John Hodgson's Poetry
Not thirty suns have yet, in annual round,
Gone to yon starry pastures where the goat
Eternal habitation holds, and muffling up
The face of morning with a lowering veil,
Down from the gushing cat'racts of the sky
Pours his dark torrent, since no hedge or tree,
Nothing but heath, agrostis *, hardy plant,
And rush, delighting in the foulest swamps,
Covered the spot, which now employs my song.
It was a dreary scene, where oft at night
Th' unsteady glare, that mocks the traveller's eye,
Shot gleaming round. Here sailed the hawk, and here
Screamed the shrill glead, and plied her stormy song
The curlew. Tenant of the poorest soils,
The tedious lapwing, too, her tumbling flights
Performed ; and basking on the sunny banks,
The beauteous adder coiled his shining length.
Browsing on sapless heath, a shepherd's care,
By day a scanty maintenance procured ;
And, as approaching twilight threw its shades
Of dimness o'er the world, in regular march,
Sought out the sheltering corner of some hill,
And, grouped together, lay in harmless sleep.
Here too, in Leo's sultry reign, and while
The hot and ruddy virgin ruled the year,
The toiling sportsman ranged. But now, no more
The curlew or the lapwing's voice is heard ;
No bleating of a hungry flock at eve ;
No roar of guns t'affright the jocund lark,
Or stop the blackbird's song : the fearful grouse
Have fled to hills, defying culture's art,
And rudely pushed into inclement skies.'
This description is succeeded by a very animated comparison :
And rushing now on fancy's airy mind,
Methinks I see fair Culture leading forth
The sons of Labour to these barren lands.
As on they move, Sterility alarmed, .
In yelling terror, quits her heathy throne.
* Bent grass
A Prayer. Eternal Source of never-ending love, From whom all goodness, all perfection flows ! Let no fond passion in my bosom move, But such. Frail, as the earliest flower of early spring, And more unstable than the passing gale, Thy succours I implore, Eternal King, To guide my footsteps through life's dreary vale. Tear from my heart the latent seeds of pride. And prune the wild luxuriance of desire ; For each day's want a competence provide. Then let me, when Thou wilt, in peace expire.
This is Woodlands
Now Flora, loveliest of the train of spring. Her temples wreath'd with many a blushing flower, And loose robe floating on the sunny light, Calls out her children from the sleep of death. The humble speedwells, with cerulean eye^ And deep-ting'd Violet, with fragrant breath. Adorn the shade : scatter'd o'er every mead. The golden spangles of the pile-wort glow; And through the leafless woods the anemone And fur oxalis, like yon world of stars That crowd the galaxy, serenely smile. Meek offspring of the earth, your fragrance breathe 0'er hill and dale I In all your mingled hues, Burst from your seeds and little folded buds ! O'er you, as well as man, the Almighty*B eye Watches for ever; and the lily^ bell Is still as white, as beautiful, as sweet As in the morning when the obedient earth Heard the Creator's mandate, and ye sprang, Seed-yielding herbs, tall trees, and grassy blades, AU-jocund into life. How many hours Of sweet society I found with you. When grief and sickness every evening drew The wings of misery above my head ! And (hardiness may laugh) but I have thought 'Twas cruelty to pluck you in the bloom Of life, and implicate your bleeding stems. E'en though to nu^e a garland for the brow Of her I most admire. With you I claim A mortal kindred ; for, like me, to death Obnoxious are you all. But then, alas 1 My death is passage to an awful state. In which no change of circumstance can be. A grain of wheat, committed to the earth. Produces wheat, consimilar to itself, And souls their moral likeness still shall keep — Be rude and restless in the world to come, Or, blessing others, happy in themselves. — ^p. 14, &c. Spread like a mantle o*er yon sloping hills, The forest now appears. It feels the yemal lymph LAKCHE8T£B — ^POEMS. 37 Afloending its innnmeimble Teiiii, And, pletaed, iti dappled liTeiy retmmnm. For commerce or for war, in ftiture daji, Of dow maturity, the ai4pling oak Unfblds hia princely honours; and the lime Weds his young hranohes to the shady beech. Clustering and dark, the Caledonian fir Puts on a brighter hue. The lofty spruce, That on Norwegian hills by twilight seems A sable pyramid of dissy height. Extends the branches of his gradual wheels. And throws his length'ning spears into the sky. The larch, fiur native of the towering heights Whence storm-fed Po, impatient down the brows Of Yiso, comes to kiss the blooming flowers Of Parma^ pastures, like some beauteous maid At Hymen's altar, bends with graceful boughs. Its robe is bridal, set with dangling flowers, Of which the yellow male affords a dust. That by the Zephyr^s ministerial hands Borne to the purple bride, with joy, insures Fecundity. And, trembling like a hart Entangled in a hunter's toil, the poplar shakes His hoary tresses o*er the murmuring brook : Dark alders too, the many-leayed ash. The supple osier, and the slender birch Put on the vesture of the youthful year.*' — ^p. 24, &c. Tell me, ye dead ! is not your ceaseless work To adore and imitate the God who made Your glorious habitations, and to search With unabated zeal into the plans Of Wisdom, infinite ? O happy life. And happy spirits, whom no ills molest ! A few short years, and we shall all enjoy This high, this fuH beatitude with you." Brothers — is this no phrenzy of the soul ? Oh, yes ! dear sister, I shall meet with thee ; The anguish that my mother felt, and all My father *s tears, that wet thy early grave, Shall then be quite forgotten in our joy. Methinks I see thee in yon distant star Astronomers the fair Arista call, ! With all our humble kindred, bending down I To sing high anthems to the King of Kings, And, whUe imagination fills my ear With angels' harmony, my eyes weep joy. O ! may this dear delotioo ofk My soul, — ^this little yittonuygleun return To diflupftte the eloudi of hnman UU, And gild my proepeet into fatare bliM. — ^p. 86, &e. Within the shadow of a sonthem hedge. The mower hangs his scythe upon a bough Of feathery larch. Exact, as is the sun To climb the dizzy summit of his course, His little daughter brings a clean repast. Prepared by her who shares his toil and bliss. The prating beauty on his shonlden hangs ; Dangles the flexures of its father's hair, And wakes a trembling pleasure in his veins. Here is a lesson for the idle crowd. Whose limbs are lax and weary with the toil Of most laborious driyelling. Round his head He twines his tawny arms, and lays him down. Possessed of all the luxury of rest. Light is his heart, not many are his cares; His mind upon a level with his state ; And if he never felt the throb of him Who wanders in the flowery paths of thought With science and with poesy, he feels No hooks of envy thrown into his soul ; No shock electric, from the hand of pride, To paralyze the body of research. — p. 38, &c.
To the Author's Mother on his Birthday
Full six and twenty winters now have swoln