1826
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Future.

Oriental Herald and Journal of General Literature 10 (July 1826) 26.

James Silk Buckingham


Five faintly Byronic Spenserians, signed "Bion." The poem consists of night-thoughts on the fallibility of hope: "Yet will imagination cheat our cares, | And gild the dawning scene with richest dies, | So that the toiling wretch, as on he fares, | Sees, ever, lovely lands before him rise." The final stanza alludes to the parable of the reapers.

Sumner Lincoln Fairfield: "though not professedly devoted to literary topics, the Oriental Herald is one of the ablest and most interesting publications in England. The editor, himself an able writer, and an excellent man, enjoys the aid of many of the first political, literary, and scientific authors, who expose the abuses of the Indian government, the puffing of witless empires and the pretensions of ignorance, with deserved severity. I cannot doubt that Mr. Buckingham will effect a salutary reformation of that tyranny and oppression, which now devastate India, and stain the character of Englishmen with infamy; at all events, the ardent hopes of a sincere well-wisher to mankind attend all his benevolent exertions" "Four Months in Europe" New-York Literary Gazette 3 (21 October 1826) 73.



'Tis sweet to steal abroad at grey of eve,
When stars come thronging on the gazing eye,
As Day's pale wheels' fast-fading traces leave
To Hesper's train the champaign of the sky;
And, seated by some streamlet rippling by,
Babbling, like Jove's old oracle, its note,
To stray with Fancy where Futurity
Marshals her visions, bright as clouds that float
Burning o'er vernal skies, on which fond poets doat.

For then, unshackled by all meaner fears,
The thoughts that people thick our inmost soul,
Go crowding forth, and wander to the spheres,
Or seek the icy brightness of the pole;
Or touch on earth some more enchanting goal,
The arms of beauty, or the trump of fame;
Or those delights which prouder minds control—
The sweets of power, that oft, we find, inflame
Souls dead to weaker joys, and reckless of a name.

The Future is the poor man's heritage:
Who builds his cot amidst its sunny bowers,
And hopes to shun the pinching cares of age,
Close sheltered from the winds and beating showers,
Forgets the present want that fierce devours
His strength to bear, and aptitude to bliss,
And feasts on bounties of the unborn hours,
Heedless that those to come must spring from this
In which he circled is by fortunes all amiss.

Yet will imagination cheat our cares,
And gild the dawning scene with richest dies,
So that the toiling wretch, as on he fares,
Sees, ever, lovely lands before him rise;
And still o'erwhelmed in present agonies,
Looks onward for some turning in the way,
In which the vision that before him flies
May overtaken be, or choose to stay,
And glad his weary soul, and turn his night to day!

And I, I also gaze towards the goal
Which Fancy bids me hope may yet be won,
Though the tenth hour has on my musing stole,
As on him parabled by Judah's son,
Who, though hard labour's heavy sands had run
Nearly through all the day, was yet allowed
To overtake by diligence the sun,
And mingle with the earlier toiling crowd,
Though they, like envious churls, bawled out their clamours loud.

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