« AnteriorContinuar »
WRITTEN AT BOLTON ABBEY, NOV. 18, 1812.
BY I. GRANT, Esq.
"In the deep solitude of the woods betwixt Bolton and Barden, "three miles up the river from the abbey, the Wharf suddenly "contracts itself to a rocky channel, little more than four feet "wide, and pours through the tremendous fissure with a rapidity "proportioned to its confinement. This place was formerly, as it "is yet called, the Strid, from a feat often exercised by persons "with more agility than prudence, who stride from brink to brink, "regardless of the destruction which awaits a faltering step.
"The priory at Embsay, four miles east of Bolton, was founded "by William de Meschines and Cecilia his wife, in the year 1121, " and continued there about thirty-three years, when it is said by "tradition to have been translated to Bolton, on the following "account.
"The founders were now dead, and had left a daughter Adeliza, "who adopted her mother's name, Romille; and was married to "William Fitz Duncan, nephew to David king of Scotland. They "had issue a son, commonly called the Boy of Egremond, (one of "his grandfather's Baronies, where he was probably born) who, "surviving an elder brother, became the last hope of the family.
"This youth having one day, in coursing, inconsiderately at"tempted to bound, with a greyhound in his leash, and fastened "to his thigh, over the chasm; the animal hung back, and drew "his unfortunate master into the torrent. His afflicted parents, "on this occasion, removed the seat of the priory to Bolton, the "nearest eligible spot to the place where the accident happened."
AST are gay Summer's smiles: the wreaths of May Have faded, Wharf, along thy sylvan shore: No more the wild-rose blossoms on the spray;
Sad looks the leafless elm, and hawthorn hoar.
*Author of the Elegy written at Kirkstall Abbey. P. R. vol. vii. p. 39.
Yet touched by Winter's horizontal beam,
Frequent, the oak embrowned, and ruddier beech, Spread their faint glows, reflected, on the stream, Their solemn maxim, lingering but to teach:
To whisper youth,-how beautiful the brow
Whose faded looks heaven's peaceful smiles illume; To counsel age,-that but a passing "Now," It boasts its grace, and drops into the tomb.
Not such thy fate, Romille! an early blast
Destroyed thy vernal hopes; thy Summer's pride: Soon, hapless youth, thy days of promise passed; Swift, as along these bickering waters glide.
Where sable rocks frown o'er the straitened flood,
Here, here thou sunk'st; the insatiate torrent's prey.
Fearless of danger, ardent in the chase,
I mark thee nimbly speeding down the hill; Mark the keen eye; the flush that lights thy face; Mark the gay, gallant, elegant Romille.
And now, thy greyhound leashing to thy side,
I hear thee breathe;-thou pausest where I stand: Collect'st thy force to span the impetuous tide;
The tide by thee which never shall be spanned.
I see the huntsman's cap, the huntsman's spear;
And lo! thou dar'st the bold, the dreadful bound;
And back art dragg'd, and plungest in the wave: While vainly struggling, the reluctant hound
Sinks,-fatal clog-to share that watery grave.
Say! powers unseen, that love to linger near;
Oft rose the youth ere death had sealed his eyes? Oft called for aid, though none were nigh to hear; While echo mocked him with responsive cries.
Awful transition!-Now-brisk, joyous, bold:
A step; and but a step, 'twixt thee and death*.
How grieved the parents, when the pale cold corse
Was borne with dripping locks, with ghastly mien ; The mother's anguish like the flood-stream's force,
The sterner sire's,—the spring that mines unseen!
But these have passed away: that sire is gone:
Closed is that mother's span ;—and told her tale: Yet through the chasm thy waters, Wharf, roll on:
And yet shall roll-when this right hand shall fail.
Snatch'd from the wrecks of time, should this rude verse Gain but a local and a lowly fame;
If some lone wanderer should its tale rehearse,
'Mid the wild landscape, still and still the same:
Thou, who shalt stand on this dark flood to gaze,
* Vid. 1 Sam. xx. 3.
IN FIVE BOOKS.
THE FIRST TWO BOOKS BY DR. BEATTIE; THE THREE LAST BY THE REV. R. POLwHele.
ANALYSIS OF THE POEM.
I.-First and Second Books.
THE progress of GENIUS in boyism and in youth; as, through the medium of the senses, the fancy is influenced by universal nature, as the memory is stored with knowledge, and as the judgment is improved by education-Its wilder energies.
GENIUS, as the fancy and the passions of youth are influenced by external objects, particularly by female beauty-assuming a more decided form in music, painting, and poetry.
III.-Fourth and Fifth Books.
The sister arts thus called into action;-their operation in the enterprising spirit of the lover and the warriour; and their effect (both in public and private life) viz; to the Minstrel, the acquisition of riches, power, and beauty; and to his country, through his instrumentality, emancipation from tyranny, and restoration to liberty and peace.
The second stanza in Beattie's first book should be re-written. To accommodate the sentiment to the conduct of Edwin when brought into action, we should say, "But the fire of genius will often break through all the obstructions of fortune, where there is scope to expatiate through universal nature."
BOOK THE THIRD.
Genius [as the fancy and the passions are influenced by external objects, particularly by female beauty,] assuming a more de cided form in music, painting, and poetry.
Yes, it is meet to pour afresh the tear*,
Which mourns, in pale regret, the parted friend! Him, who to all the choral sisters dear
Would to my earliest notes assistance lend, And breathing inspiration, kindly bend O'er each weak effort, as I tun'd the rhyme !
E'en now, I own that influence, and ascend To heights where Edwin's genius towers sublime : He nurs'd the boy's first bloom, the stripling's vigorous
* It may not, perhaps, be improper for the editor to insert here the closing stanza of Dr. Beattie's second book, in order that the connection of the second and third books may be immediately perceived.
Art thou, my Gregory, for ever fled!
And am I left to unavailing woe!
When fortune's storms assail this weary head,
Where cares long since have shed untimely snow,
No more thy soothing voice my anguish cheers:
Thy placid eyes with smiles no longer glow,
'Tis meet that I should mourn: flow forth afresh my tears.