now being generally read and appreciated, after two centuries of neglect and oblivion.

[graphic][merged small]

I KNOW a grove Of large extent, hard by a castle huge, Which the great lord inhabits not; and so This

grove is wild with tangling underwood, And the trim walks are broken


grass, Thin grass, and kingcups grow within the paths.



But never elsewhere in one place I knew
So many nightingales; and far and near,
In wood and thicket, over the wide grove,
They answer and provoke each other's song,
With skirmish and capricious passagings,
And murmurs musical, and swift jug-jug,
And one low, piping sound more sweet than all-
Stirring the air with such a harmony,
That, should you close your eyes, you might almost
Forget it was not day! On moɔn-lit bushes,
Whose dewy leaflets are but half disclosed,
You may, perchance, behold them on the twigs,
Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright and full,
Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the shade
Lights up her love-torch.

A most gentle maid, Who dwelleth in her hospitable home Hard by the castle, and at latest eve (Even like a lady vowed and dedicate To something more than Nature in the grove) Glides through the pathways; she knows all their notes, That gentle maid ! and oft a moment's space, What time the moon was lost behind a cloud, Hath heard a pause of silence ; till the moon Emerging, hath awakened earth and sky With one sensation, and these wakeful birds Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy, As if some sudden gale had swept at once A hundred airy harps ! And she hath watched

[blocks in formation]

Many a nightingale perched giddily
On blossomy twig still swinging from the breeze,
And to that motion tune his wanton song,
Like tipsy joy that reels with tossing head.




MY heart was heavy, for its trust

had been Abused, its kindness answered

with foul wrong : So, turning gloomily from my

fellow-men, One summer Sabbath-day I

strolled among The green mounds of the vil

lage-burial-place; Where, pondering how all human

love and hate Find one sad level—and how, soon or late, Wronged and wrong-doer, each with meeken'd face, And cold hands folded over a still heart, Pass the green threshold of our common grave, Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart, Awed for myself, and pitying my race, Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave, Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave!



« AnteriorContinuar »