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Several songs of various casts are scattered throngh the rolume. The following is the best :
. LOVE AND OPPORTUNITY. "
0! who art thou, so swiftly flying?
My name is Love, the child replied :
Swifter I pass than south-winds sighing,
Or streams through summer vales that glide.
And who art thou, his flight pursuing ?
'Tis cold Neglect whom now you see:
The little god you there are viewing,
Will die, if once he's tourhed by me.
*O! who art thou, so fast proceeding,
Ne'er glancing back thine eyes of fame?
Marked but by few, through earth I'm speeding,
And Opportunity's my name.
What form is that, which scowls beside thee?
Repentance is the form you see :
Learn then the fate may yet betide thee
She seizes them who seize not me. p. 90.
Art. VIII. The Story of Rimini, a Poem. By Leigh Hunt. foolscap
8vo. pp. xx. 112. Price 6s. Murray, 1816. W E have, in the present afluence of poetical genius, almost
every style of poetry yearly issuing from the press; the imaginative philosophy of Wordsworth, the bosom touches of Southey, the stir and spirit of Scott, the voluptuous elegance of Moore, the intense feeling of Lord Byron and Joanna Baillie: yet we have nothing exactly in the manner of the Story of Ri.
mini,' the easy graceful style of familiar narrative. This was a favourite style with the Italians Chaucer brought it into our own country; but it is, perhaps, best known as that which Dryden adopted in his fables. Dryden, however, was not the best fitted to excel in this kind. Powerful interest, it is true, is not required in the narration; our pleasure is to arise chiefly from the description, and from the passion of the story. It was exactly in these two particulars that Dryden failed; what he was acquainted with, Dryden could indeed describe forcibly, for he always went strait to the point, never blundering about his meaning; but there is hardly to be found, in all his voluminous productions, a single image immediately from nature; and he has not a passage that strikes upon the heart, as if sent from the heart. Accordingly, we believe, the vigorous writing and free versification of Dryden's fables, are more praised than read.
We are very glad to see the style revived by one so fitted to excel in it as Mr. Hunt. We wish indeed that the story
* This stanza is imitated from a passage in the Occasione of Machiavelli.
had moved on a little more rapidly; but we are not unwilling to loiter among the beautiful descriptions, and enjoy the fresh diction of Mr. Hunt..
The tale is soon told. It consists of nothing but the gradual progress and final accomplishment of a criminal passion--a mutual passion of wife and brother-in-law. We give the Author full credit for the decency of his representations, for the absence of every thing that c:n disgust, or seduce, or inflame : but still we doubt whether such stories are not likely to do some hurt to the cause of morality; whether it is possible so to distinguish between the offence and the offender, as to render the one detestable, while the other is represented as so very amiable; and whether indeed this amiableness is not gotten by paring ofl' sundry little portions of the sin ; such as selfishness-that unheroic quality, on the part of the seducer; base infidelity on the part of the woman. Our ohjections to these stories on the score of good taste, we have formerly stated.
But we basten away from criticism to poetry. We shall give the reader a few specimens of Mr. H.'s powers in those two grand parts of poetry, the descriptive and the passionate,
Nothing can be more fresh and fragrant, more upfeigned and con amore, than the following description of a clear spring morning, with which the poem opens.;
* The sun is up, and 'tis a morn of May
Round old Ravenna's clear shewn towers and bay,
A morn, the loveliest which the year has seen,
Last of the spring, yet fresh with all its green;
For a warm eve, and gentle rains at night,
Have left a sparkling welcome for the light,, .
And there's a crystal clearness all about;
The leaves are sharp, the distant hills look out;
A balmy briskness comes upon the breeze;
The smoke goes dancing from the cottage trees;
And when you listen, you may hear a coil
Of bubbling springs about the grassy soil;
And all the scene, in short-sky, earth, and sea,
Breathes like a bright-eyed face, that laughs out openly. • 'Tis nature, full of spirits, waked and springing :
The birds to the delicious time are singing,
Darting with freaks and snatches up and down,
Where the light woods go seaward from the town;
While happy faces, striking through the green
Of leafy roads, at every turn are seen;
And the far ships, lifting their sails of white
Like joyful hands, come up with scattery light,
Come gleaming up, true to the wished-for day,
And chase the whistling brine, and swirl into the bay."
The evening is nearly as good.
It was a lovely evening, fit to close
A lovely day, and brilliant in repose.
Warm, but not dim, a glow was in the air ;
The softened breeze came smoothing here and there;
And every tree, in passing, one by one,
Gleamed out with twinkles of the golden sun :
For leafy was the road, with tall array,
On either side, of mulberry and bay,
And distant snatches of blue hills between;
And there the alder was with its bright green,
And the broad chestnut, and the poplar's shoot,
That like a feather waves from head to foot,
With, ever and anon, majestic pines;
And still from tree to tree the early vines
Hung garlanding the way in amber lines. pp. 32-33. The following are but touches, but they are exquisite ones.
One day,-'twas on a summer afternoon,
When airs and gurgling brooks are best in tune,
And grasshoppers are loud, and day-work done,
And shades have heavy outlines in the sun. p. 72.
« 'Twas a fresh autumn dawn, vigorous and chill;
The lightsome morning star was sparkling still,
Ere it turned in to heaven ; and far away
Appeared the streaky fingers of the day'. p. 42. In this season of the year, when spring is just waking in the country, and bringing in hope and love and poetry, we cannot refrain from tantalizing our London readers with one extract more.
A noble range it was, of many a rood,
· Walled round with trees, and ending in a wood:
Indeed the whole was leafy; and it had
A winding stream about, clear and glad, *.
That danced from sharle to shade, and on its way
Seemed smiling with delight to feel the day.
There was the pouting rose, both red and white,
The flamy heart's-ease, flushed with purple light,
Blush hiding strawberry, sunny-coloured box,
Hyacinth, handsome with his clustering locks,
The lady lily, looking gently down,
Pure lavender, to lay in bridal gown,
The daisy, lovely on both sides, -in short,
All the sweet cups to which the bees resort,
With plots of grass, and perfumed walks between
Of citron, honeysuckle and jessamine,
With orange, whose warm leaves so timely suit,
And look as if they'd shade a golden fruit ; * A syllable has slipped out of this line, at press, we suppose.
And midst the flowers, turfed round beneath a shade
Of circling pines,'a babbling fountain played,
And 'twixt their shafts you saw the water bright
Which through the darksome tops glimmered with showering
So now you walked beside an 'odorous bed
Of gorgeous hues, white, azure, golden, red;
And now turned off into a leafy walk
Close and continuous, fit for lovers' talk ;
And now pursued the stream, and as you trod
Onward and onward o'er che velvet sod,
Felt on your face an air, watery and sweet,
And a new sense in your soft-lighting feet;
And then perhaps you entered upon shades,.
Pillowed with dells and uplands 'twixt the glades,
"Through which the distant palace, now and then,
Looked lordly forth with many-windowed ken;
A land of trees, which reaching round about,
In shady blessing stretched their old arms out,
With spots of sunny opening, and with nooks,
To lie and read in, sloping into brooks,
Where at her drink you started the slim deer,
Retreating lightly with a lovely fear..
And all about, the birds kept leafy, house
And sung and sparkled in and out the boughs;
And all about, a lovely sky of blue .
Clearly was felt, or down the leaves laughed through;'
And here and there, in every part, were seats,
Some in the open 'walks, soine in retreats;
With bowering leaves o’erhead, to which the eye
Looked up half sweetly and half awfully,
Places of nestling'green, for poets made,
Where when the sunshine'struck a yellow shade,
The slender trunks, to inward peeping sight,
Thronged in dark pillars up the gold green light.' pp. 65–68. We pass on to the human part of the story: The description of the bride is, we think, very touching.
• She, who had been beguiled, she, who was made
Within a gentle bosom to be laid,
To bless and to be blessed to be heart-bare 's
To one who found his bettered likeness there
To think for ever with him like a bride,
To haunt his eye, like taste personified,
To double his delight, to share his sorrow,
And like a morning beam, wake to him every morrow. p. 55. Very amiable too are the following lines, in which the first feelings of love are described in the brother.'
And she became companion of his thought:
Silence her gentleness before him brought,
Society her sense, reading her books, , ; .
Music her voice, every sweet thing her looks,
Which sometimes seemed, when he sat fixed awhile,
To steal beneath his eyes with upward smile :
And did he stroll into some lonely place,
Under the trees, upon the thick soft grass,
How charming, would he think, to see her here! pp. 57,58. The following needs no comment.
• But she, the gentler frame,-the shaken flower,
Plucked up to wither in a foreign bower,-
The struggling, virtue loving, fallen she,
The wife that was, the mother that might be,
What could she do, unable thus to keep
Her strength alive, but sit and think, and weep,
For ever stooping o'er her broidery frame,
Half blind, and longing till the night-time came,
When worn and wearied out with the day's sorrow,
She might be still and senseless till the morrow.
" And oh, the morrow how it used to rise !
How would she open her despairing eyes,
And from the sense of the long lingering day,
Rushing upon her, almost turn away,
Loathing the light, and groan to sleep again!
Then sighing once for all, to meet the pain,
She would get up in haste, and try to pass
The time in patience, wretched as it was;
Till patience self, in her distempered sight,
Would seem a charm to which she had no right,
And trembling at the lip, and pale with fears,
She shook her head, and burst into fresh tears.
Old comforts now were not at her command:
The falcon reached in vain from off his stand;
The flowers were not refreshed; the very light,
The sunshine, seemed as if it shone at night;
The least noise smote her like a sudden Found;
And did she hear but the remotest sound
Of song or instrument about the place,
She hid with both her hands her streaming face.
But worse to her than all (and oh! thought she,
That ever, ever such a worse could be !)
The sight of infant was, or cbild at play;
Then would she turn, and move her lips, and pray,
That heaven would take her, if it pleased, away. PP. 87-89. Her death must close our extracts.
• Her favorite lady then with the old nurse
Returned, and fearing she must now be worse,
Gently withdrew the curtains, and looked in
O, who that feels one godlike spark within,
Shall say that earthly suffering cancels not frail siz!