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On whose gay banks the virgin flowers
Blush'd in the morning's rosy beam;
Or danced upon the breeze that bare
Its store of rich perfume along,
While the wood-robin pour'd on air
The ravishing delights of song.
The sun look'd from his lofty cloud,
While flow'd its sparkling waters fair-
And went upon his path-way proud,
And threw a brighter lustre there ;
And smiled upon the golden heaven,
And on the earth's sweet loveliness,
Where light, and joy, and song were given,
The glad and fairy scene to bless!
Ah! these were bright and joyous hours,
When youth awoke from boyhood's dream,
To see life's Eden dress'd in flowers,
While young hope bask'd in morning's beam!
And proffer'd thanks to heaven above,
While glow'd his fond and grateful breast,
Who spread for him that scene of love
And made him so supremely blest !
That scene of love !—where hath it gone ?
Where have its charms and beauty sped ?
My hours of youth, that o'er me shone-
Where have their light and splendor fled ?
Into the silent lapse of years—
And I am left on earth to mourn :
And I am left! to drop my tears
O’er memory's lone and icy urn!
Yet why pour forth the voice of wail
O’er feeling's blighted coronal ?
Ere many gorgeous suns shall fail,
I shall be gather'd in my pall ;
Oh, my dark hours on earth are few-
My hopes are crush'd, my heart is riven ;--
And I shall soon bid life adieu,
To seek enduring joys in heaven!
Mrs Brooks is a native of Medford, Massachusetts, and & descendant of an ancient Welch family, of the name of Gowen, not unknown in the history of Wales. She now resides in the Island of Cuba, and is engaged in the continuation of a poetical work, the first canto of which was published in Boston, in 1825.
Her education was zealously prosecuted, without great advantages, at an early period of life. Ambitious of excellence in all the accomplishments desired by females of aspiring minds, she has obtained, by self-instruction, a very good acquaintance with ancient literature, and a perfect knowledge of the refined modern languages, together with exquisite skill in music and painting. Constant and severe discipline has given her a power and versatility of thought, which promises for her future life a harvest of renown. She paid frequent visits to the Castalian fount, in early youth, and the inspiration gained there, if at first uncertain and feeble, has been steadily increasing, till it has risen to a vigor, that surprises us in one of “the most delicate of women."
“ Judith and Esther," with a collection of fugitive pieces, consisting of her childish productions, was her first publication. It contains, of course, much imperfection; many things, that mature minds cannot dwell upon with increasing satisfaction ; but it also evinces a delicate and lively fancy, a dawn of that intellectual brightness, which has been realized in the subsequent publication of the first canto of Zophiel, and which she is now engaged in completing. In this poem, a new style and a fresh power, is manifested. The study of many languages, a residence where the Spanish is almost exclusively spoken, a fervent contemplation of the old masters of the English lyre, and a struggle to shake off the feebleness, attached, by common consent, and confirmed by submissive habit, to the minds of women, all conspired to give an unusual energy to the efforts of her muse.
Zophiel is the production of a vigorous imagination, and a warm fancy, in the stately manner of the old English verse. It is often harsh, and frequently obscure, on account of the numerous elisions and inversions but is also replete with rich and just thought, that well repays the study necessary for its comprehension. From the extreme softness which characterized her early fugitive pieces, Mrs Brooks suddenly, and unfortunately for her popularity, seems to have run into a style in the opposite extreme; but when more experience has corrected her judgment, it is not extravagant to expect from her pen, poetry of the highest and purest kind.
The subject of Zophiel was unfortunately chosen, for while it was in progress in the Island of Cuba, Moore and Byron preoccupied the field, by the story of the Loves of the Angels; a more difficult and dangerous task is therefore, imposed upon the fair author, in attempting to complete the work in competition with these master spirits.
After an examination of the first canto, and learning that it did not succeed in this, the native country of the writer, Mr Southey wrote her a letter requesting that the subsequent cantos might be published in England and offering to superintend their introduction to the public. We hope she will not be obliged to accept this foreign hospitality through the indifference or neglect of her countrymen.
SEPHORA held her to her heart, the while
Grief had its way-then saw her gently laid,
And bade her, kissing her blue eyes, beguile,
Slumbering, the fervid noon. Her leafy bed
Sigh'd forth o'erpowering breath, increased the heat ;
Sleepless had been the night; her weary sense
Could now no more.
Lone in the still retreat,
Wounding the flowers to sweetness more intense,
She sank. 'Tis thus, kind Nature lets our wo
Swell till it bursts forth from the o'erfraught breast;
Then draws an opiate from the bitter flow,
And lays her sorrowing child soft in the lap of rest.
Now all the mortal maid lies indolent,
Save one sweet cheek which the cool velvet turf
Had touch'd too rude, though all with blooms besprent,
One soft arm pillow'd. Whiter than the surf
That foams against the sea-rock, look'd her neck,
By the dark, glossy, odorous shrubs relieved,
That close inclining o'er her seem'd to reck
What 'twas they canopied; and quickly heaved
Beneath her robe's white folds and azure zone,
Her heart yet incomposed; a fillet through
Peep'd brightly azure, while with tender moan
As if of bliss, Zephyr her ringlets blew
Sportive ;-about her neck their gold he twined,
Kiss'd the soft violet on her temples warm,
And eyebrow-just so dark might well define
Its flexile arch ;-throne of expression's charm.
As the vex'd Caspian, though its rage
And the blue smiling heavens swell o'er in peace,
Shook to the centre, by the recent blast,
Heaves on tumultuous still, and hath not power to cease-
So still each little pulse was seen to throb
Though passion and its pains were lull’d to rest,
And ever and anon" a piteous sob
Shook the pure arch expansive o'er her breast.
Save that 't was all tranquillity ; that reign'd
O'er fragrance, sound and beauty; all was mute-
Save where a dove her dear one's absence plain'd
And the faint breeze mourn'd o'er the slurnberer's lute.
It chanced, that day, lured by the verdure, came
Zophiel, now minister of ill; but ere
He sinn'd, a heavenly angel. The faint flame
Of dying embers, on an altar, where
Raguel, fair Egla's sire, in secret vow'd
And sacrificed to the sole living God,
Where friendless shades the sacred rites enshroud ;-
The fiend beheld and knew ; his soul was aw
And he bethought him of the forfeit joys
Once his in heaven;-deep in a darkling grot
He sat him down ;-the melancholy noise
Of leaf and creeping vine accordant with his thought.
When fiercer spirits howl'd, he but complain'd
Ere yet ’t was his to roam the pleasant earth,
His heaven-invented harp he still retain'd
Though tuned to bliss no more ; and had its birth
Of him, beneath some black infernal clift
The first drear song of wo; and torment wrung
The spirit less severe where he might lift
His plaining voice and frame the like as now he sung:
“ Wo to thee, wild ambition, I employ
Despair's dull notes thy dread effects to tell,
Born in high heaven, her peace thou couldst destroy,
And, but for thee, there had not been a hell.
“ Through the celestial domes thy clarion peal'd,--
Angels, entranced, beneath thy banners ranged,
And straight were fiends ;-hurld from the shrinking field,
They waked in agony to wail the change.
“ Darting through all her veins the subtile fire
The world's fair mistress first inhaled thy breath,
To lot of higher beings learn’d to aspire,-
Dared to attempt and doom'd the world to death.
“Thy thousand wild desires, that still torment
The fiercely struggling soul, where peace once dwelt,
But perish'd ;-feverish hope-drear discontent,
Impoisoning all possest—Oh! I have felt
“As spirits feel-yet not for man we mourn
Scarce o'er the silly bird in state were he,
That builds his nest, loves, sings the morn's return,
And slee, s at evening ; save by aid of thee,
“Fame ne'er had roused, nor song her records kept
The gem, the ore, the marble breathing life,