1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Campbell

Jeremiah Holmes Wiffen, "Lines written in a Blank Leaf of the Pleasures of Hope" New Monthly Magazine 11 (April 1819) 237-38.



Of power the fond and feeling breast to bless
With tenderest joy and sweetest pensiveness,—
In Love's warm soul to wake a deeper glow,
Or kindlier steal a flushing smile from Woe,—
Here Campbell lives; — his record of renown
No fleeting pomp, — a pageant, — or a crown!
With time's swift tide, they sparkle, and they pass;—
Ionic marble and Corinthian brass
Melt into dust; — towers, kingdoms, empires fall,
As circling ages into ages call;
But all unfelt the withering chill of time,
In the fresh flower of a perennial prime.
Here Campbell lives; — here hath his hand designed
The fervid transcript of his generous mind.
Like that mysterious crystal which inspires
Serener pureness from the wrath of fires;
The tender charm of his familiar page,
Which soothed with softest dreams our earliest age,
But breathes, — resigned to art's sever controul,—
Diviner transport, and a purer soul.
When his bold strings, with noblest frenzy fraught,
Unchecked by terror, reach the heaven of thought,
Seems not his minstrel-spirit to have won
The fiery car and mantle of the sun;
Wide o'er the burning galaxy to sweep,
Span earth's proud planet and divide the deep,
Its springs unlock, and wake with potent spell
The angel pity slumbering in her cell?—
Soft as her sigh, the swelling tones subside,
Mournful, and slow, yet warbling as they glide,
Sooth the still air, the arrested soul enchain,
Till bliss is moulded in the mint of pain!
O thou, whose path fair Fancy strews with flowers,—
One lovely tissue of romantic hours,—
Whose classic home indulgent Heaven has graced
With each blest handmaid in the court of taste;
Oft o'er the enchanting scenes thy art has planned,
Supremely lovely, or divinely grand,
Shall beauty linger — each rude care asleep—
Alone with thee to glow or wildly weep;
Till thou, enthron'd within her breast, shall be
The guardian priest of her futurity,
Responsive to her voice, bright dreams to weave
At opening sun-rise and at falling eve.
Feb. 12, 1819.