Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

On rified rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
Waste sandy valleys, once perplex'd with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn:
To leafless shrubs the flowery palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead,
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead.
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet.
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake,
Pleased, the green lustre of the scales survey,
And with their forky tongue shall innocently play.

Rise, crown'd with light, imperial Salem, risc !
Exalt thy towery head, and lift thy eyes !
See a long race thy spacious courts adorn ;
See future sons, and daughters yet unborn,
In crowding rauks on every side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies !
See barbarous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend;
See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings,
Aud heap'd with products of Sabean springs !
For thee Idume's spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow.
See heaven its sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon them in a flood of day!
No more the rising sun shall gild the morn,
Nor evening Cynthia fill her silver horn;
But lost, dissolved in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze
O’erflow thy courts : the Light himself shall sline
Reveald, and God's eternal day be thine !
The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away!
But fix'd His word, His saving power remains ;
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns !

[blocks in formation]

EDWARD YOUNG was born at Upham, near Winchester, June 1681. In his earlier life he was known as the author of “ The Revenge,” and other tragedies. At the age of fiftyseven he entered into orders; and in July 1730, he was presented to the rectory of Welwyn in Hertfordshire. Here he married Lady Elizabeth Lee, daughter of the Earl of Lichfield. She died in 1741, and the disconsolate survivor sought to soothe his sorrows by the composition of “ The Night Thoughts,"—the

poem

with which his name is now identified. He died at Welwyn, April 1765.

“ The Night Thoughts” are an immense repository of moralisings and maxims, too frequently pinched into paradox or balanced in antitheses, and strung together on a very feeble

66

thread. As a biographer has remarked—“There is a want of a clear connexion in the subject; every image is amplified to the utmost; every argument expanded and varied, as much as the greatest fertility of the fancy could effect. . . . There is no selection, no discreet and graceful reservation; no mark of that experienced taste that knows exactly when the purpose has been effected, and which leaves the rest to be supplied by the imagination of the reader. Reflection follows on reflection, and thought on thought, in such close succession, that, as in books of maxims, one truth obstructs and obliterates another ; ... and we feel, I am afraid, in reading this poem of Young, as we do in the perusal of Seneca, that no progress, no advancement is made; we seem to move in a perpetually dazzling circle of argument, and reflection, and analogy, and metaphor, and illustration, without the power of passing beyond it; and it is on this account that the perusal of both these writers, however delightful for a season, soon fatigues and dissatisfies the mind. Any one who will compare the moral writings of Cicero and Seneca in this respect, will soon mark the distinction to which I allude.”

At the same time, such are the aphoristic force and the felicitous wording of many separate sentences, that they have almost passed into proverbs, and it would be difficult to name any author whose sayings so constantly recur to the preacher and moralist. As he turns over the pages, the reader will ever and anon recognise "household words” like the following:


6. The first sure symptom of a mind in health
Is rest of heart, and pleasure felt at home."

"*

" Like our shadows,
Our wishes lengthen as our sun declines.”
" Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die."
“ The world's a prophecy of worlds to come.”

* Rev. John Mitford's “ Life of Young,” Pickering's edition, p. 38.

YOUNG.

369

" A Christian dwells, like Uriel, in the sun."

"Resembles ocean into tempest wrought, To waft a feather, or to drown a fly.”

6. How wretched is the man who never mourn'd!"

The True Land of the Living.

Why then their loss deplore, that are not lost?
Why wanders wretched thought their tombs around,
In infidel distress?

They live! they greatly live a life on earth
Unkindled, unconceived ; and from an eye
Of tenderness, let heavenly pity fall
On me, more justly number'd with the dead.
This is the desert, this the solitude:
How populous, how vital, is the grave !
This is creation’s melancholy vault,
The vale funereal, the sad cypress gloom ;
The land of apparitions, empty shades !
All, all on earth, is shadow, all beyond
Is substance; the reverse is fully's creed :
How solid all, where change shall be no more?

This is the bud of being, the dim dawn,
The twilight of our day, the vestibule ;
Life's theatre as yet is shut, and death,
Strong death, alone can heave the massy bar,
This gross impediment of clay remore,
And make us embryos of existence free.

Embryos we must be, till we burst the shell,
Yon ambient azure shell, and spring to life,
The life of gods, O transport! and of man.

The Awful Certainty.

Tell me, some god! my guardian angel! tell,
What thus infatuates? what enchantment plants
The phantom of an age 'twixt us, and death
Already at the door ? He knocks, we hear him,

see!

And yet we will not hear. What mail defends
Our untouch'd hearts? What miracle turns off
The pointed thought, which from a thousand quivers
Is daily darted, and is daily shunn'd?
We stand as in a battle, throngs on throngs
Around us falling; wounded oft ourselves ;
Though bleeding with our wounds, immortal still !
We see time's furrows on another's brow,
And death entrench’d, preparing his assault;
How few themselves, in that just mirror,
Or, seeing, draw their inference as strong!
There death is certain ; doubtful here: He must,
And soon; We may, within an age, expire.
Though gray our heads, our thoughts and aims are green ;
Like damaged clocks, whose hand and bell dissent;
Folly sings Six, while Nature points at Twelve.

Must I then forward only look for death?
Backward I turn mine eye, and find him there.
Man is a self-survivor every year.
Man, like a stream, is in perpetual flow.
Death 's a destroyer of quotidian prey.
My youth, my noontide, his; my yesterday ;
The bold invader shares the present hour.
Each moment on the former shuts the grave.
While man is growing, life is in decrease;
And cradles rock us nearer to the tomb.
Our birth is nothing but our death begun;
As tapers waste, that instant they take fire.

Dying friends.

Our dying friends come o'er us like a cloud,
To damp our brainless ardours; and abate
That glare of life which often blinds the wise :
Our dying friends are pioneers, to smooth
Our rugged pass to death; to break those bars
Of terror and abhorrence Nature throws
'Cross our obstructed way; and thus to make
Welcome, as safe, our port from every storm.
Each friend by fate snatch'd from us, is a plume

« ÖncekiDevam »