« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
of the soul, rests its claim to approbation on an attempt to mitate the untamable wildness and inaccessible solemnity from which those feelings sprang."
This was an eventful year, and less time was given to study than usual. In the list of his reading I find, in Greek, Theocritus, the Prometheus of Eschylus, several of Plutarch's Lives, and the works of Lucian; in Latin, Lucretius. Pliny's Letters, the Annals and Germany of Tacitus; in French: the History of the French Revolution, by Lacretelle. He read for the first time, this year, Montaigne's Essays, and regarded them ever after as one of the most delightful and instructive books in the world. The list is scanty in English works-Locke's Essay, Political Justice, and Coleridge's Lay Sermon, form nearly the whole. It was his frequent habit to read aloud to me in the evening; in this way we read, this year, the New Testament, Paradise Lost, Spenser's Fairy Queen, and Don Quixote.
POEMS WRITTEN IN 1817.
THERE was a youth, who, as with toil and travel Had grown quite weak and gray before his time Nor any could the restless griefs unravel
Which burned within him, withering up his prime And goading him, like fiends, from land to land Not his the load of any secret crime,
For nought of ill his heart could understand,
Baffled with blast of hope-consuming shame;
Had left within his soul the dark unrest:
For none than he a purer heart could have,
What sorrow, strange, and shadowy, and unknown, Sent him, a hopeless wanderer, through mankind?—
If with a human sadness he did groan,
He had a gentle yet aspiring mind;
In others' joy, when all their own is dead:
That from such toil he never found relief.
His soul had wedded wisdom, and her dower
Pitying the tumult of their dark estate.
Those false opinions which the harsh rich use To blind the world they famish for their pride; Nor did he hold from any man his dues,
But, like a steward in honest dealings tried,
Fearless he was, and scorning all disguise,
He spoke with mild yet unaverted eyes;
Liberal he was of soul, and frank of heart,
If words he found those inmost thoughts to tell; If not, he smiled or wept; and his weak foes He neither spurned nor hated—though with fell
And mortal hate their thousand voices rose,
To those, or them, or any, whom life's sphere
He knew not. Though his life day after day,
Through which his soul, like Vesper's serene beam
Piercing the chasms of ever rising clouds,
Like reeds which quiver in impetuous floods; And through his sleep, and o'er each waking hour, Thoughts after thoughts, unresting multitudes,
Were driven within him by some secret power, Which bade them blaze, and live, and roll afar, Like lights and sounds, from haunted tower to tower,
O'er castled mountains borne, when tempest's war
Though such were in his spirit, as the fiends Which wake and feed on everliving woe,— What was this grief, which ne'er in other minds
A mirror found,—he knew not—none could know; But on whoe'er might question him he turned The light of his frank eyes, as if to show
He knew not of the grief within that burned,
The cause of his disquietude; or shook