Nox Oculis


Charles Heavysege (1816-1876)

Poète, journaliste, et dramaturge canadien.

Né en 1816, à Huddersfield dans le Yorkshire. Largement autodidacte, Heavysege fut un ébéniste et ouvrier sculpteur sur bois accompli. Il continua à exercer la menuiserie après avoir immigré au Canada. En 1853, il s'installa à Montréal, au Québec, et devint journaliste pour le Transcript et plus trad pour le Montreal Daily Witness, jusqu'à sa retraite en 1874.

Il rédigea des pièces en vers telles que Saul and Count Filippo ; or, The Unequal Marriage, mais qui ne furent jamais jouée de son vivant. Ses pièces, très ornées, sont largement influencées par les poètes romantiques, Shakespeare et la Bible. Son oeuvre la connue est "Jephthah's Daughter", à la fois un drame en vers et un recueil de sonnets.

Il est mort à Montréal en 1876.


Beyond the Sunset

    Hushed in a calm beyond mine utterance,
    See in the western sky the evening spread ;
    Suspended in its pale, serene expanse,
    Like scattered flames, the glowing cloudlets red.
    Clear are those clouds, and that pure sky's profound,
    Transparent as a lake of hyaline ;
    Nor motion, nor the faintest breath of sound,
    Disturbs the steadfast beauty of the scene.
    Far o'er the vault the winnowed welkin wide,
    From the bronzed east unto the whitened west,
    Moored, seem, in their sweet, tranquil, roseate pride,
    Those clouds the fabled islands of the blest ; --
    The lands where pious spirits breathe in joy,
    And love and worship all their hoiurs employ.

    Charles Heavysege


The Coming of Morn

    See how the Morn awakes. Along the sky
    Proceeds she with her pale, increasing light,
    And, from the depths of the dim canopy,
    Drives out the shadows of departing night.
    Lo, the clouds break, and gradually more wide
    Morn openeth her bright, rejoicing gates ;
    And ever, as the orient valves divide,
    A costlier aspect on their breadth awaits.

    Lo, the clouds break, and in each opened schism
    The coming Phoebus lays huge beams of gold,
    And roseate fire and glories that the prism
    Would vainly strive before us to unfold ;
    And, while I gaze, from out the bright abysm
    A flaming disc is to the horizon rolled.

    Charles Heavysege


Night

    'Tis solemn darkness; the sublime of shade ;
    Night, by no stars nor rising moon relieved ;
    The awful blank of nothingness arrayed,
    O'er which my eye-balls roll in vain, deceived.
    Upward, around, and downward I explore,
    E'en to the frontiers of the ebon air,
    But cannot, though I strive, discover more
    Than what seems one huge cavern of despair.
    Oh, Night, art thou so grim, when, black and bare
    Of moonbeams, and no cloudlets to adorn,
    Like a nude Ethiop 'twixt two houris fair,
    Thou stand'st between the evening and the morn ?
    I took thee for an angel, but have wooed
    A cacodaemon in mine ignorant mood.

    Charles Heavysege


Winter Skies

    The stars are glittering in the frosty sky,
    Frequent as pebbles on a broad sea-coast ;
    And o'er the vault the cloud-like galaxy
    Has marshalled its innumerable host.
    Alive all heaven seems! with wondrous glow
    Tenfold refulgent every star appears,
    As if some wide celestial gale did blow,
    And thrice illume the ever-kindled spheres.
    Orbs, with glad orbs rejoicing, burning, beam,
    Ray-crowned, with lambent lustre in their zones,
    Till o'er the blue, bespangled spaces seem
    Angels and great archangels on their thrones ;
    A host divine, whose eyes are sparkling gems,
    And forms more bright than diamond diadems.

    Charles Heavysege


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