Tag Archives: alternate rhyme

James Beattie, “The Hermit”

JAMES BEATTIE

“The HERMIT”

At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove,
When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill,
And nought but the nightingale’s song in the grove:
’Twas then, by the cave of the mountain afar,                                               5
A Hermit his song of the night thus began;
No more with himself or with nature at war,
He thought as a Sage, while he felt as a Man.

“Ah, why thus abandon’d to darkness and woe,
Why thus, lonely Philomel, flows thy sad strain?                                            10
For Spring shall return, and a lover bestow,
And thy bosom no trace of misfortune retain.
Yet, if pity inspire thee, ah cease not thy lay!
Mourn, sweetest Complainer, Man calls thee to mourn:
O soothe him, whose pleasures like thine pass away—                               15
Full quickly they pass,—but they never return.

Now gliding remote, on the verge of the sky,
The Moon half extinguish’d her crescent displays:
But lately I mark’d, when majestie on high
She shone, and the planets were lost in her blaze.                                        20
Roll on, thou fair orb, and with gladness pursue
The path that conducts thee to splendour again.—
But Man’s faded glory no change shall renew.
Ah fool! to exult in a glory so vain!

‘Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more;                                              25
I mourn, but, ye woodlands, I mourn not for you;
For morn is approaching, your charms to restore,
Perfumed with fresh fragrance, and glittering with dew.
Nor yet for the ravage of winter I mourn;
Kind Nature the embryo blossom will save.—                                                 30
But when shall Spring visit the mouldering urn!
O when shall it dawn on the night of the grave!”

“‘Twas thus, by the glare of false Science betray’d,
That leads, to bewilder; and dazzles, to blind,
My thoughts wont to roam, from shade onward to shade,                           35
Destruction before me, and sorrow behind.’
“O pity, great Father of light,” then I cry’d,
“Thy creature who fain would not wander from Thee!
Lo, humbled in dust, I relinquish my pride:
From doubt and from darkness thou only canst free.”                                   40

‘And darkness and doubt are now flying away.
No longer I roam in conjecture forlorn.
So breaks on the traveller, faint, and astray,
The bright and the balmy effulgence of morn.
See Truth, Love and Mercy, in triumph descending,                                         45
And Nature all glowing in Eden’s first bloom!
On the cold cheek of Death smiles and roses are blending,
And Beauty Immortal awakes from the tomb.’

NOTES:

Title Hermit “A solitary; an anchoret; one who retires from society to contemplation and devotion” (Johnson).

8 Sage “A philosopher; a man of gravity and wisdom” (Johnson).

10 Philomel Also known as Philomela. Sister of Procne. She was raped by Procne’s husband Tereus. In his attempt to silence her Tereus cut out her tongue. She weaved the crime into a tapestry and sent it to her sister Procne who, as an act of revenge, killed her own son Itys and fed his remains to Tereus. Furious, Tereus chased the two women, but were turned into birds with Philomel becoming a nightingale (OCD).

31 mouldering “To decay; to rust; to crumble” (OED); urn “Earthenware or metal vessel used to preserve the ashes of the dead” (OED).

33 Science “Knowledge” (Johnson)

37 Father of light Referring to God “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (ESV Bible, James 1.17)

38 fain “Gladly, willingly, with pleasure” (OED).

42 conjecture “Guess; imperfect knowledge; preponderation of opinion without proof” (Johnson); forlorn “Deserted; destitute; forsaken; wretched; helpless; solitary” (Johnson).

44 effulgence “Lustre; brightness; clarity; splendor” (Johnson).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions, 4th edition (London, 1780), pp. 77-78. [Google Books]

Edited by Noruel Manalili

Maria Logan, “To Opium”

MARIA LOGAN

“TO OPIUM”

 

Let others boast the golden spoil
Which Indian climes afford;
And still, with unavailing toil,
Increase the shining hoard:—-

Still let Golconda’s dazzling pride                                          5
On Beauty’s forehead glow,
And round the fair, on ev’ry side,
Sabean odours flow: —-

Be mine the balm, whose sov’reign pow’r
Can still the throb of Pain;                                                      10
The produce of the scentless flow’r,
That strews Hindostan’s plain.

No gaudy hue its form displays,
To catch the roving eye;
And Ignorance, with vacant gaze,                                          15
May pass regardless by.

But shall the Muse with cold disdain,
Its simple charms behold!
Shall she devote the tuneful strain
To incense, gems, or gold!                                                      20

When latent ills the frame pervade,
And mock the healing art;
Thy friendly balm shall lend its aid,
And transient ease impart;

Shall charm the restless hours of day,                                  25
And cheer the midnight gloom;
Shall blunt each thorn, which strews the way
That leads us to the tomb.

And oft, when Reason vainly tries
To calm the troubled breast,                                                    30
Thy pow’r can seal our streaming eyes,
And bid our sorrows rest.

What tho’ this calm must quickly cease,
And Grief resume its pow’r,
The heart that long has sigh’d for ease,                                  35
Will prize the tranquil hour!

A short oblivion of its care
Relieves the weary’d mind,
Till suff’ring nature learns to bear
The weight by Heav’n assign’d.                                                  40

Reviv’d by thee, my drooping Muse
Now pours the grateful strain,
And Fancy’s hand sweet flow’rets strews
Around the bed of Pain.

 

At her command gay scenes arise                                             45
To charm my raptur’d sight,
While Memory’s faithful hand supplies
Past objects of delight.

Yet Memory’s soothing charms were vain,
Without thy friendly aid;                                                              50
And sportive Fancy’s smiling train,
Would fly Disease’s shade —-

Did not thy magic pow’r supply,
A mild, tho’ transient ray;
As meteors in a northern sky,                                                    55
Shed artificial day.

And shall my humble Muse alone
Thy peerless worth declare!
A Muse to all the world unknown,
Whose songs are lost in air.                                                      60

O! may the bard, whose tuneful strain
Resounds thro’ Derwent’s vale,
At whose command the hosts of Pain,
Disease and Sickness, fail—-

That Sage, to whom the God of Day                                        65
His various gifts imparts,
Whose healing pow’r, whose melting lay,
United, charm our hearts—-

May he devote one tuneful page,
To thee, neglected Flow’r!                                                          70
Then Fame shall bid each future age,
Admiring, own thy pow’r!

NOTES:

Title  Opium  The foremost medicinal painkiller until synthetics were isolated in the 19th century (Encyclopedia Britannica).

1  spoil  “Goods… seized by force” (OED).

2  Indian climes  The East India Company obtained much mineral wealth from India, which they controlled on Britain’s behalf when this poem was written in 1793 (Encyclopedia Britannica).

5  Golconda  A city in Southern India famous for diamonds (Encyclopedia Britannica).

8  Sabean odours  An echo of Milton’s Paradise Lost: “Sabéan odors from the spicy shore/ Of Araby the Blest” (Book IV, 162-163). Refers to ancient kingdom of Saba in the Arabian peninsula (Encyclopedia Britannica).

17  Muse  A Goddess related to poetry and the arts, and a word referring to a particular poet’s inspiration (OED).

21 pervade  “To spread throughout; to permeate” (OED).

51  Fancy  “Imagination” (OED).

52  shade  “A dark figure ‘cast’ upon a surface” (OED).

61  bard  An admiring reference to Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), poet and naturalist, whose popular poem The Botanic Garden: A Poem in Two Parts first appeared in 1789.  Part II was titled “The Loves of the Plants.” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

62  Derwent’s vale  Derwent is a river in northwest England; a number of valleys could be associated with it (Dictionary of British Place-Names, 152).

65  God of Day  The use of ‘His’ in the next line suggests this is an allusion to Apollo, the god of light and the sun, but also of poetry. (Encyclopedia Britannica).

72  “This was written just before the publication of “The Loves of the Plants;” a work which had been long impatiently expected by everyone who had been so fortunate as to see any specimen of the Author’s poetical abilities” [Author’s Note].

Source: Poems on Several Occasions… Second edition (York, 1793), pp. 17-21. [Google Books]

Edited by John Holden

 

Anonymous, “Kitty”

ANONYMOUS

  “Kitty”
To the tune of, What tho’ I am a country lass.

Of all the girls in our street,
There’s none like charming Kitty;
She is so lovely fair and sweet,
So exquisitely pretty.
That all the beaux, where’er she goes,                                   5
Portest they all adore her;
A girl so fair, so debonair,
Was never seen before her.
Whene’er she speaks, or smiles, or moves,
Or when she sweetly sings, sir,                                       10
Ten thousand little sportive loves
For pleasure Slap their wings, sir.
Then who can shun so sweet a snare,
Or chuse but to adore her?
A girl so fair, so debonair                                                         15
Was never seen before her.
The lilly whiteness of her hand,
The sparkling of her eye—Sir,
That face which none can look upon,
And Cupid’s power defy,—sir,                                            20
With all these charms and beauties blest,
In spite of all my art—sir,
Sh’ has pierc’d, alas! my lovesick breast,
And stole away my heart—sir,

The rest of this Song is lost.

NOTES:

 Title What tho’ I am a country lass An early seventeenth-century ballad, possibly written by Martin Parker, and collected in William Thomson’s Orpheus Caledonius (London, 1725), p. 85.

5 Beaux Fashionable men(OED).

7 Debonair “Of gentle disposition, mild, gracious, kindly” (OED).

4 Chuse Variant spelling of “choose” (OED).

20 Cupid’s “In Roman Mythology, the god of love” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (December 1740), p. 619.

Edited by Masaki Kaneko