« PreviousContinue »
Seemed like the crush of Heaven, pronounced the
doom. The sentence uttered, as with life instinct, The throne uprose majestically slow; Each angel spread his wings; in one dread swell Of triumph mingling as they mounted, trumpets, And harps, and golden lyres, and timbrels sweet, And many a strange and deep-toned instrument Of heavenly minstrelsy unknown on earth, And angel's voices, and the loud acclaim Of all the ransomed, like a thunder shout. Far through the skies melodious echoes rolled, And faint hosannahs distant climes returned.
The vision proceeds, after describing the heavens as unfolding to receive their new inhabitants, with a picture of the misery of the condemned, as, looking upwards, they catch a glimpse of Paradise.
Where streaks of splendor, golden gleamings shone,
Breaks instantaneous o'er the illumined world.
A deep-drawn agonizing groan escaped
Nature is then represented as giving notice through all her realms, of approaching dissolution; indications which are succeeded by others tenfold more appalling, as they are felt to be the precursors of the agents of everlasting punishment. With this passage, which I shall now transcribe, and which is wrought up with much energy and force, the subject and the poem conclude.
Round the abandoned of their God, says the bard,
Now shades began to gather, night approached,
The fragments of the earth again to chaos.
I have now put my readers in possession of ample opportunities for judging of the merits of Mr. Hillhouse's work. My quotations from it, indeed, have been the more numerous under the supposition that probably not many copies have reached this country; but it must be also added, that the beauty of the passages which I have brought forward has had a more than common influence in rendering my citations thus frequent.
That “ The judgment” of Mr. Hillhouse, is a poem, which, independent of the youth of its author, or any other circumstances of an extrinsic nature, reflects honour on himself and on his country; will not, I think, from the specimens before us, be denied. It is, in fact, not only a production exhibiting considerable strength of imagination, but it is likewise elaborated, as to its execution, with singular taste and felicity. The versification, for instance, which in blank verse, if more than mediocrity be attained in its construction, is always a task of difficult achievement, appears formed, in the Vision of Mr. Hillhouse, with but few exceptions, on the most correct principles of harmony and rhythmical variety; the pauses being, in general, so placed, as both to satisfy the ear, and correspond with the tone of the subject.
In another very important point of view, does the poem of Mr. Hillhouse appear with decided advantage; for it possesses, from the plan which
, he has adopted, a command over the heart and feelings, which is not to be found in the attempts of those who have preceded him on the same subject. In short, such is the approach to excellence, both in the conception and execution of this little poem, that I confess myself more than commonly gratified in the opportunity of doing what lies in my power towards making it further known on this side the Atlantic; especially, as the praise to which it is so justly entitled may, in all probability, lead its author to other and more extended efforts.