A Likeness in New Zealand Minstrelsy
Preface in New Zealand Minstrelsy
- most of the contents of
the present offering were written several years ago,
with no idea of ever seeing them published in this
country, but merely as a pleasing pastime picturing
out experiences and observations, for want of better
employment, when I used to sit in my lonely bush
cottage musing over the fire in the long winter evenings. As the composing of the several pieces then
gave me pleasure, I hope they will not fail to impart
some of the same enjoyments to those who may now
favour the work with their patronage and perusal; and
that the work itself might, as some have hoped, form
a pleasing gift of remembrance to a distant friend
that this little attempt in the matter of song may tend
not only to add to the literature of our Colony, thereby
extracting some of the sweets which lie hid among the
many asperities of colonial life; but also to endear our
adopted country the more to the bosom of the bonâ
fide settler; as such, in days of yore, has often induced a
people to take a firmer hold of their country, by not only
inspiring them with a spirit of patriotic magnanimity,
but also in making them the more connected as a people
in the eyes of others.
Prospectus in The New Zealand Survey
- Although having somewhat exceeded the original estimated dimensions of this volume, still the Minstrel’s Budget is not yet emptied. If all is well, by the next new year, may be expected another offering, containing, “A Descant on Thought,” a poem in two cantoes; also “The Great Problem of 1861,” a Dream in the Hutt stockade; “The Teapot and the Brandy Bottle,” an allegory; with other Poems and Lyrics of local interest.
And should circumstances allow, other works may follow of a different nature in prose and poetry; among which may appear “The Progress of Piety” a poem in fifteen cantoes,—several extracts of which were given in “The Christian Advocate,” a serial some time ago published in Wellington.
Preface in The New Zealand Survey
- Having often been asked at one time and another by several who have seen my former efforts at “New Zealand literature,” when do I intend to publish again? it is in answer to the oft repeated question I have thus stept forward at your service as an humble minstrel, willing to do my best to make the world the better or the wiser for my being in it.
- let me tender my thanks to my numerous subscribers—those on whom I have waited, for the cordial reception I have generally met with, and others who have sent from a distance to have their names appended to the list, for the encouragement I have received, enabling me thus far to proceed, hoping a mutual gratification may obtain with the patrons of the muse.
- while thus reclined enjoying the mountain view I involuntarily repeated some of the first lines of the poem as an ejaculation, as I contemplated the scene that lay before me; nor could I resist the force of a flood of ideas, so to speak, rushing upon me, compeling me to clothe them in words during my leisure hours, after the toils of the day, as I lay in an old native shed in a corner of the swamp, during the month of April, 1865.
- several of them were written previous to the one referred to above, and some of them after, merely to set my thoughts on the outside of my head, in order to keep peace within; and occupy an evening hour which might have been worse employed, had I not such an inclination or faculty for scribling;—may this meet the approval of friends.
Canto Fifth in The New Zealand Survey
- Though much of their traditions in their kind
/ May bear comparison to what of old
/ Would Ovid tell, (1)—how things in present form
/ Had their existence by transforming spells;
/ Yet the untutored natives, more debased,
/ Knew not how advantageously to turn
/ Such ev’n to good instruction, in the guise
/ Of fiction’s elegance, with morals chaste!
/ But such in uncouth state have been conceived
/ As ’mid pollution, so produced unclean,
/ And told, while such have passed as current coin
/ Through generations, much transformed and patched
/ With fresh additions of unseemliness
/ And horrid shapes; while, upon which the minds
/ Of infancy were fed, and puerile thoughts
/ Were cherished, till such in their nature’s wove!
/ Thus superstition’s canker on them grown
/ Has gnawed into their souls! Thus prestine truths
/ Are made extinct, while falsehood bears the sway;
/ Wild superstition as with reptile’s coil
/ Have in the bonds of mystery wound their tail!
Stanzas — To the Memory of Wm. Swainson, Esq., F.R.S. &c., — Departed hence, December 7, 1855 in The New Zealand Survey
- Here let me close this poor imperfect strain—
/ Poor, when compared with his attainments high;
/ Imperfect, when contrasted to that joy
/ His friendship gave;—though late I such did gain,
/ And shortlived, yet it was worthy:—social tie!
/ That grateful feelings ne’er can sleight, but steadfast such retain!
Canto Second in The New Zealand Survey
- Of Fame’s proud temple poets oft have sung
/ According as their minds have been impress’d
/ By fancy’s sunbeam tissues, which pourtray’d,
/ In all its loveliness, the holy Fane;
/ As if each would his part of prophecy
/ In hierogliphic lore pronounce, though that,
/ In its reality, he but conceived
/ A shrine of treasured virtues and good deeds.
/ So is not this Fame’s temple, where transformed
/ To something real, in sublimity,
/ Are various thoughts? as one a structure rears
/ Of gross materials, wherewithall to match
/ Some preconceived design; a building fair
/ Of mystic structure, active minds have plann’d
/ As emblematic of some charming scene,
/ Which gladly they’d enjoy; and where converse
/ With those of worth, whose kindred one would claim,
/ Or there admire their works!
Canto First in The New Zealand Survey
- While all those hills of sunlit varied shade
/ Of foliage in their groves of evergreen,
/ Although inviting to th’ admiring muse,
/ They yet appear as unapproachable
/ To interprizing man! Though he the vale
/ Must needs subdue:—
- If such an office, as interpreter
/ Of nature’s language, be on me imposed
/ By Him who made us, as He saw most fit,
/ According to His purpose,—be it mine
/ To give expression to an impulse felt,
/ As giv’n through what’s presented to the eye,
/ A pleasing spectacle!—meanwhile the Muse
/ Craves what assistance, He to grant may deign,
/ To aid our efforts in this humble lay.
- Nature’s interpreters, if Poets be,
/ While on their souls, as clearly photographed
/ Her features are,—a real image fair
/ Reflected, as if in a mirror’s sheen
/ Men see their likeness chastely shewn, and true,—
- Then oh! what words can lab’ring thoughts employ
/ T’express the feelings felt, or ev’n pourtray
/ Those scenes majestic passing in review
/ Before th’ imagination, as we aim
/ To trace their causes, from th’ effects produced?—
/ All stereotyped, and stamped indelibly
/ On Nature’s ample page! From such we dare
/ Bring forth to light, what long has lain concealed
/ In darkness—deeds now buried in the past,
/ As deep as those in far futurity,
/ The subject only of prophetic lore!—
/ But of the past, the Muse may dare unfold,
/ Such deeds, traced in the foot-prints of events,
/ Which have transpired, and long since passed away!
Canto First in The New Zealand Survey
- “A picture is a poem without words,”
/ I’ve heard it said, or somewhere have it read;
/ But here, I see it,—aye, and something more!
/ I see in this, th’ imaginary past
/ Of strange romantic story, as a dream
/ Brought to reality,
A Retrospective Reverie. — On receiving the “Hamilton Advertiser” a provincial newspaper, sent from “Home,” 1859 in The New Zealand Survey
- And here, their rising bards, I see,
/ Can find indeed a kind dictator!—
/ ’Tis quite a bond of brotherhood,
/ Where each t’advance the public good,
/ Appears as virtue’s stimulator!
Signs of the Times in 1853 in The New Zealand Survey
- But, to conclude this wild epistle,
/ And so lay past my weary whistle,
Canto Second in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- Still, what is Love? and what its principles
/ Of vital Truth?—Oh! for a living coal
/ From off the sacred altar, such that touch’d
/ The lips of rapt Isaiah, when he felt
/ His inability to grasp his theme:
/ So may some hand devine such task perform,
/ And touch my lips; yes touch my rising thoughts;
/ To purge off all impurity; so that
/ The Muse may be more capable, to treat
/ The various subjects, which themselves present
/ For due elucidation in this song.
A Lay on Wanganui in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- A noble river this to view,
/ Of gentle flow and spaciousness,
/ With Britain’s vying;—prompting true
/ This Lay, my feelings to express:—
- But from such footprints would we trace
/ The his’try of the past profound;
/ So, let the Muse, with humble grace,
/ The record, thus descried, expound:
- great convulsions would resume
/ Some ancient task, unfinish’d then;
/ T’ upheave those ridges ’bove the room
/ They held, ’mid many’ a briny fen!
/ Volcanoes bursting forth in rage
/ On yonder mountains, dreadly grand;
/ The sky bombarding, as, they’d wage
/ Aggressive war, while quaked the land.
/ Thus, from earth’s caverns deep were thown
/ Its molten bowels high in air,
/ As belch’d from cannon’s mouth anon,
/ Like rockets, neither small nor spare!
/ A startling sight to be beheld;
/ Aye, more than fancy well can shew,
- Such has a voice to Nature’s Muse,
/ They tell, with no unmeaning sound,
/ How dread convulsions would confuse
/ All former scenes; confirm’d around!
- Reverting yet to ages past,
/ When upland plains around were clad
/ With prestine forests, dense and vast;
/ All not in man’s remembrance had.
/ Of which, appearances around
/ Are silent; as the tales of yore
/ Held secret,—mystery profound,—
/ As none were privileged such t’ explore!
/ But plougmen now, those lands who, till,
/ Find oft their plough-shares stick upon
/ Some vestage tree-roots left, whieh still
/ Would testify of forests gone!
Canto Third in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- See, is not this a pattern of true love,
/ As seen on either side?—A picture true,
/ And worthy imitation through all time!
/ Another instance let the Muse pourtray.—
/ Who was so fair as Hariot:
- Now, to illustrate such a doctrine given.
/ Permit the Muse such instances to give
/ That best can stir th’ affections of the heart,—
/ The best affections bent on virtue’s course
/ Which best accord with Heaven’s eternal truth!
Cupid Sharpening His Arrows in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- “All are not alike with the men: I can shew it;
/ For instance, this blunt one’s enough for a Poet:
/ His heart is so tender,—so very impressible,
/ That he is, to True-love, at all times accessible:
/ While that of the counterfeit treating with scorn,
/ As he is, of Nature’s first noblemen, born!—
Canto Sixth in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- But, being thus aroused, life has been seen;
/ As such has waked the music of the heart,
/ In holy numbers, of seraphic strains,
/ Or other energies, which dormant lay
/ In idleness, have call’d been to good deeds,
/ In searching Nature’s treasures, to advance
/ The cause of science, and of Truth! Such things,
/ Which much affect love’s pride, have been the source,
/ In ancient times, whence revolutions sprung
/ To set in order wry affairs of state!
/ Love-crossings have made heroes on the field,
/ And on the main, ’mid battle’s direst work:
/ And such have work’d a change on simple man,
/ By rousing him to independent mind.
- Thus far my song; now here the Muse may stay.
/ With weak and faltring wing she has pursueb
/ Thə subject more than first had been devised;
/ Yet, what has been attempted merely shews
/ The earthly outskirts of the holy theme.
/ Though step by step beyond her first essay,
/ Induced to venture thus, as fain to soar
/ To heights which loom afar; however high
- Some lonely Poet, though he deeply feels
/ His nature fraught with Love’s most potent power,
/ Yet has not found a sympathizing heart,
/ In some one, who might comprehend his thoughts,
/ He awkwardly expresses; so must fail
/ T’ impress, as he himself feels love-imprest;
/ His seriousness befool’d, his heart much pain’d,
/ He seeks his comforts at the copious spring
/ Of thought, within his soul—a precions gift,
/ Of God, when rightly used;—and thus the Muse
/ Becomes his safety valve, to let off cares,
/ In plaintive song, or other nobler strains;
/ When otherwise, such cares his heart had rent
- Love in the heart, thus actuated, when
/ No other claim of nearer kin presides,
Canto Fourth in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- —May now the Muse illustrate truths advanced;
/ By instances, which may be understood:—
/ Thus, first of True-love’s triumphs may she sing!
- Permit the Muse another phase to shew
/ Of true love, and its workings in the heart;
/ As such has got its aspects, and its forms,
/ Becoming eyery caste of human life.
- *What need the Muse say further, than declare
/ “Here isTrue Lovetriumphant in its TRUTH!!”
- He, high-school bred, with expectations high,
/ Well qualified for business life,—possess’d
/ Of such abilities, which made him think
/ Himself, as worthy of the Muse’s care.—
/ As Burns the Poet, much he would admire,
/ So would he judge himself a Poet too:
/ And strive to imitate his strain, as that
/ Should prove him of his class,—“a worthy one,”—
/ As mocking birds would imitate all sounds,
/ Which meet their ear, though from the mark, awry
/ Of genuine worth, and sweetness of song!
Canto Fifth in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- As illustration best the creed expounds,
/ So, be it given from the page of life.
/ Then mark the lot of him in wedded state,
Preface in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- Love is not only the essence of all true poetry, but it is also the foundation of all sound morality,—it is the very spirit of moral philosophy! Now, say, is there no philosophy in Love?
- In order to prevent any misconception, which may arise, in regard to originality, in the first canto, I would remark, as the nature of the subject required a starting point,—where could it be found, but at the beginning of all things? Now, as this beginning has been treated on by Milton, some critic, who may have no farther knowledge of his works, than what they have seen, of extracts, in their school-books; and who may be ready to accuse me of plagiarism, and that without any examination, as if they believed that no one had a right to treat on the same text: yet, such an accusation I can repudiate, as I can do without any such aid. I only followed the natural course of the
- The title of the following Poem may, perhaps, be rather strange at first thought; and may prompt the enquiry,—“What sort of philosophy is there in Love?”—In reply, I would say, do think again: give it another thought: and then ask, Is there no Philosophy in Love? I hope a reference even to the analysis of the poem will go far to shew that there is; and more especially, I hope, in the poem, the Muse’s endeavours will prove that there is a great deal of philosophy, in Love; and as much in value, if not more so, than all the other philosophies existing!
- the rest of the Poem, after the first canto, is the result of a life-time’s observation, and, of course, a little experience.
- As the aim of philosophy is to aid in the attainment of happiness on earth, and, by an increase of knowledge, to lesson human misery; so if this humble song can, in any way, assist in solving some of the great problems of life, the Muse will be glad to think, she has not spun her task in vain: while the consciousness of having done his duty, as her amanuensis, to assist and advise the tempted and tried, by precept and illustration, will be the joy, and rejoicing of the—AUTHOR
Inspiration in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- His eye turn’d on the bubbling brook, which dimpling flow’d along
/ Between two flow’ry banks, he felt enamour’d with its song;
/ He heard its language, once unknown, in all its strains sublime;
/ And saw, in ceaseless rapid flow, the mighty course of Time!
/ Above the bridge, he saw pourtray’d time future coming on;
/ And there, beneath, at once discern’d time present,— past, anon.
/ Nay, whence the stream, and where it goes, as hid from straining eyes,
/ He there descried emphaticly, two vast Eternities.—
/ No better theme could him engage than the instructive brook;
/ Employment gladly got his pen, and soon he fill’d his book!
- Aside his head was turn’d, as if the sky aslant he’d view;
/ But ah! he had a vacant look, he seem’d to listen too.
/ Yet nought he saw, or heard, on which his pen he might employ,
/ Though Nature round had many charms, and all seem’d full of joy
/ “Come, heav’nly Inspiration, come! me aid,” at length he cried:
/ ‘Increase perception in my soul, and be my pen employed
/ I ready am t’ embrace what theme, on which thou may’st give light;
/ And well rewarded will I be, in having power to write.
To my Auld Trews in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- ’Tis true they dae leuk sairly clooted,
/ That noo! th’ original seems dooted,
/ As the auld colour’s got transmuted
/ To ora hues;
/ Eraewhilk a homily comes, weel suited
/ To my fond Muse!
/ At kirk an’ market, ance wi’ grace,
/ They could appear wi’ honour’d face;
/ But work-a-day life ’s noo! their case;
/ As former joys.
/ Noo stern realities displace
/ As vanities!
Canto First in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- Say, what is Love?—But first its source declare,
/ And shew its Truth.—Come, Inspiration come
/ And to the Muse unfold the holy theme:
/ As when a scroll of prophecy’s unwound,
/ Displaying future myst’ries; so propound
/ Love’s nature, and its powers; and so declare
- This theme is Love, and its Philosophy,
/ The wisdom of its nature we’ll discuss
/ In form of song. May Heaven assist this strain!
/ And may this song in sweetness well accord
/ With all the holiest feelings of the soul,
/ As they a kinship claim with heavenly loves;
/ Yea, such that best assimilate with Truth,
/ Whose garb is Righteousness, whose joy is Peace
- God’s works around were subjects to his muse,
/ Oft raising most delightful thoughts, which burst
/ In utter’d tones of love-expressive praise;
/ Yes, love expressive,—full of ecstacy,—
/ Prolonging oft the song of heart felt joy!
- The very counterpart of Love divine,
/ Impress’d upon his soul!—Thus, God alone
/ Clams th’ Authorship of man, distinguish’d by
/ “This mark” even as human authors own
/ Some trade mark theirs, as token of the right
/ They have in aught of worth call’d by their names;
Prospective in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- The next work, if Providence will allow, I intend bringing before the public, will be of a different description of philosophy, viz. The Philosophy of Thought, a Poem, in two Cantos: with a variety of other poems and lyrics of an interesting kind; the result of solitary hours in times gone by, before I constructed my amateur press. The work will be of the same form as this, with multum in parvo, and probably about the same size. If circumstances will allow, I will try to have it ready by about the beginning of January next.—I remember seeing in one of our local newspapers, some time ago, a notice of a small work, of some 96 pages, which said–“The binding was done by Mr.——, and the printing was done at our jobbing office;”—but not a word of any kind was said about the spirit of the Author, or to give a welcome to an addition to our local literature! As regards this book, both the printing and the binding have been done by the Author himself, in each case, as an amateur. As the printing of this work consisted in much of experiment; I would crave the indulgence of friends: but having made considerable improvements in the press, I hope in future to shew a better typography;
Saturnalia Astray. — or, Christmass in the South in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- But the historic Muse unfolds the hind’rings*
/ Of such a change, which southern climes require;
/ And shows how corrupt Church amid her wand’rings,
/ A whoring went from Truth, as she’d desire
/ After some heathen cerimonies vain,
/ With gaudy pomp attached, and lucre’s gain
/ Obstructing thus Truth’s progress with such hind’rings!
The Picture of a Poet in The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
- No idleness is his: oft double toil
/ His industry engages; though the while
/ Bland Fortune may not on his efforts smile,
/ To make him independent;
/ His labours shew it,
/ As urged by implied duty as th’attendant
/ On his career; so wilt thou find
/ His works declare a lib’ral mind,
/ No sluggard is a Poet!
- Such are but a few features of the Poet.
/ That’s worth the name; and all traditions shew it;
/ Whatever be his history, all may know it,
/ He’s not of common lot.
/ Though human born:
/ Yet be it not in any wise forgot,
/ He has his whims, and frailties too;
/ Feels hard some passions to subdue,
/ And sometimes feels forlorn!
/ Whate’er may the true poet’s lot betide,
/ His aspirations are on virtue’s side:
- In patriotic virtues he ’ll excell:
/ He tunes his lyre his country’s praise to tell,
/ Or of heroic deeds his numbers swell,
/ T’ exalt each hero’s fame:
/ Nay, even he
/ Will forward stand, defensive, in her name—
/ In all which may affect her cause,
/ Her priv’liges, or freedom’s laws
/ Resisting knavery!
- How sad indeed, when his susceptive mind
/ Must aught endure, averse to beauty’s kind,
/ As, some deformity of soul to find,
/ Where joy he would expect;
- His nature chiefly is composed of love;
/ Though his the shrinking meekness of a dove;
/ Yet fervent are—as kindled from above—
/ Th’ emotions of his soul;
/ While Nature round
/ Would stir his latent raptures, which control
/ His actions chief;
- Though ’mid the stern realities of life
/ He is obliged to move, and in their strife
/ Be actively engaged; though troubles rife
/ Involve him ’mid their cares;
/ Yet even then,
/ Another life he leads, which still declares,
/ He is not wholly of this world;
/ While proving oft like Heaven’s herald
/ Among his fellow-men!
- Beauty and Truth are his trine sisters fair,
/ As with him born, to glad his heart when care
/ Assails him, as he through the world must fare,
- How much it pains his friendship-loving mind,
/ When deeds occur of an unseemly kind,
/ In friends esteem’d. What pleasure can he find
/ In any disposition,
/ He can’t admire,
/ When cropping out, where he had no suspicion
/ Such could exist?— It grieves the Muse,
/ To think, on old friends she must use
/ Her chastisement,—Satyre!
- But Truth as beauty’s duplicate, when shewn;
/ Will make his heart with pleasures high
/ Beat gladly— fell an ecstacy,
/ Which no one else can know!
- When ruling falsehoods, ’mong his fellow-men,
/ Obtrude upon his observation, then
/ He feels impell’d to bring such to their ken
/ Who witless such may own,
- His head is crown’d with a halo of love,
/ Smiling in holiness, strong in faith;
/ The light in his eyes is calm, and sweet:
/ He roams from the earth to the realms above,
/ To seek for the glory of love, he saith;
/ And rests his song at God’s own feet!
- He puts himself in ev’ry body’s skin,
/ And with glad rapture sings their joys,
/ Or, mournfully their sorrows sighs,
/ As such were all his own!
- Ev’n bestial tribes, in Nature’s family,
/ Will in him find, (like some anomaly)
/ A good interpreter, who can apply
/ His powers of good address,
/ Or other mood
/ In their behalf, their feelings to express,
- But who can blind the poet’s marking eye?
/ To him, ’tis of an order, as t’ imply
/ His Maker’s special grace; in which descry
/ He must, a certain duty
/ To be perform’d.
/ So, ever is his soul in quest of beauty;
/ No matter, if on Nature’s face,
/ Or human works he such can trace,
/ Such make him feel as charm’d!
/ So that his bosom’s made to beat with joy
/ Nor can he other than his powers employ
/ To teach, the blinded, how they might descry
/ God’s goodness to the world,
/ And render praise:
/ That all around may gladly have unfurl’d
/ The banner of sweet brotherhood;
/ Averting ills, enhancing good,
/ Man’s nature prone to raise!
- beauty is the idea of his mind,
- Things lovely makes him still rehearse
/ In song his feelings, and rejoice,
/ As hearing Heaven’s cheering voice,
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