POEMS BY W.W. LORD. New-York: D. Appleton & Co. 200 Broadway. 1845.
These verses are marked by elevation of sentiment, but do not show the recreative powers of thought and delicacy of the poet. But if the modest and dignified stand assumed by him in “L’Envoi” be sincerely his, he will have no reason to be dissatisfied. The poems are calculated to interest strongly minds of a structure kindred with his own
Ah, once I little thought the rill of song
That gushed within my heart, wold other be
Than that deep stream that flowed unseen along
To far Sicilia, dark and silently.
An Arethusa of the heart, a stream
That only for a moment into sight,
In some still grot where Hamadryad’s dream
Should murmur up, then vanish into night.
But thou, while listening at its secret spring,
Did’st hear, or seem to hear, a sound divine;
Was it thine own heart’s river, murmuring
With full deep flow mistook by thee for mine?
Howe’er it be—I have assumed the part
Of one who in the heart of Nature lives,
And, in the tuneful oracles of Art,
Unto her secret thoughts their utterance gives.
And if my Muse for pinions have mistook
The up-buoyant sense and wild desire to fly,
Felt untutored spirits, as they look
On some strong bird that seems to cleave the sky—
And though like him to light’s eternal springs
It ne’er may rise—’twill joy that others may,
And hear the sound of hight-controlling wings,
With eye of worship upward turned for aye.
Or if, with callow wings, too soon it seek
The mount of song, and ill-assured in flight,
Be backward struck from its attempted peak
By jealous gods that dwell upon the hight;
So thou dost hope it shall not yet despair,
But nestling to thy heart, more joy receive
From thy indignant plaint and soothing care,
Than their neglect can wound, or scorn can grieve.
His success is least where a great subject has tempted, rather than a spontaneous movement of the mind urged him, to write. The best pieces are such as the following:
‘My eyes make pictures when they’re shut.’
——A little cottage stands
Half hid in climbing green;
Spreading along the jagged eaves
And o’er the rood ’t is seen.
Before it are a few meek flowers,
Yet garden there is none;
But grass with flowers—as Art at first
His toil had there begun;
Then shamed by Nature, fled, and left
These flowrets to her hand,
That hence to wild flowers changing seem,
Where ’mid the grass they stand.
A grandame at the open door
Sits knitting in the sun;
Who looks at her, need not be told
Of friends and kindred, young and old,
That vanished one by one.
Bloom to her cheek returns no more,
And soon her smiles depart:
But he that sees no beauty there—
He hath none in his heart.
A little child is sitting near,
A white lamb by the child—
And surely it must be sweet lore
Its eyes and lips are spelling o’er,
To read that grandame mild.
“I know an isle,” though badly written, marks a fine experience in the life of the writer.*
“Poems.” New-York Daily Tribune, 19 May 1845, p. 1.