Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter V / The Pilgrim of Love >> Page 68

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 68 SOUTHWARD HO t
to us. They are remarkable for their delicacy, their plaintiveness of tone, the nice taste by whieh his spirit was informed, and the grief of those yearnings, the denial of which was the true cause of his lethargy. The muse to which he now yielded himself was that of a latent affection. The wild spirit of war-fare had no voice for his soul. IIe sung�but why not suffer him to speak for himself, those tender sensibilities which he has put into verse, not wholly unworthy of his renown ? Our rude English version may show the character of his sentiment, if not the peculiar art and the ingenuity of his strain. He speaks in this sonnet of his despondency, and of that ideal which he despairs to find in life.
" From nature comes the lesson of true love �
She teaches me, through flowers and fruits, to grace My form in gay apparel, and to prove
For how much heart my own can furnish place. The nightingale his tender mate caresses,
Caressed in turn by mutual Iook and strain ;
Ah ! happy birds, whom genial love thus blesses,
Ye teach me what to seek, yet teach in vain. I languish still in silence�your delight
The shepherd with his pipe�the eager child,
That makes his labor speak in pleasures wild�All that I hear, and all that lives in sight
Still mock me with denial. In my woes
The whole world triumphs. Still the image glow's, More and more brightly on my yearning eye
A thousand passionate hopes deny repose, And warm me still with promises that fly !
Oh ! my soul's image, when shall these be o'er,
When shall I see thee near, and seek thee never more."

This is a sweet murmur, not overstrained, and happily ex-pressed. It should have silenced the reproaches which were at length showered upon his head. It shows him to have possessed a soul at once tender and passionate, if not susceptible ; and such now was the usual burden of his song. But it failed to convince his neighbors. Beauty, disappointed in all her endeavors, proclaimed him an insensible. We little know, at this day, how keen and terrible was such a reproach, at a period when love was the very soul of chivalry. Knighthood regarded him as a recreant to its order, which insisted upon a mistress as