Abbildungen der Seite

For Fate, in a strange humour, had decreed In the first seat, in robe of various dyes, That what it wrote, none but itself should read; A noble wildness flashing from his eyes, Much too it chatter'd of dramatic laws,

Sat Shakspeare. In one hand a wand he Misjudging critics, and misplac'd applause;

bore, Then, with a self-complacent jutting air, For mighty wonders fam'd in days of yore; It smil'd, it smirk'd, it wriggled to the chair; | The other held a globe, which to his will And, with an awkward briskness not its own, Obedient turn'd, and ownd the master's skill: Looking around, and perking on the throne, Things of the noblest kind his genius drew, Triumphant seem'd, when that strange savage And looh'd through Nature at a single view:


A loose he gave to his unbounded soul,
Known but to few, or only known by name, And taught new lands to rise, new
Plain Common Sense appeared, by Nature there
Appointed, with plain Truth, to guard the chair. Call’d into being scenes unknown before,

And, passing Nature's bounds, was something




[ocr errors]




William Cowper ward am 15. November 1731 zu Great Berkhamstead in Hertfordshire, wo sein Vater als Geistlicher lebte, geboren, erhielt eine wissenschaftliche Bildung auf der gelehrten Schule zu Westminster und ward dann zum practischen Juristen bestimmt. Die Rechtsgelehrsamkeit sagte ihm aber nicht zu und er beschäftigte sich lieber mit bellettristischen Arbeiten. Eine unglückliche Liebe und die Unzufriedenheit mit dem erwählten Stande machten ihn bei angeborener Neigung zur Melancholie tiefsinnig, so dass er der Behandlung eines Irrenarztes anvertraut werden musste. Er ward zwar von seinem Uebel wieder hergestellt, aber seine Gesundheit blieb sein ganzes übriges Leben hindurch geschwächt. In guten Stunden beschäftigte er sich mit Poesie; der erste Band seiner gesammelten Gedichte erschien 1783 zu London, ein zweiter 1785. — Gegen das Ende seines Lebens beschäftigte er sich mit einer Uebersetzung des Homer. Von Neuem in Tiefsinn verfallen starb er am 25. April 1800.

Cowper wurde während seines Lebens als Dichter wenig beachtet und ist später ein grosser und bleibender Liebling seiner Landsleute geworden. Er war eine durch und durch poetische Natur und eben das gewinnt ihm Aller Herzen. Warme Menschenliebe, inniges Gefühl für das Wahre und Gute, Milde und Wohlwollen characterisiren seine elegant und correct geschriebenen Poesieen, welche meistens lyrischen und didactischen Inhaltes sind; nur Eins fehlt ihm, Phantasie. Ohne diesen Mangel hätte er vielleicht sich den besten Dichtern seiner Nation beigesellt.

On the Receipt of my Mother's Picture Voice only fails, else how distinct they say, out of Norfolk, the Gift of my cousin “Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away!" Ann Bodham.

The meek intelligence of those dear eyes,

(Blest be the art that can immortalize, O that those lips had language! Life has pass'd The art that baffles Time's tyrannic claim With me but roughly since I heard thee last. To quench it,) here shines on me still the same. Those lips are thine - thy own sweet smile I see, Faithful remembrancer of one so dear, The same, that oft in childhood solac'd me; O, welcome guest, though unexpected here!

Who bidd'st me honour with an artless song,
Affectionate, a mother lost so long.
I will obey, not willingly alone,
But gladly, as the precept were her own:
And, while that face renews my filial grief,
Fancy shall weave a charm for my relief,
Shall steep me in Elysian reverie,

A momentary dream, that thou art she.

Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall,
Ne'er roughen'd by those cataracts and breaks,
That humour interpos'd too often makes;
All this still legible in mem'ry's page,

And still to be so to my latest age,

Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Such honours to thee as my numbers may;
Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,

My mother! when I learn'd that thou wast Not scorn'd in heav'n, though little notic'd here.



Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed?
Hover'd thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son,
Wretch even then, life's journey just begun?
Perhaps thou gav'st me, though unfelt, a kiss;
Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss
Ah that maternal smile; it answers
I heard the bell toll'd on thy burial day,
I saw the hearse that bore thee slow away,
And, turning from my nurs ry window, drew
A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu!
But was it such? It was.


Could Time, his flight revers'd, restore the

hours, When, playing with thy vesture's tissu'd flow'rs, The violet, the pink, and jessamine, I prick'd them into paper with a pin, (And thou wast happier than myself the while, Wouldst softly speak, and stroke my head, and smile,)

Could those few pleasant days again appear, Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here?


the dear delight Where thou art I would not trust my heart gone, Seems so to be desir'd, perhaps I might. Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown. But no what here we call our life is such, May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore, So little to be lov'd, and thou so much, The parting word shall pass my lips no more! That I should ill requite thee to constrain Thy maidens, griev'd themselves at my concern, Thy unbound spirit into bonds again. Oft gave me promise of thy quick return. What ardently I wish'd, I long believ'd, And, disappointed still, was still deceiv'd. By expectation ev'ry day beguil'd, Dupe of to-morrow even from a child. Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went, Till, all my stock of infant-sorrow spent, I learn'd at last submission to my lot, But though I less deplor'd thee, ne'er forgot. Where once we dwelt our name is heard no


Children not thine have trod thy nurs'ry floor;
And where the gard'ner Robin, day by day,
Drew me to school along the public way,
Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapp'd
In scarlet-mantle warm, and velvet cap,
'T is now become a history little known,
That once we call'd the past'ral house our own.
Short-liv'd possession! but the record fair,
That mem'ry keeps of all thy kindness there,
Still outlives many a storm, that has effac'd
A thousand other themes less deeply trac'd.
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made,
That thou mightst know me safe and warmly

Thy morning bounties ere I left my home,
The biscuit, or confectionary plum;
The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestow'd
By thy own hand, till fresh they shone

All this, and more endearing still than all,


Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast
(The storms all weather'd and the ocean cross'd)
Shoots into port at some well-haven'd isle,
Where spices breathe, and brighter seasons smile,
There sits quiescent on the floods, that show
Her beauteous form reflected clear below,
While airs impregnated with incense play
Around her, fanning light her streamers gay;
So thou, with sails how swift! hast reach'd the

"Where tempests never beat nor billows roar",
And thy lov'd consort on the dang'rous tide
Of life long since has anchor'd by thy side.
But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest,
Always from port withheld, always distress'd
Me howling blasts drive devious, tempest-toss'd,
Sails ripp'd, seams opening wide, and compass


[ocr errors]

And day by day some current's thwarting force
Sets me more distant from a prosp'rous course.
Yet O the thought, that thou art safe, and he!
That thought is joy, arrive what may to me.
My boast is not, that I deduce my birth
From loins enthron'd, and rulers of the earth;
But higher far my proud pretensions rise
The son of parents pass'd into the skies.
And now farewell Time unrevok'd has run
His wonted course, yet what I wish'd is done.
By contemplation's help, not sought in vain,
I seem t'have liv'd my childhood o'er again;
To have renew'd the joys that once were mine,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Erasmus Darwin ward 1732 zu Elton in Nottinghamshire geboren, studirte in Cambridge und Edinburg, wo er als Dr. Medicinae promovirte und liess sich dann als practischer Arzt zuerst zu Lichfield, dann zu Derby nieder. Er starb 1802. Sein didactisch descriptives Gedicht The Botanic Garden erschien während der Jahre 1781 bis 1792; ein anderes ähnliches Werk von ihm, The Temple of Nature kam erst nach seinem Tode heraus, steht jedoch Jenem sehr nach.

Darwin's Poesieen sind fast allein das Werk des kalten Verstandes; in einem männlichen Style geschrieben, voll Klarheit und Scharfsinn, entbehren sie durchaus der Begeisterung und lassen daher den Leser kalt, wenn sie auch seinen Geist interessiren.

“exhaust your

Eli z a's Death;

Oh, spare, ye war-hounds, spare their tender a Passage from Darwin's Botanic

On ine, on me,” she cried ,

rage !" So stood Eliza on the wood-crown'd height, Then with weak arms her weeping babes caO'er Minden's plain, spectatress of the fight,

ress'd, Sought with bold eye amid the bloody strife And, sighing, hid them in her blood-stain'd vest. Her dearer self, the partner of her lite;

From tent to tent the impatient warrior flies, From bill to hill the rushing host pursued Fear in his heart, and frenzy in his eyes; And view'd his banner, or believ'd she view'd. Eliza's name along the camp he calls, Pleas'd with the distant roar, with quicker tread Eliza echoes through the canvass walls; Fast by his hand one lisping boy she led; Quick through the murmuring gloom his footAnd one fair girl amid the loud alarm

steps tread, Slept on her kerchief, cradled by her arm; O'er groaning heaps, the dying and the dead, Wbile round her brows bright beains of honour Vault o'er the plain, and in the tangled wood,


Lo! dead Eliza weltering in her blood! And love's warm eddies circle round her heart. Soon hears his listening son the welcome Near and more near the intrepid beauty

sounds, press'd,

With open arms and sparkling eyes he bounds: — Saw through the driving smoke his dancing crest; "Speak low," he cries, and gives his little hand, Saw on his helm, her virgin-hands inwove, “Eliza sleeps upon the dew-cold sand; Bright stars of gold, and mystic knots of love; Poor weeping babe, with bloody fingers press'd, Heard the exulting shout, “They run! they run!” And tried with pouting lips her milkless breast; "Great God!” she cried, He's safe! the battle's Alas! we both with cold and hunger quake


Why do you weep? - Mamma will soon awake." A ball now hisses through the airy tides, “She'll wake no more!" the hopeless mourner (Some Fury wing'd it, and some demon guides !)

cried, Parts the fine locks, her graceful head that deck, Upturn'd his eyes, and clasp'd his hands, and Wounds her fair ear, and sinks into her neck;

sigh'd: The red stream, issuing from her azure veins, Stretch'd on the ground awhile entranc'd he lay, Dyes her white veil, her ivory bosom stains. And press'd warm kisses on the lifeless clay; "Ah me!" she cried, and sinking on the And then upsprung with wild convulsive start,


And all the father kindled in his heart; Kiss'd her dear babes, regardless of the wound; “Oh, Heavens!” he cried, “my first rash vow "Oh, cease not yet to beat, thou vital urn!

forgive; Wait, gushing life, oh, wait my love's return! These bind to earth, for these I pray to live!”. Hoarse barks the wolf, the vulture screams from Round his chill babes he wrapp'd his crimson far!

vest, The angel, Pity, shuns the walks of war! And clasp'd them sobbing to his aching breast.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Robert Lloyd, Sohn eines Lehrers an der Schule zu Westminster, ward daselbst 1733 geboren, studirte in Cambridge und ward dann Gehülfe seines Vaters. Dieser Beruf sagte ihm aber wenig zu, er ging nach London, wo er sich seinen Unterhalt durch seine Feder erwarb, das Journal The St. James Magazine redigirte und am 15. December 1765 nach einem ausschweifenden Leben, elend und bereuend im Schuldgefängniss starb.

Seine Werke erschienen gesammelt, London 1774, 2 Bde in 8., sie finden sich auch im 10. Bde der Anderson'schen Sammlung und enthalten mehrere dramatische Gedichte, ein satyrisches Poem, the Actor (seine beste Leistung), vermischte Poesieen u. 8. w. Da sie viele Anspielungen auf Personen und Verhältnisse ihrer Zeit enthalten, so bieten sie jetzt weit weniger Interesse dar, doch zeichnen sie sich durch eine frische Heiterkeit und grosse Gewandtheit in der Darstellung vortheilhaft aus.

From Lloyd's: The Cit's Country Box.

The wealthy cit, grown old in trade,
Now wishes for the rural shade,
And buckles to his one-horse chair,
Old Dobbin, or the founder'd mare;
While wedg'd in closely by his side,
Sits madam, his unwieldy bride,
With Jackey on a stool before 'em,
And out they jog in due decorum.
Scarce past the turnpike half a mile,
How all the country seems to smile!
And as they slowly jog together
The cit commends the road and weather;
While madam doats upon the trees,
And longs for every house she sees,
Admires its views, its situation
And thus she opens her oration:

“What signify the loads of wealth,
Without that richest jewel, health ?
Excuse the fondness of a wife,
Who doats upon your precious life!
Such ceaseless toil, such constant care,
Is more than human strength can bear.
One may observe it in your face
Indeed, my dear, you

break apace;
And nothing can your health repair
But exercise and country air.
Sir Traffic has a house, you know,
About a mile from Chency-row;
He's a good man, indeed 't is true,
But not so warm, my dear, as you;

And folks are always apt to sneer
One would not be out-done, my dear!"

Sir Traffic's name so well applied
Awak'd his brother merchant's pride;
And Thrifty, who had all his life
Paid utmost deference to his wife,
Confess'd her arguments had reason,
And, by th' approaching summer season,
Draws a few hundreds from the stocks,
And purchases his country box.

Some three or four miles out of town, (An hour's ride will bring you down,) He fixes on his choice abode, Not half a furlong from the road: And so convenient does it lay, The stages pass it ev'ry day: And then so snug, so mighty pretty, To have a house so near the city! Take but your places at the Boar, You're set down at the very door.

Well then, suppose them fix'd at last, White-washing, painting, scrubbing past, Hugging themselves in ease and clover, With all the fuss of moving over; Lo, a new heap of whims are bred! And wanton in my lady's head. Well to be sure, it must be own'd, It is a charming spot of ground; So sweet a distance for a ride, And all about so countrified! 'T would come but to a trifling price To make it quite a paradise.

« ZurückWeiter »