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education, and to give what I hope will be enduring
Whereon its trembling plumage might repose,
Gush as a fount, that forth to sun-light flows." The effect of this discipline, on so tender a spirit, cannot be better depicted than by the pencil of Southey, — - The life-long sorrow that remain’d, became
A healing and a chastening grief, that brought
Her soul in close communion, nearer Heaven.” In Mrs. Hemans, we see the true poetic genius producing its highest effect, the sublimation of piety. Cheering, by its versatile powers, the darkness of her destiny, and gradually throwing off all stain of earthliness, it desired at length, to breathe only the songs of heaven. “ Deep affections, and deep sorrows,” she writes, “ have solemnized my whole being, and I now feel bound to higher and holier tasks, which, though I may occasionally lay aside, I could not long wander from, without sense of dereliction. I hope it is no self-delusion, — but I cannot help sometimes feeling as if it were my true task -- to enlarge the sphere of sacred poetry, and extend its influence.”
Would that she had been spared, fully to redeem this pledge to the Christian world! But too soon, the last sickness came. The poetic wing was meekly folded, and bright and blessed visions soothed the hours of suffering and decline. “I am as a tired child,” she said, “weary, and longing to mingle with the pure in heart. I feel as if I were sitting with Mary, at the feet of my Redeemer, hearing the music of his voice, and learning of Him, to be meek and lowly. I am like a quiet babe at his feet, and yet my spirit is full of his strength.”
The sweet solace of poetry lingered with her till the spoiler came, and then
“ The parting soul did gather all her fires
Around her, - all her glorious hopes and dreams,
Awhile she sat in dying eyes, - and thence į Sent forth a bright farewell.”
At the head of the school of poetry, essentially feminine, we place her, “ whose name, we know not now, in heaven.” In that department, she would have been crowned at the Olympic games, — were the whole civilized world her auditor and judge.
And now, we grieve to say farewell to thee, sweet ruler of the tuneful harp. The young, free-hearted West, is a weeper at thy grave. The hymns of the Pilgrim-Fathers have found an echo in thy lofty strain; and from the storm-beaten rock where they landed, to the Gulph where the Floridian orange-grove and the magnolia mingle their perfumes, — from the sounding shores of the Atlantic, to the lone wilds of the Oregon, where the red man wanders, — thine image is cherished, and thy memory dear.
The emigrant mother, toiling over steep, rugged mountains, reads thy poems in the rude vehicle which bears all her treasures to a stranger-land. The lisping child responds to her voice, amid those deep solitudes, — and the words are thine. Thou art with them, in their unfloored hut, - teaching them to love the home which God has given.
Why have we said farewell ? We recall the word. Thou art still with us, gentle spirit. Race after race may fall like autumnal leaves, and our broad prairies become the site of thronged cities; but thou shalt still be there, undecaying, unchanged.
Yes, — sit by our hearth-stones, and sing there, when we shall be gathered to the fathers. When by our children's children our memory is forgotten, thou shalt not be forgotten :— thou shalt lift up thy voice of melody to unborn ages, and tell them of the Better Land.
L. H. S. Hartford, Conn., January, 1840.
ON MRS. HEMANS.
NATURE doth mourn for thee. There comes a voice
Thy music, like baptismal dew, did make Whate'er it touch'd, more holy. The pure shell, Pressing its pearly lip to Ocean's floor, The cloister'd chambers where the sea-gods sleep, And the unfathom'd, melancholy main, Lament for thee, through all the sounding deeps.
Hark!- from sky-piercing Himmaleh, - to where Snowdon doth weave his coronet of cloud, From the scath'd pine-tree near the red man's hut, To where the everlasting banian builds
Its vast columnar temple, swells.a wail
The vales Of glorious Albion, hoard thy tuneful fame,And those green cliffs, where erst the Cambrian bards Swept their indignant lyres, exulting tell How oft thy fairy foot in childhood climb'd Their rude, romantic heights. Yet was the couch Of thy last slumber, in yon verdant isle Of song and eloquence, and ardent soul Which loved of lavish skies,-tho’ bann'd by fate, Seem'd as a type of thine own varied lot, The crown'd of genius, and the child of woe. For at thy breast, the ever-pointed thorn Did gird itself in secret, ’mid the gush Of such unstain'd, sublime, impassion'd song, That angels poising on some silver cloud Might listen 'mid the errands of the skies, And linger, all unblamed.
Vol. I. 3