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The Poem of Haller Versified


THE Lover of Polite Literature will be much gratified by the following elegant Versification of the Poem of Haller, which we have attempted in Prose. This little production, to use one of the Laureat’s own classical allusions, will be but interweaving a transient blossom in the laurels of its amiable Author.

    AH! Woods for ever dear! Whose branches spread
Their verdant arch o’er HASEL’S breezy head
When shall I once again, supinely laid,
Hear Philomela charm your list’ning shade?
When shall I stretch my careless limbs again,
Where, gently rising from the velvet plain,
O’er the green hills, in easy curve that bend,
The mossy carpet Nature’s hands extend?
Where all is silent! Save the gales that move
The leafy umbrage of the whisp’ring grove;
Or the soft murmurs of the rivulet’s wave,
Whose chearing streams the lonely meadows lave.
    O Heav’n! when shall once more these eyes be cast
On scenes where all my spring of life was pass’d;
Where, oft responsive to the falling rill,
Sylvia and Love my artless lays would fill?
While Zephyr’s fragrant breeze, soft breathing, stole
A pleasing sadness o’er my pensive soul:
Care, and her ghastly train, were far away;
While calm, beneath the sheltering woods, I lay
Mid shades, impervious to the beams of day.
    Here—sad reverse!—from scenes of pleasure far,
I wage with Sorrow unremitting war:
Oppress’d with grief, my ling’ring moments flow,
Nor aught of joy, or aught of quiet, know.
Far from the scenes that give my being birth,
From parents far, an outcast of the earth!
In youth’s warm hours, from each restriction free,
Left to myself in dangerous liberty.
    Now pale Disease shoots thro’ my languid frame,
And checks the zeal for wisdom and for fame.
Now droops fond Hope, by Disappointment cross’d;
Chill’d by neglect, each sanguine wish is lost.
O’er the weak mound stern Ocean’s billows ride,
And waft destruction in with every tide;
While Mars, descending from his crimson car,
Fans with fierce hands the kindling flames of war.
    Her gentle aid let Consolation lend;
All human evils hasten to their end.
The storm abates at every gust it blows:
Past ills enhance the comforts of repose.
He who ne’er felt the pressure of distress,
Ne’er felt returning pleasure’s keen excess.
Time, who Affliction bore on rapid wing,
My panting heart to happiness may bring:
I, on my native hills, may yet inhale
The purer influence of the ambient gale
    Ah! scenes of early joy! ah, much-lov’d shades!
Soon may my footsteps tread your vernal glades.
Ah! Should kind Heav’n permit me to explore
Your seats of still tranquillity once more!
E’en now, to Fancy’s visionary eye,
Hope shews the flattering hour of transport nigh.
Blue shines the æther, when the storm is past;
And calm Repose succeeds to Sorrow’s blast.
Flourish, ye scenes of ever new delight!
Wave wide your branches to my raptur’d sight!
While, ne’er to roam again, my wearied feet
Seek the kind refuge of your calm retreat.

Editor’s Notes

For a note about Henry James Pye, see the article on ‘Poets Laureat.’