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The Pleasures of Memory.
IN TWO PARTS.
On could my mind, unfolded in my page, regularity. They are sometimes excited by sensible Enlighten climes and mould a future age; objects, and sometimes by an internal operation of the There as it glow'd, with noblest frenzy fraught, mind. Of the former species is most probably the memDispense the treasures of exalted thought; ory of brutes; and its many sources of pleasure to them, To Virtue wake the pulses of the heart,
as well as to us, are considered in the first part. The And bid the tear of emulation start!
latter is the most perfect degree of memory, and forms Oh could it still, through each succeeding year, the subject of the second. My life, my manners, and my name endear; When ideas have any relation whatever, they are atAnd, when the poet sleeps in silent dust,
tractive of each other in the mind; and the perception Still hold communion with the wise and just ! of any object naturally leads to the idea of another, Yet should this Verse, my leisuro's best resource, which was connected with it either in time or place, or When through the world it steals its secret course, which can be compared or contrasted with it. Hence Revive but once a generous wish supprest, arises our attachment to inanimate objects; hence also, Chase but a sigh, or charm a care to rest;
in some degree, the love of our country, and the emoIn one good deed a fleeting hour employ,
tion with which we contemplate the celebrated scenes Or flush one faded cheek with honest joy; of antiquity. Hence a picture directs our thoughts to Blest were my lines, though limited their sphere, the original: and, as cold and darkness suggest forcibly Though short their date, as his who traced them here. the ideas of heat and light, ho, who feels the infirmities
1793. of age, dwells most on whatever reminds him of the
vigor and vivacity of his youth. PART I.
The associating principle, as here employed, is no less conducive to virtue than to happiness; and, as such,
it frequently discovers itself in the most tumultuons Dolce sentier,
scenes of life. It addresses our finer feelings, and gives Colle, che mi piacesti,Or ancor per usanza Amor mi mena;
exercise to every mild and generous propensity. Ben riconosco in voi l' usate forme,
Not confined to man, it extends through all animated Non, lasso, in me.
nature; and its effects are peculiarly striking in the Petrarch.
TWILIGHT's soft dews steal o'er the village-green, Tux Poern begins with the description of an obscure With magic tints to harmonize the scene : village, and of the pleasing melancholy which it excites Still'd is the hum that through the hamlet broke, on being revisited after a long absence. This mixed When round the ruins of their ancient oak sensation is an effect of the memory. From an effect The peasants flock'd to hear the minstrel play, we naturally ascend to the cause; and the subject And games and carols closed the busy day. proposed is then unfolded, with an investigation of Her wheel at rest, the matron thrills no more the nature and leading principles of this faculty. With treasured tales, and legendary lore.
It is evident that our ideas flow in continual succes- All, all are fled; nor mirth nor music flows sion, and introduce each other with a certain degree of To chase the dreams of innocent repose.
All, all are fled; yet still I linger here!
Soar'd in tho swing, half pleased and half afraid, What secret charms this silent spot endear? Throngh sister elms that waved their summer shade;
Mark yon old Mansion frowning through the trees, Or strew'd with crumbs yon root-inwoven scal, Whose hollow turret wooes the whistling brecze. To lure the red-breast from his lone retreat! That casement, arch'd with ivy's brownest shade, Childhood's loved group revisits every scene ; First to these eyes the light of heaven convey'd. The tangled wood-walk, and the tufted green! The mouldering gateway strews the grass-grown Indulgent Memory wakes, and lo, they live! court,
Clothed with far softer hues than Light can give. Once the calm scene of many a simple sport, Thou first, best friend that Heaven assigns below, When nature pleased, for life itself was new, To soothe and sweeten all the cares we know; And the heart promised what the fancy drew. Whose glad suggestions still each vain alarm,
See, through the fractured pediment reveal'd, When nature fades, and life forgets to charm ; Where moss inlays the rudely-sculptured shield, Thee would the Muse invoke!--to thee belong The martin's old hereditary nest :
The sage's precept, and the poet's song. Long may the ruin spare its hallow'd guest! What soften'd views thy magic glass reveals,
As jars the hinge, what sullen echocs call! Wheno'er the landscape 'Time's meek twilight steals! Oh haste, unfold the hospitable hall!
As when in ocean sinks the orb of day, That hall, where once, in antiquated state, Long on the wave reflected lustres play; The chair of justice held the grave debate. Thy temper'd gleams of happiness resign'd
Now stain'd with dews, with cobwebs darkly hung, Glance on the darken'd mirror of the mind. Oft has its roof with peals of rapture rung;
The School's lone porch, with reverend mosse, grey, When round yon ample board, in due degree, Just tells the pensive pilgrimn where it lay. We sweeten'd every meal with social glee. Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn, The heart's light laugh pursued the circling jest ; Quickening my truant feet across the lawn: And all was sunshine in each little breast. Unheard the shout that rent the noontide air, 'Twas here we chased the slipper by the sound; When the slow dial gave a pause to care. And turn'd the blindfold hero round and round. Up springs, at every step, to claim a tear, (1) "Twas here, at eve, we form’d our fairy ring; Some little friendship form’d and cherish'd here ; And fancy flutter'd on her wildest wing.
And not the lightest leaf, but trembling toems Giants and genii chain'd each wondering ear; With golden visions, and romantic dreams! And orphan-sorrow's drow the ready tear.
Down by yon hazel copso, at evening, blazed Oft with the babes we wander'd in the wood, The Gipsey's fagot—there we stood and gazed ; Or view'd the forest-feats of Robin Hood : Gazed on her sun-burnt face with silent awe, Oft, fancy-led, at midnight's fearful hour,
Her tatter'd mantle, and her hood of straw; With startling step we scaled the lonely tower; Her moving lips, her caldron brimming o'er; O’er infant innocence to hang and weep,
The drowsy brood that on her back she bore, Murder'd by rullian hands, when smiling in its sleep. Imps in the barn with mousing owlet bred,
Ye Household Deities! whose guardian eye From rifled roost at nightly revel fod ; [shade, Mark'd each pure thought, ere register'd on high; Whose dark eyes flash'd through locks of blackest Still, still ye walk the consecrated ground, When in the brecze the distant watch-dog bay'd And breathe the soul of Inspiration round. And heroes fled the Sibyl's muller'd call, As o'er the dusky furniture I bend,
Whose ellin prowess scaled the orchard-wall. Each chair awakes the feelings of a friend. As o'er my palm the silver piece she drew, . The storied arras, source of fond delight,
And traced the line of life with searching view, With old achievement charms the wilder'd sight; How throbb’d my fluttering pulse with hopes and And still, with Heraldry's rich hues imprest,
fears, On the dim window glows the pictured crest. To learn the color of my future years! The screen unfolds its many-color'd chart;
Ah, then, what honest triumph flush'd my breast; The clock still points its moral to the heart; This truth once known—To bless is to be blest! That faithful monitor 't was heaven to hear, We led the bending beggar on his way, When soft it spoke a promised pleasure near : (Bare were his feet, his tresses silver-grey) And has its suber hand, its simple chime,
Soothed the keen pangs his aged spirit felt, Forgot to trace the feather'd feet of Time ? And on his tale with mute attention dwelt. That massive beam, with curious carvings wrought, As in his scrip we dropt our little store, Whence the caged linnet soothed my pensive thought; And sigh'd to think that little was no more, (live!" Those muskets, cased with venerable rust; [dust, He breathed his prayer, “ Long may such goodness Those once-loved forms, still breathing thro' their 'Twas all he gave, 'twas all he had to give. Still, from the frame in mould gigantic cast,
But hark! through those old firs, with sullen swell, Starting to life-all whisper of the Past!
The church-clock strikes! ye tenderscenes, farewell! As through the garden's desert paths I rove, It calls me hence, beneath their shade, to trace What fond illusions swarm in every grove! The few fond lines that Time may soon effaco. How oft, when purple evening tinged the west, On yon grey stone, that fronts the chancel-door, We watch'd the emmet to her grainy nest ; Worn smooth by busy feet now seen no more, Welcomed the wild-bee home on weary wing, Each eve we shot the marble through the ring, Laden with sweets, the choicest of the spring! When the heart danced, and life was its spring; How oft inscribed, with Friendship’s votive rhyme, Alas! unconscious of the kindred earth, The bark now silver'd by the touch of Time; That saintly echo'd to the voice of mirth.
The glow-worm loves her emerald light to shed, Long o'er the wave a wistful look he cast, Where now the sexton rests his hoary head. Long watch'd the streaming signal from the mast ; On, as he turn'd the greensward with his spade, Till twilight's dewy tints deceived his eye, He lectured every youth that round him play'd ; And fairy-forests fringed the evening sky. And, calmly pointing where our fathers lay,
So Scotia's Queen, (5) as slowly dawn'd the day, Roused us to rival each, the hero of his day. Rose on her couch, and gazed her soul away.
Hush, yo fond flutteringe, hush! while here alone Fler eyes had bless'd the beacon's glimmering height, I search the records of each mouldering stone. That faintly tipt the feathery surge with light; Guides of my life! instructors of my youth! But now the morn with orient hues portray'd Who first unveil'd the hallow'd form of Truth; Each castled cliff, and brown monastic shade : Whose every word enlighten'd and endear'd ; All touch'd the talisman's resistless spring, In age beloved, in poverty revered ;
And lo, what busy tribes were instant on the wing! In Friendship's silent register ye live,
Thus kindred objects kindred thoughts inspire, (6) Nor ask the vain memorial Art can give.
As summer-clouds flash forth electric fire. -But when the sons of peace, of pleasure sleep, And hence this spot gives back the joys of youth, When only Sorrow wakes, and wakes to weep, Warm as the life, and with the mirror's truth. What spellss entrance my visionary mind
Hence home-felt pleasure (7) prompts the Patriot's With sighs so sweet, with transports so refined !
sigh; Ethereal Power! who at the noon of night This makes him wish to live, and dare to die. Recall'et the far-fled spirit of delight;
For this young Foscari, (8) whose hapless fate From whom that musing, melancholy mood Venice should blush to hear the Muse relate, Which charms the wise, and elevates the good;
When exile wore his blooming years away,
When reason, justice, vainly urged his cause, 'To pass the clouds that round thy empire roll, For this he roused her sanguinary laws; And trace its airy precincts in the soul.
Glad to return, though Hope could grant no more, Lulld in the countless chambers of the brain, And chains and torture haild him to the shore. Our thoughts are link'd by many a hidden chain. And hence the charm historic scenes impart: (9) Awake but one, and lo, what myriads rise! (2) Hence Tiber awos, and Avon melts the heart. Each stamps its image as the other flies!
Aërial forms in Tempe's classic vale Each, ax the various avenues of sense
Glance through the gloom, and whisper in the gale, Delight or sorrow to the soul dispense,
In wild Vaucluse with love and Laura dwell, Brightens or fades; yet all, with magic art, And watch and weep in Eloisa's cell. (10) Control the Intent fibres of the heart.
"T was ever thus. As now at Virgil's tomb (11) As studious PROSPERO's mysterious spell
We bless the shade, and bid the verdure bloom : Drew every subject-spirit to his cell;
So Tully paused, amid the wrecks of Time, (12) Esch, at thy call, advances or retires,
On the rude stone to trace the truth sublime;
Where once a Plato taught, a Pindar sung;
Survey the globe, each ruder realm explore; His ruin'd Tusculan's romantic groves? From Ronson's faintest ray to Newton soar. In Rome's great forum, who but hears him roll What different spheres to human bliss assign'd! His moral thunders o'er the subject soul? What slow gradations in the scale of mind !
And hence that calm delight the portrait gives : Yet mark in each these mystic wonders wrought; We gaze on every feature till it lives! Oh mark the sleepless energies of thought! Still the fond lover sees the absent maid ;
The adventurous boy, that asks his little share, And the lost friend still lingers in his shade!
Tremblingly still, she lists his veil 10 trace
Forgets his age, and acts again the boy.
What though the iron school of War eraso
What though the fiend's torpedo-touch arrest
Melts at the long-lost scenes that round him rise, Want with her babes round generous Valor clung, And sinks a martyr to repentant sighs.
To wring the slow surrender from his tongue, Ask not if courts or camps dissolve the charm : 'T was thine to animate her closing eye; Say why Vespasian loved his Sabine farm ; (15) Alas! 't was thine perchance the first to die, Why great Navarre, (16) when France and freedom Crush'd by her meagre hand, when welcomed from
bled, Sought the lone limits of a forest-shed.
Hark! the bee (21) winds her small but mellow When Diocletian's self-corrected mind (17)
horn, The imperial fasces of a world resign'd,
Blithe to salute the sunny smile of morn. Say why we trace the labors of his spade,
O'er thymy downs she bends her busy course, In calm Salona's philosophic shade.
And many a stream allures her to its source. Say, when contentious Charles renounced a thronc,(18) "T is noon, 't is night. That eye so finely wrought, To muse with monks unletter'd and unknown, Beyond the search of sense, the soar of thought, What from his soul the parting tribute drew? Now vainly asks the scenes she left behind; What claim'd the sorrows of a last adieu ?
Its orb so full, its vision so confined ! The still retreats that soothed his tranquil breast Who guides the patient pilgrim to her cell? Ere grandeur dazzled, and its cares oppress'd. Who bids her soul with conscious triumph swell ?
Undamp'd by time, the generous Instinct glows With conscious truth retrace the mazy clue Far as Angola's sands, as Zembla's snows;
Of varied scents, that charın'd her as she flew ! Glows in the tiger's den, the serpent's nest,
Hail, MEMORY, hail! thy universal reign On every form of varied life imprest.
Guards the least link of Being's glorious chain.
Delle cose custodo, e dispensiera.
The Memory has hitherto acted only in subservi. Gleam'd o'er the furze to light him on his way; ence to the senses, and so far man is not eminently When not a sheep-bell soothed his listening ear, distinguished from other animals: but, with respect And the big rain-drops told the tempest near; to man, she has a higher province; and is often busily Then did his horse the homeward track descry, (19) employed, when excited by no external cause whatThe track that shunn'd his sad, inquiring eye; ever. She preserves, for his use, the treasures of art And win each wavering purpose to relent, and science, history and philosophy. She colors all With warmth so mild, so gently violent,
the prospects of life: for “we can only anticipate the That his charm'd hand the careless rein resign'd, future, by concluding what is possible from what is And doubts and terrors vanish'd from his mind. past." On her agency depends every effusion of the
Recall the traveller, whose alter'd form Fancy, who with the boldest effort can only comHas borne the buffet of the mountain-storm; pound or transpose, augment or diminish, the mateAnd who will first his fond impatience meet? rials which she has collected. His faithful dog's already at his feet!
When the first emotions of despair have subsided, Yes, though the porter spurn him from the door, and sorrow has softened into melancholy, she amuses Though all, that knew him, know his face no more, with a retrospect of innocent pleasures, and inspires His faithful dog shall tell his joy to each,
that noble confidence which results from the conscious. With that mute eloquence which passes speech.- ness of having acted well. When sleep hus suspended And see, the master but returns to die!
the organs of sense from their office, she not only supYet who shall bid the watchful servant fly? plies the mind with images, but assists in their combiThe blasts of heaven, the drenching dews of earth, nation. And even in madness itself, when the soul is The wanton insults of unfeeling mirth,
resigned over to the tyranny of a distempered imagiThese, when to guard Misfortune's sacred grave, nation, she revives past perceptions, and awakens that Will firm Fidelity exult to brave.
train of thought which was formerly most familiar. Led by what chart, transports the timid dove Nor are we pleased only with a review of the The wreaths of conquest, or the vows of love? brighter passages of life. Events, the most distressing Say, through the clouds what compass points her flight? in their immediate consequences, are ofion cherished Monarchs have gazed, and nations bless'd the sight. in remembrance with a degree of enthusiasm. Pile rocks on rocks, bid woods and mountains rise, But the world and its occupations give a mechanical Eclipse her native shades, her native skies :- impulse to the passions, which is not very favorable "T is vain! through Ether's pathless wilds she goes, to the indulgence of this feeling. It is in a calm and And lights at last where all her cares repose. well-regulated mind that the Memory is most perfect; Swoot bird! thy truth shall Haarlem's walls at- and solitude is her best sphere of action. With this test, (20)
sentiment is introduced a Tale illustrative of her in. And unborn ages consecrate thy nest.
Ruence in solitude, sickness, and sorrow. And the subWhen, with the silent energy of grief,
ject having now been considered, so far as it relates to With looks that ask'd, yet dared not hopo relief, man and the animal world, the Poem concludes with
& conjecture that superior beings are blest with a Beneath his plantain's ancient shade, renew nobler exercise of this faculty.
The simple transports that with freedom flew;
Catch the cool breeze that musky evening blows, SWEET MEMORY, wasted by thy gentle gale,
And quaff the palm's rich nectar as it glows; of up the stream of Time I turn my sail,
The oral tale of elder time rehearse, To view the fairy-haunts of long-lost hours,
And chant the rude, traditionary verse Blest with four greener shades, far fresher flowers.
With those, the loved companions of his youth,
When life was luxury, and friendship truth.
Ah! why should Virtue fear the frowns of Fate?
Hers what no wealth can buy, no power create! Thee, in whose hand the keys of Science dwell,
A little world of clear and cloudless day, The pensive portress of her holy cell;
Nor wreck'd by storms, nor moulder'd by decay; Whose constant vigils chase the chilling damp Oblivion steals upon her vestal-lamp.
A world, with Memory's ceaseless sunshine blest,
The home of Happiness, an honest breast. The friends of Reason, and the guides of Youth, Whose language breathed the eloquence of Truth; When Sleep has lock'd the senses in her chain.
But most we mark the wonders of her reign, Whose life, beyond preceptive wisdom, taught
When sober Judgment has his throne resign'd
She smiles away the chaos of the mind;
And, as warm Fancy's bright Elysium glows,
From Her each image springs, each color flows. From Thee sweet Hope her airy coloring draws; She is the sacred guest! the immortal friend! And Fancy's flights are subject to thy laws.
Oft seen o'er sleeping Innocence to bend, From Thee that bosom-spring of rapture flows, In that dead hour of night to Silence given, Which only Virtue, tranquil Virtue, knows.
Whispering seraphic visions of her heaven. When Joy's bright sun has shed his evening-ray, When the blithe son of Savoy, journeying round And Hope's delusive meteors cease to play; With humble wares and pipe of merry sound, When clouds on clouds the smiling prospect close,
From his green vale and shelter'd cabin hies,
And at his feet the thunder dies away,
And bends to hear their cherub-voices call,
But can her smile with gloomy Madness dwell? To love and joy still tremblingly alive;
Say, can she chase the horrors of his cell? The whisper'd vow, the chaste caress prolong,
Each fiery flight on Frenzy's wing restrain, Weave the light dance and swell the choral song;
And mould the coinage of the sever'd brain? With rapt ear drink the enchanting serenade,
Pass but that grate, which scarce a gleam supplice, And, as it melts along the moonlight-glade,
There in the dust the wreck of Genius lies! To each soft note retarn as soft a sigh,
He, whose arresting hand divinely wrought And bless the youth that bids her slumbers fly.
Each bold conception in the sphere of thought; But not till Time has calm'd the ruffled breast,
And round, in colors of the rainbow, threw Are these fond dreams of happiness confest.
Forins ever fair, creations ever new! Not till the rushing winds forget to rave,
But, as he fondly snatch'd the wreath of Fame, Is Heaven's sweet smile reflected on the wave.
The spectre Poverty unnerved his frame. From Guinea's coast pursue the lessening sail, Cold was her grasp, a withering scowl she wore; And catch the sounds that sadden every gale. And Hope's soft energies were felt no more. Tul, if thou canst, the sum of sorrows there; Yet still how sweet the soothings of his art! (23) Mark the fix'd gaze, the wild and frenzied glare, From the rude wall what bright ideas start! The racks of thought, and freezings of despair! Even now he claims the amaranthine wreath, Burt pawe not then-beyond the western wave, With scenes that glow, with images that breathe! Go, view the captive barter'd as a slave!
And whence these scenes, these images, declare : Crush'd till his high, heroic spirit bleeds,
Whence but from Her who triumphs o'er despair? And from his nerveless frame indignantly recedes. Awake, arise! with grateful fervor fraught,
Yet here, even here, with pleasures long resign'd, Go, spring the mine of elevating thought. Lo! MEMORY bursts the twilight of the mind. He, who, through Nature's various walk, surveys Her denr delusions soothe his sinking soul, The good and fair her faultless line portrays; When the rude scourge assumes its base control ; Whose mind, profaned by no unhallow'd guest, And o'er Futurity's blank page diffuse
Culls from the crowd the purest and the best; The full reflection of her vivid hues.
May range, at will, bright Fancy's golden clime, Tin but to die, and then, to weep no more,
Or, musing, mount where Science sits sublime, Than will be wake on Congo's distant shorc ; Or wako the Spirit of departed Time. B