So sang a wither’d Beldam energetical,
And bann’d the ungiving door with lips prophetical.
* * * * *
TO J. S. KNOWLES, ESQ.
ON HIS TRAGEDY OF VIRGINIUS.
Twelve years ago I knew thee, Knowles,
Esteemed you a perfect specimen
Of those fine spirits warm-soul’d Ireland sends,
To teach us colder English how a friend’s
Quick pulse should beat. I knew you brave, and plain,
Strong-sensed, rough-witted, above fear or gain;
But nothing further had the gift to espy.
Sudden you reappear. With wonder I
Hear my old friend (turn’d Shakspeare) read a scene
Only to his inferior in the clean
Passes of pathos: with such fence-like art—
Ere we can see the steel, ’tis in our heart.
Almost without the aid language affords,
Your piece seems wrought. That huffing medium, words,
(Which in the modern Tamburlaines quite sway
Our shamed souls from their bias) in your play
We scarce attend to. Hastier passion draws
Our tears on credit: and we find the cause
Some two hours after, spelling o’er again
Those strange few words at ease, that wrought the pain.
Proceed, old friend; and, as the year returns,
Still snatch some new old story from the urns
Of long-dead virtue. We, that knew before
Your worth, may admire, we cannot love you more.
* * * * *
TO THE AUTHOR OF POEMS,
PUBLISHED UNDER THE NAME OF BARRY CORNWALL.
Let hate, or grosser heats, their foulness
Under the vizor of a borrow’d name;
Let things eschew the light deserving blame:
No cause hast thou to blush for thy sweet task.
“Marcian Colonna” is a dainty book;
And thy “Sicilian Tale” may boldly pass;
Thy “Dream” ’bove all, in which, as in a glass,
On the great world’s antique glories we may look.
No longer then, as “lowly substitute,
Factor, or PROCTER, for another’s gains,”
Suffer the admiring world to be deceived;
Lest thou thyself, by self of fame bereaved,
Lament too late the lost prize of thy pains,
And heavenly tunes piped through an alien flute.
* * * * *
TO THE EDITOR OF THE “EVERY-DAY BOOK.”
I like you, and your book, ingenuous Hone!
In whose capacious all-embracing leaves
The very marrow of tradition’s shown;
And all that history—much that fiction—weaves.
By every sort of taste your work is graced.
Vast stores of modern anecdote we find,
With good old story quaintly interlaced—
The theme as various as the reader’s mind.
Rome’s lie-fraught legends you so
Yet kindly,—that the half-turn’d Catholic
Scarcely forbears to smile at his own saint,
And cannot curse the candid heretic.