The candidates for a place in our shelves are this
week neither numerous nor important : until the fate of the candidates of another description is pretty generally decided, we suppose the publishers will hold back the book-election.
There are three or four poetical attempts, which, we fear, must share the rejection of the Anti-Reformers. Mrs. PROWSE, in her " Poems," has some poetical feeling, and some skill in poetical phraseology. Were not the class of peetce minores absolutely full to overflowing, we should perhaps make way for her. To those who may still have room for small poets, we will show, by a sped- men, what they may expect from this lady's lyre. The description of the gamester's home is far from being either commonplace or poor.
" There is a gentle being sits alone" In yon low ; chamber on her wearied knees
A sleeping babe is lying ; o'er its cheek
The mother's tears have fallen—and see it stirs Its little limbs, and with a peevish cry Opens its full blue eyes, as if to chide The grief that breaks its slumber—then at once The desolate girl dries up her tears, and smiles Upon the moaning infant, and puts back The glossy ringlets from its smooth clear brow, And kisses the sweet baby 'till a smile
Disparts his coral lips :—that eye—that smile—
They are the same I once have look'd upon ; The same that grac'd the tender-hearted child Who mourn'd his dying bird :—these helpless ones They are his own, his wife, and his fair boy.- 'Tis past the hour of midnight—still she sits And hears the sullen watchman's heavy tread Ring slowly o'er the pavement ;—her fair child Math sunk again to slumber! his soft breath Moves lightly the neglected curls that hang Upon his mother's bosom—surely hers Should be a fate of blessedness, the wife Of one so tender—hut those lonely tears, Are these the signs of happiness ? that form Wasted with feverish watchings—this dull room With all the marks of abject penury, These do not speak of bliss.— A heavy step Moves slowly up the dark and narrow stair ; Can this be he, the vision of my youth, The beautiful—the tender ?—that sunk cheek Robb'd of its youthful freshness—those dull eyes Heavy with midnight riot—these the same I look'd upon whets innocence and health Shone like a glory round his infant brow ? Alas for human excellence that minds Gifted by heaven with all the golden stores Of genius, taste, and feeling, should so oft Be first to catch the world's polluted stain
Whose blackness rests upon the soul forever—
That ill-stared youth has fallen the gambler's prey, His guileless heart betrayed him to the wiles
Of cold and selfish men—he hath lost all—
All, save these helpless ones,—and they remain To share the burthen of his guilt and woe.— Few words are spoken by that wretched man, Wearied and spiritless, he throws his limbs Upon the wretched couch, and scarce replies To all her fond solicitude—she fears His health has vanish'd with his happiness, And tremblingly hangs o'er her guilty lord With all the kind affection woman feels, When the unworthy object of her love By suffering pays the penalty of crime. It is not in man's heart to see unmov'd Such uncomplaining grief—a bitter pang Shoots through the bosom of the libertine, As he beholds the innocent young form That blpoin'd so lately fresh in rosy health, Now wan with silent wretchedness—he draws The mild enduring being to his arms, And tears—repentant tears—o'erflow his eyes : They fall like dews from heaven—his many crimes
Aire all forgiven by that gentle one,— Spite of his faults he is her husband still—
The father of her child—upon her knees
She sinks before him, and in the great name
Of the eternal God, implores that he Will leave the evil men whose wiles have wrought Such change in his pure heart—her holy words, Her beautiful pale face turn'd up to heaven In prayer for his misdoings—his young boy Sleeping in lovely helplessness,—he feels That these are twining round his heart again In all their touching sacredness.—What spells Canst thou, 0 vice ! possess, to draw the heart
From these most pure affections ? Can it be
That he who looks upon that saint-like girl, Who feels that for his sake those eyes have lost
Their liquid lustre, that young cheek its bloom,—
Can he again return to the dark ways Of reckless dissipation ? In this hour, This dark still time of midnight, he abjures The errors of his life, and solemnly
Calls upon heaven to witness to his vows.—
Alas ! his penitence bath pass'd away Ere many suns have set—he will not bear The shame of poverty, and seeks again His former base companions,—practises The ails that once ensnar'd himself, to draw The young and the unwary into guilt : And his sweet wife—of her he hath no thought Except to feel her blameless life reproach The errors of his own most guilty soul. His young babe's fairy clasp—its half formed words, The tender name of " lather"—all those ties Which make man's happiness; and keep his heart
Pure by their purity—are nought to him—
He will not even teach his looks to wear The semblance of affection—cold and stein, Ile meets the fondness of his angel wife. She bath lost hope—her meek and patient eyes Have ceased their mild remonstrances—each day She is a little weaker—feebler grows The thin white hand, which cannot now support The steps of her dear infant—a bright flush Spreads sometimes o'er the whiteness of her cheek, Then dies away, like the last rosy gleam Of the descended sun on evening skies,— A sure and fearful omen that the night Is closing o'er its beauty—he notes not Her visible decay, but holds his course 'Wicked and reckless still—and when one morn, \Veared with fierce excess, he seeks his home, IIe comes, and finds the gentle creature dead."
This is a very creditable specimen of poetic description ; and exempts the authoress from a censure which many of her poems might call down upon her—of being a mere imitator of Bveox.