>> / Samuel Taylor Coleridge

. . Poems Samuel Taylor Coleridge

. . Poems Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

 

/ Samuel Taylor Coleridge, (21 1772 25 1834) -.

 

Ode To Tranquillity

Tranquillity! thou better name
Than all the family of Fame!
Thou ne'er wilt leave my riper age
To low intrigue, or factious rage;
For oh! dear child of thoughtful Truth,
To thee I gave my early youth,
And left the bark, and blest the steadfast shore,
Ere yet the tempest rose and scared me with its roar.

Who late and lingering seeks thy shrine,
On him but seldom, Power divine,
Thy spirit rests! Satiety
And Sloth, poor counterfeits of thee,
Mock the tired worldling. Idle hope
And dire remembrance interlope,
To vex the feverish slumbers of the mind:
The bubble floats before, the spectre stalks behind.

But me thy gentle hand will lead
At morning through the accustomed mead;
And in the sultry summer's heat
Will build me up a mossy seat;
And when the gust of Autumn crowds,
And breaks the busy moonlight clouds,
Thou best the thought canst raise, the heart attune,
Light as the busy clouds, calm as the gliding moon.

The feeling heart, the searching soul,
To thee I dedicate the whole!
And while within myself I trace
The greatness of some future race,
Aloof with hermit-eye I scan
The present works of present man--
A wild and dream-like trade of blood and guile,
Too foolish for a tear, too wicked for a smile!

 

On A Connubial Rupture In High Life

I sigh, fair injured stranger! for thy fate;
But what shall sighs avail thee? Thy poor heart,
'Mid all the 'pomp and circumstance' of state,
Shivers in nakedness. Unbidden, start

Sad recollections of Hope's garish dream,
That shaped a seraph form, and named it Love,
Its hues gay-varying, as the orient beam
Varies the neck of Cytherea's dove.

To one soft accent of domestic joy,
Poor are the shouts that shake the high-arched dome:
Those plaudits, that thy public path annoy,
Alas! they tell thee--Thou'rt a wretch at home!

O then retire and weep! Their very woes
Solace the guiltless. Drop the pearly flood
On thy sweet infant, as the full-blown rose,
Surcharged with dew, bends o'er its neighb'ring bud.

And oh that Truth some holy spell might lend
To lure thy wanderer from the syren's power,
Then bid your souls inseparably blend
Like two bright dewdrops meeting in a flower.

 

On A Ruined House In A Romantic Country

And this reft house is that the which he built,
Lamented Jack! And here his malt he pil'd,
Cautious in vain! These rats that squeak so wild,
Squeak, not unconscious of their father's guilt.
Did ye not see her gleaming thro' the glade?
Belike, 'twas she, the maiden all forlorn.
What though she milk no cow with crumpled horn,
Yet aye she haunts the dale where erst she stray'd;
And aye beside her stalks her amorous knight!
Still on his thighs their wonted brogues are worn,
And thro' those brogues, still tatter'd and betorn,
His hindward charms gleam an unearthly white;
As when thro' broken clouds at night's high noon
Peeps in fair fragments forth the full-orb'd harvest-moon!

 

On An Infant Which Died Before Baptism

'Be, rather than be call'd, a child of God,'
Death whisper'd!--with assenting nod,
Its head upon its mother's breast,
The Baby bow'd, without demur--
Of the kingdom of the Blest
Possessor, not inheritor.

 

On Donne's Poetry

``With Donne, whose muse on dromedary trots,
Wreathe iron pokers into true-love knots ;
Rhyme's sturdy cripple, fancy's maze and clue,
Wit's forge and fire-blast, meaning's press and screw.''

 

On Revisiting The Sea-Shore, After Long Absence, Under Strong Medical Recommendation Not To Bathe

God be with thee, gladsome Ocean!
How gladly greet I thee once more!
Ships and waves, and ceaseless motion,
And men rejoicing on thy shore.

Dissuading spake the mild physician,
'Those briny waves for thee are death!'
But my soul fulfilled her mission,
And lo! I breathe untroubled breath!

Fashion's pining sons and daughters,
That seek the crowd they seem to fly,
Trembling they approach thy waters;
And what cares Nature, if they die?

Me a thousand hopes and pleasures,
A thousand recollections bland,
Thoughts sublime, and stately measures,
Revisit on thy echoing stand:

Dreams (the soul herself forsaking),
Tearful raptures, boyish mirth;
Silent adorations, making
A blessed shadow of this Earth!

O ye hopes, that stir within me,
Health comes with you from above!
God is with me, God is in me!
I cannot die, if Life be Love.

 

On The Christening Of A Friend's Child

This day among the faithful placed,
And fed with fontal manna,
O with maternal title graced
Dear Anna's dearest Anna!--

While others wish thee wise and fair,
A maid of spotless fame,
I'll breathe this more compendious prayer--
May'st thou deserve thy name!

Thy mother's name--a potent spell,
That bids the virtues hie
From mystic grove and living cell
Confess'd to fancy's eye;--

Meek quietness without offence;
Content in homespun kirtle;
True love; and true love's innocence,
White blossom of the myrtle!

Associates of thy name, sweet child!
These virtues may'st thou win;
With face as eloquently mild
To say, they lodge within.

So, when her tale of days all flown,
Thy mother shall be mist here;
When Heaven at length shall claim its own,
And angels snatch their sister;

Some hoary-headed friend, perchance,
May gaze with stifled breath;
And oft, in momentary trance,
Forget the waste of death.

Ev'n thus a lovely rose I view'd,
In summer-swelling pride;
Nor mark'd the bud, that green and rude
Peep'd at the rose's side.

It chanced, I pass'd again that way
In autumn's latest hour,
And wond'ring saw the selfsame spray
Rich with the selfsame flower.

Ah, fond deceit! the rude green bud
Alike in shape, place, name,
Had bloom'd, where bloom'd its parent stud,
Another and the same!

 

Phantom

All look and likeness caught from earth
All accident of kin and birth,
Had pass'd away. There was no trace
Of aught on that illumined face,
Uprais'd beneath the rifted stone
But of one spirit all her own ;--
She, she herself, and only she,
Shone through her body visibly.

 

Phantom Or Fact? A Dialogue In Verse

Author.
A lovely form there sate beside my bed,
And such a feeding calm its presence shed,
A tender love so pure from earthly leaven
That I unnethe the fancy might control,
'Twas my own spirit newly come from heaven
Wooing its gentle way into my soul!
But ah! the change -- It had not stirred, and yet
Alas! that change how fain would I forget?
That shrinking back, like one that had mistook!
That weary, wandering, disavowing Look!
'Twas all another, feature, look and frame,
And still, methought, I knew it was the same!

Friend.
This riddling Tale, to what does it belong?
Is't History? Vision? or an idle Song?
Or rather say at once, within what space
Of Time this wild disastrous change took place?

Author.
Call it a moment's work (and such it seems),
This Tale's a Fragment from the Life of Dreams;
But say, that years matured the silent strife,
And 'tis a Record from the Dream of Life.

 

Psyche

The butterfly the ancient Grecians made
The soul's fair emblem, and its only name--
But of the soul, escaped the slavish trade
Of mortal life !--For in this earthly frame
Ours is the reptile's lot, much toil, much blame,
Manifold motions making little speed,
And to deform and kill the things whereon we feed.

 

Reason

... Finally, what is Reason ? You have often asked me ; and this is my
answer :--

Whene'er the mist, that stands 'twixt God and thee,
[Sublimates] to a pure transparency,
That intercepts no light and adds no stain--
There Reason is, and then begins her reign !

But alas !
------`tu stesso, ti fai grosso
Col falso immaginar, si che non vedi
Cio che vedresti, se l'avessi scosso.'

 

Recollections Of Love

I

How warm this woodland wild Recess !
Love surely hath been breathing here ;
And this sweet bed of heath, my dear !
Swells up, then sinks with faint caress,
As if to have you yet more near.

II

Eight springs have flown, since last I lay
On sea-ward Quantock's heathy hills,
Where quiet sounds from hidden rills
Float hear and there, like things astray,
And high o'er head the sky-lark shrills.

III

No voice as yet had made the air
Be music with your name ; yet why
That asking look ? that yearning sigh ?
That sense of promise every where ?
Beloved ! flew your spirit by ?

IV

As when a mother doth explore
The rose-mark on her long-lost child,
I met, I loved you, maiden mild !
As whom I long had loved before--
So deeply had I been beguiled.

V

You stood before me like a thought,
A dream remembered in a dream.
But when those meek eyes first did seem
To tell me, Love within you wrought--
O Greta, dear domestic stream !

VI

Has not, since then, Love's prompture deep,
Has not Love's whisper evermore
Been ceaseless, as thy gentle roar ?
Sole voice, when other voices sleep,
Dear under-song in clamor's hour.

 

Reflections On Having Left A Place Of Retirement

Low was our pretty Cot : our tallest Rose
Peep'd at the chamber-window. We could hear
At silent noon, and eve, and early morn,
The Sea's faint murmur. In the open air
Our Myrtles blossom'd; and across the porch
Thick Jasmins twined : the little landscape round
Was green and woody, and refresh'd the eye.
It was a spot which you might aptly call
The Valley of Seclusion ! Once I saw
(Hallowing his Sabbath-day by quiteness)
A wealthy son of Commerce saunter by,
Bristowa's citizen : methought, it calm'd
His thirst of idle gold, and made him muse
With wiser feelings : for he paus'd, and look'd
With a pleas'd sadness, and gaz'd all around,
Then eyed our Cottage, and gaz'd round again,
And sigh'd, and said, it was a Blessed Place.
And we were bless'd. Oft with patient ear
Long-listening to the viewless sky-lark's note
(Viewless, or haply for a moment seen
Gleaming on sunny wings) in whisper'd tones
I said to my Beloved, `Such, sweet Girl !
The inobtrusive song of Happiness,
Unearthly minstrelsy ! then only heard
When the Soul seeks to hear ; when all is hush'd,
And the Heart listens !'

[Image][Image][Image]But the time, when first
From that low Dell, steep up the stony Mount
I climb'd with perilous toil and reach'd the top,
Oh ! what a goodly scene ! Here the bleak mount,
The bare bleak mountain speckled thin with sheep ;
Grey clouds, that shadowing spot the sunny fields ;
And river, now with bushy rocks o'er-brow'd,
Now winding bright and full, with naked banks ;
And seats, and lawns, the Abbey and the wood,
And cots, and hamlets, and faint city-spire ;
The Channel there, the Islands and white sails,
Dim coasts, and cloud-like hills, and shoreless Ocean--
It seem'd like Omnipresence ! God, methought,
Had build him there a Temple : the whole World
Seem'd imag'd in its vast circumference :
No wish profan'd my overwhelmed heart.
Blest hour ! It was a luxury,--to be!

Ah ! quiet Dell ! dear Cot, and Mount sublime!
I was constrain'd to quit you. Was it right,
While my unnumber'd brethren toil'd and bled,
That I should dream away the entrusted hours
On rose-leaf beds, pampering the coward heart
With feelings all too delicate for use?
Sweet is the tear that from some Howard's eye
Drops on the cheek of one he lifts from earth :
And he that works me good with unmov'd face,
Does it but half : he chills me while he aids,
My benefactor, not my brother man!
Yet even this, this cold beneficience
Praise, praise it, O my Soul ! oft as thou scann'st
The sluggard Pity's vision-weaving tribe !
Who sigh for Wretchedness, yet shun the Wretched,
Nursing in some delicious solitude
Their slothful loves and dainty sympathies !
I therefore go, and join head, heart, and hand,
Active and firm, to fight the bloodless fight
Of Science, Freedom, and the Truth in Christ.

Yet oft when after honourable toil
Rests the tir'd mind, and waking loves to dream,
My spirit shall revisit thee, dear Cot!
Thy Jasmin and thy window-peeping Rose,
And Myrtles fearless of the mild sea-air.
And I shall sigh fond wishes--sweet Abode!
Ah !--had none greater ! And that all had such!
It might be so--but the time is not yet.
Speed it, O Father ! Let thy Kingdom come!

 

Sea-ward, white gleaming thro' the busy scud (fragment)

Sea-ward, white gleaming thro' the busy scud
With arching Wings, the sea-mew o'er my head
Posts on, as bent on speed, now passaging
Edges the stiffer Breeze, now, yielding, drifts,
Now floats upon the air, and sends from far
A wildly-wailing Note.

 

Something Childish, But Very Natural

If I had but two little wings
And were a little feathery bird,
To you I'd fly, my dear!
But thoughts like these are idle things,
And I stay here.

But in my sleep to you I fly:
I'm always with you in my sleep!
The world is all one's own.
But then one wakes, and where am I?
All, all alone.

Sleep stays not, though a monarch bids:
So I love to wake ere break of day:
For though my sleep be gone,
Yet while 'tis dark, one shuts one's lids,
And still dreams on.

 

Song

Tho' veiled in spires of myrtle-wreath,
Love is a sword that cuts its sheath,
And thro' the clefts, itself has made,
We spy the flashes of the Blade !

But thro' the clefts, itself has made,
We likewise see Love's flashing blade,
By rust consumed or snapt in twain :
And only Hilt and Stump remain.

 

Songs of the Pixies

I.
Whom the untaught Shepherds call
Pixies in their madrigal,
Fancy's children, here we dwell:
Welcome, Ladies! to our cell.
Here the wren of softest note
Builds its nest and warbles well;
Here the blackbird strains his throat;
Welcome, Ladies! to our cell.

II.
When fades the moon to shadowy-pale,
And scuds the cloud before the gale,
Ere the Morn, all gem-bedight,
Hath streak'd the East with rosy light,
We sip the furze-flower's fragrant dews
Clad in robes of rainbow hues:
Or sport amid the shooting gleams
To the tune of distant-tinkling teams,
While lusty Labour scouting sorrow
Bids the Dame a glad good-morrow,
Who jogs the accustomed road along,
And paces cheery to her cheering song.

III.
But not our filmy pinion
We scorch amid the blaze of day,
When Noontide's fiery-tressed minion
Flashes the fervid ray.
Aye from the sultry heat
We to the cave retreat
O'ercanopied by huge roots intertwined
With wildest texture, blackened o'er with age:
Round them their mantle green the ivies bind,
Beneath whose foliage pale
Fanned by the unfrequent gale
We shield us from the Tyrant's mid-day rage.

IV.
Thither, while the murmuring throng
Of wild-bees hum their drowsy song,
By Indolence and Fancy brought,
A youthful Bard, 'unknown to Fame',
Wooes the Queen of Solemn Thought,
And heaves the gentle misery of a sigh
Gazing with tearful eye,
As round our sandy grot appear
Many a rudely sculptured name
To pensive Memory dear!
Weaving gay dreams of sunny-tinctured hue
We glance before his view:
O'er his hush'd soul our soothing witcheries shed
And twine the future garland round his head.

V.
When Evening's dusky car
Crowned with her dewy star
Steals o'er the fading sky in shadowy flight;
On leaves of aspen trees
We tremble to the breeze
Veiled from the grosser ken of mortal sight.
Or, haply, at the visionary hour,
Along our wildly-bowered sequestered walk,
We listen to the enamoured rustic's talk;
Heave with the heavings of the maiden's breast,
Where young-eyed Loves have hid their turtle nest;
Or guide of soul-subduing power
The glance, that from the half-confessing eye
Darts the fond question or the soft reply.

VI.
Or through the mystic ringlets of the vale
We flash our faery feet in gamesome prank;
Or, silent-sandal'd, pay our defter court,
Circling the Spirit of the Western Gale,
Where wearied with his flower-caressing sport,
Supine he slumbers on a violet bank;
Then with quaint music hymn the parting gleam
By lonely Otter's sleep-persuading stream;
Or where his wave with loud unquiet song
Dashed o'er the rocky channel froths along;
Or where, his silver waters smoothed to rest,
The tall tree's shadow sleeps upon his breast.

VII.
Hence thou lingerer, Light!
Eve saddens into Night.
Mother of wildly-working dreams! we view
The sombre hours, that round thee stand
With down-cast eyes (a duteous band!)
Their dark robes dripping with the heavy dew.
Sorceress of the ebon throne!
Thy power the Pixies own,
When round thy raven brow
Heaven's lucent roses glow,
And clouds in watery colours drest
Float in light drapery o'er thy sable vest:
What time the pale moon sheds a softer day
Mellowing the woods beneath its pensive beam:
For mid the quivering light 'tis ours to play,
Aye dancing to the cadence of the stream.

VIII.
Welcome, Ladies! to the cell
Where the blameless Pixies dwell:
But thou, sweet Nymph! proclaimed our Faery Queen,
With what obeisance meet
Thy presence shall we greet?
For lo! attendant on thy steps are seen
Graceful Ease in artless stole,
And white-robed Purity of soul,
With Honour's softer mien;
Mirth of the loosely-flowing hair,
And meek-eyed Pity eloquently fair,
Whose tearful cheeks are lovely to the view,
As snow-drop wet with dew.

IX.
Unboastful Maid! though now the Lily pale
Transparent grace thy beauties meek;
Yet ere again along the impurpling vale,
The purpling vale and elfin-haunted grove,
Young Zephyr his fresh flowers profusely throws,
We'll tinge with livelier hues thy cheek;
And, haply, from the nectar-breathing Rose
Extract a Blush for Love!

 

Sonnet

To the River Otter

Dear native Brook! wild Streamlet of the West!
How many various-fated years have past,
What happy and what mournful hours, since last
I skimm'd the smooth thin stone along thy breast,
Numbering its light leaps! yet so deep imprest
Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes
I never shut amid the sunny ray,
But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,
Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey,
And bedded sand that vein'd with various dyes
Gleam'd through thy bright transparence! On my way,
Visions of Childhood! oft have ye beguil'd
Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
Ah! that once more I were a careless Child!

 

Sonnet II. On A Discovery Made Too Late

Thou bleedest, my poor heart! and thy distress
Reas'ning I ponder with a scornful smile
And probe thy sore wound sternly, tho' the while
Swollen be mine eye and dim with heaviness.
Why didst thou listen to Hope's whisper bland?
Or list'ning, why forget the healing tale,
When Jealousy with fev'rish fancies pale
Jarred thy fine fibres with a maniac's hand?
Faint was that Hope, and rayless!--Yet 'twas fair,
And soothed with many a dream the hour of rest:
Thou shouldst have loved it most, when most opprest,
And nursed it with an agony of care,
Even as a Mother her sweet infant heir,
That wan and sickly droops upon her breast!

 

Sonnet III.

Thou gentle Look, that didst my soul beguile,
Why hast thou left me? Still in some fond dream
Revisit my sad heart, auspicious Smile!
As falls on closing flowers the lunar beam:
What time, in sickly mood, at parting day
I lay me down and think of happier years;
Of joys, that glimmered in Hope's twilight ray,
Then left me darkling in a vale of tears.
O pleasant days of Hope -- forever flown!
Could I recall you!-- But that thought is vain.
Availeth not Persuasion's sweetest tone
To lure the fleet-winged travellers back again:
Yet fair, tho' faint, their images shall gleam
Like the bright Rainbow on an evening stream.

 

Sonnet IX. To Priestley

Tho' roused by that dark Visir riot rude
Have driven our Priestly o'er the ocean swell;
Tho' Superstition and her wolfish brood
Bay his mild radiance, impotent and fell;
Calm in his halls of Brightness he shall dwell;
For lo! Religion at his strong behest
Starts with mild anger from the Papal spell,
And flings to Earth her tinsel-glittering vest,
Her mitred state and cumbrous pomp unholy;
And Justice wakes to bid th' Oppressor wail,
Insulting aye the wrongs of patient folly;
And from her dark retreat by Wisdom won,
Meek Nature slowly lifts her matron veil
To smile with fondness on her gazing son!

 

Sonnet V.

Sweet Mercy! how my very heart has bled
To see thee, poor old man! and thy gray hairs
Hoar with the snowy blast; while no one cares
To clothe thy shrivelled limbs and palsied head.
My Father! throw away this tattered vest
That mocks thy shiv'ring! take my garment--use
A young man's arm! I'll melt these frozen dews
That hang from thy white beard and numb thy breast.
My Sara, too, shall tend thee, like a child:
And thou shalt talk, in our fire-side's recess,
Of purple pride, that scowls on wretchedness.--
He did not scowl, the Galilaean mild,
Who met the Lazar turned from rich man's doors,
And called him Friend, and wept upon his sores!

 

Sonnet VI.

Pale Roamer thro' the Night! thou poor forlorn!
Remorse that man on his death-bed possess,
Who in the credulous hour of tenderness
Betrayed, then cast thee forth to Want and scorn!
The World is pityless; the Chaste one's pride,
Mimic of Virtue, scowls on thy distress;
Thy kindred, when they see thee, turn aside,
And Vice alone will shelter Wretchedness!
O! I am sad to think, that there should be
Men, born of woman, who endure to place
Foul offerings on the shrine of Misery,
And force from Famine the caress of Love!
Man has no feeling of thy sore Disgrace:
Keen blows the blast upon the moulting dove!

 

Sonnet VII. To Burke

As late I lay in Slumber's shadowy vale,
With wetted cheek and in a mourner's guise,
I saw the sainted form of FREEDOM rise:
She spake! not sadder moans the autumnal gale.
'Great Son of Genius! sweet to me thy name,
Ere in an evil hour with alter'd voice
Thou bad'st Oppression's hireling crew rejoice
Blasting with wizard spell my laurell'd fame.
Yet never, Burke! thou drank'st Corruption's bowl!
Thee stormy Pity, and the cherished lure
Of Pomp, and proud Precipitance of soul,
Wildered with meteor fires. Ah, Spirit pure!
That error's mist had left thy purged eye:
So might I clasp thee with a Mother's joy!'

 

Sonnet VIII. To Mercy

Not always should the tear's ambrosial dew
Roll its soft anguish down thy furrowed cheek!
Not always heaven-breathed tones of suppliance meek
Beseem thee, Mercy! Yon dark Scowler view,
Who with proud words of dear-loved Freedom came--
More blasting than the mildew from the south!
And kissed his country with Iscariot mouth;
(Ah! foul apostate from his Father's fame!)
Then fixed her on the cross of deep distress,
And at safe distance marks the thirsty lance
Pierce her big side! But oh! if some strange trance
The eye-lids of thy stern-browed Sister press,
Seize, Mercy! thou more terrible the brand,
And hurl her thunderbolts with fiercer hand!

 

Sonnet X. To Erskine

When British Freedom for an happier land
Spread her broad wings, that fluttered with affright,
Erskine! thy voice she heard, and paused her flight
Sublime of hope! For dreadless thou didst stand
(Thy censer glowing with the hallowed flame)
An hireless Priest before th' insulted shrine,
And at her altar poured'st the stream divine
Of unmatched eloquence. Therefore thy name
Her Sons shall venerate, and cheer thy breast
With blessings heavenward breathed. And when the doom
Of Nature bids thee rise beyond the tomb,
Thy light shall shine: as sunk beneath the West
Tho' the great Summer Sun eludes our gaze,
Still burns wide Heaven with his distended blaze

 

Sonnet XI. To Sheridan

It was some spirit, Sheridan! that breath'd
O'er thy young mind such wildly-various power!
My soul hath marked thee in her shaping hour,
Thy temples with Hymettian flowrets wreath'd:
And sweet thy voice, as when o'er Laura's bier
Sad music trembled thro' Vauclusa's glade;
Sweet, as at dawn the love-lorn Serenade
That wafts soft dreams to Slumber's list'ning ear.
Now patriot Rage and Indignation high
Swell the full tones! And now thine eye-beams dance
Meanings of Scorn and Wit's quaint revelry!
Writhes inly from the bosom-probing glance
Th' Apostate by the brainless rout adores,
As erst that elder Fiend beneath great Michael's sword.

 

Sonnet XII. To Mrs. Siddons

As when a child on some long winter's night
Affrighted clinging to its Grandam's knees
With eager wond'ring and perturbed delight
Listens strange tales of fearful dark decrees
Muttered to wretch by necromantic spell;
Or of those hags, who at the witching time
Of murky midnight ride the air sublime,
And mingle foul embrace with fiends of Hell:
Cold Horror drinks its blood! Anon the tear
More gentle starts, to hear the Beldame tell
Of pretty babes, that loved each other dear,
Murdered by cruel Uncle's mandate fell:
Ev'n such the shiv'ring joys thy tones impart,
Ev'n so thou, Siddons! meltest my sad heart!

 

Sonnet XIII. To La Fayette

As when far off the warbled strains are heard
That soar on Morning's wing the vales among,
Within his cage th' imprisoned matin bird
Swells the full chorus with a generous song:
He bathes no pinion in the dewy light,
No Father's joy, no Lover's bliss he shares,
Yet still the rising radiance cheers his sight--
His Fellows' freedom soothes the Captive's cares!
Thou, Fayette! who didst wake with startling voice
Life's better Sun from that long wintry night,
Thus in thy Country's triumphs shalt rejoice
And mock with raptures high the dungeon's might:
For lo! the morning struggles into day,
And Slavery's spectres shriek and vanish from the ray!

 

Sonnet XIV. Composed While Climbing The Left Ascent Of Brockley Coomb, In The County Of Somerset

With many a pause and oft reverted eye
I climb the Coomb's ascent: sweet songsters near
Warble in shade their wild-wood melody:
Far off the unvarying Cuckoo soothes my ear.
Up scour the startling stragglers of the flock
That on green plots o'er precipices browze:
From the deep fissures of the naked rock
The Yew-tree bursts! Beneath its dark green boughs
(Mid which the May-thorn blends its blossoms white)
Where broad smooth stones jut out in mossy seats,
I rest: - and now have gain'd the topmost site.
Ah! what a luxury of landscape meets
My gaze! Proud towers, and Cots more dear to me,
Elm-shadow'd Fields, and prospect-bounding Sea!
Deep sighs my lonely heart: I drop the tear:
Enchanting spot! O were my Sara here!

 

Sonnet XIX. To A Friend, Who Asked How I Felt When The Nurse First Presented My Infant To Me

Charles! my slow heart was only sad, when first
I scanned that face of feeble infancy;
For dimly on my thoughtful spirit burst
All I had been, and all my babe might be!
But when I saw it on its Mother's arm,
And hanging at her bosom (she the while
Bent o'er its features with a tearful smile),
Then I was thrilled and melted, and most warm
Impressed a Father's kiss: and all beguiled
Of dark remembrance, and presageful fear,
I seemed to see an Angel's form appear--
'Twas even thine, beloved Woman mild!
So for the Mother's sake the Child was dear,
And dearer was the Mother for the Child.

 

Sonnet XV. To Schiller

Schiller! that hour I would have wished to die,
If thro' the shudd'ring midnight I had sent
From the dark Dungeon of the Tower time-rent
That fearful voice, a famished Father's cry--
That in no after moment aught less vast
Might stamp me mortal! A triumphant shout
Black Horror screamed, and all her goblin rout
From the more with'ring scene diminished past.
Ah! Bard tremendous in sublimity!
Could I behold thee in thy loftier mood,
Wand'ring at eve with finely frenzied eye
Beneath some vast old tempest-swinging wood!
Awhile with mute awe gazing I would brood,
Then weep aloud in a wild ecstasy!

 

Sonnet XVI. To Earl Stanhope

Not, Stanhope! with the Patriot's doubtful name
I mock thy worth -- Friend of the human race
Since scorning Faction's low and partial aim,
Aloof thou wendest in thy stately pace,
Thyself redeeming from that leprous stain,
Nobility: and aye unterrified,
Pourest thine Abdiel warnings on the train
That sit complotting with rebellious pride
'Gaint her, who from the Almighty's bosom leapt
With whirlwind arm, fierce Minister of Love!
Wherefore, ere Virtue o'er thy tomb hath wept,
Angels shall lead thee to the Throne above:
And thou from forth its clouds shall hear the voice,
Champion of Freedom and her God! rejoice!

 

Sonnet XVII. Composed On A Journey Homeward; The Author Having Received Intelligence Of The Birth Of A Son

Oft o'er my brain does that strange fancy roll
Which makes the present (while the flash dost last)
Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past,
Mixed with such feelings, as perplex the soul
Self-questioned in her sleep: and some have said
We lived ere yet this fleshy robe we wore.
O my sweet Baby! when I reach my door,
If heavy looks should tell me, thou wert dead
(As sometimes, thro' excess of hope, I fear),
I think, that I should struggle to believe
Thou were a Spirit, to this nether sphere
Sentenced for some more venial crime to grieve
Didst scream, then spring to meet Heaven's quick reprieve,
While we wept idly o'er thy little bier.

 

Sonnet XVIII. To The Autumnal Moon

Mild Splendor of the various-vested Night!
Mother of wildly-working visions! hail!
I watch thy gliding, while with watery light
Thy weak eye glimmers through a fleecy veil;
And when thou lovest thy pale orb to shroud
Behind the gather'd blackness lost on high;
And when thou dartest from the wind-rent cloud
Thy placid lightning o'er th' awakened sky.
Ah, such is Hope! As changeful and as fair!
Now dimly peering on the wistful sight;
Now hid behind the dragon-wing'd Despair:
But soon emerging in her radiant might
She o'er the sorrow-clouded breast of Care
Sails, like a meteor kindling in its flight.

 

Sonnet XX.

The piteous sobs that choke the Virgin's breath
For him, the fair betrothed Youth, who les
Cold in the narrow dwelling, or the cries
With which a Mother wails her Darling's death,
These from our Nature's common impulse spring
Unblamed, unpraised; but o'er the piled earth,
Which hides the sheeted corse of gray-haired Worth,
If droops the soaring Youth with slackened wing;
If he recall in saddest minstrelsy
Each tenderness bestowed, each truth impressed;
Such Grief is Reason, Virtue, Piety!
And from the Almighty Father shall descend
Comforts on his late Evening, whose young breast
Mourns with no transient love the aged friend.

 

Sonnet XXI.

Pensive, at eve, on the hard world I mused,
And my poor heart was sad: so at the Moon
I gazed--and sighed, and sighed--for, ah! how soon
Eve saddens into night! Mine eyes perused,
With tearful vacancy, the dampy grass,
That wept and glitter'd in the paly ray,
And I did pause me on my lonely way,
And mused me on the wretched ones, who pass
O'er the black heath of Sorrow. But, alas!
Most of myself I thought: when it befell,
That the sooth Spirit of the breezy wood
Breath'd in mine ear--'All this is very well;
But much of one thing is for no thing good.'
Ah! my poor heart's inexplicable swell!

 

Sonnet XXII. To Simplicity

O! I do love thee, meek Simplicity!
For of thy lays the lulling simpleness
Goes to my heart, and soothes each small distress--
Distress tho' small, yet haply great to me!
'Tis true, on Lady Fortune's gentlest pad
I amble on; yet tho' I know not why,
So sad I am! but should a friend and I
Grow cool and miff, O! I am very sad!
And then with sonnets and with sympathy
My dreamy bosom's mystic woes I pall;
Now of my false friend plaining plaintively,
Now raving at mankind in general:
But whether sad or fierce, 'tis simple all,
All very simple, meek Simplicity.

 

Sonnet: To The River Otter

Dear native Brook! wild Streamlet of the West!
How many various-fated years have past,
What happy and what mournful hours, since last
I skimm'd the smooth thin stone along thy breast,
Numbering its light leaps! yet so deep imprest
Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes
I never shut amid the sunny ray,
But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,
Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey,
And bedded sand that vein'd with various dyes
Gleam'd through thy bright transparence! On my way,
Visions of Childhood! oft have ye beguil'd
Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
Ah! that once more I were a careless Child!

 

Tell's Birth-Place. Imitated From Stolberg

I.
Mark this holy chapel well!
The birth-place, this, of William Tell.
Here, where stands God's altar dread,
Stood his parent's marriage-bed.

II.
Here, first, an infant to her breast,
Him his loving mother prest;
And kissed the babe, and blessed the day,
And prayed as mothers used to pray.

III.
'Vouchsafe him health, O God! and give
The child thy servant still to live!'
But God had destined to do more
Through him than through an armed power.

IV.
God gave him reverence of laws,
Yet stirring blood in Freedom's cause--
A spirit to his rocks akin,
The eye of the hawk and the fire therein!

V.
To Nature and to Holy Writ
Alone did God the boy commit:
Where flashed and roared the torrent, oft
His soul found wings, and soared aloft!

VI.
The straining oar and chamois chase
Had formed his limbs to strength and grace:
On wave and wind the boy would toss,
Was great, nor knew how great he was!

VII.
He knew not that his chosen hand,
Made strong by God, his native land
Would rescue from the shameful yoke
Of Slavery -- the which he broke!

 

The Aeolian Harp

My pensive SARA ! thy soft cheek reclined
Thus on mine arm, most soothing sweet it is
To sit beside our Cot, our Cot o'ergrown
With white-flower'd Jasmin, and the broad-leav'd Myrtle,
(Meet emblems they of Innocence and Love !)
And watch the clouds, that late were rich with light,
Slow saddenning round, and mark the star of eve
Serenely brilliant (such should Wisdom be)
Shine opposite ! How exquisite the scents
Snatch'd from yon bean-field ! and the world so hush'd !
The stilly murmur of the distant Sea
Tells us of silence.

And that simplest Lute,
Plac'd length-ways in the clasping casement, hark !
How by the desultory breeze caress'd,
Like some coy maid half-yielding to her lover,
It pours such sweet upbraiding, as must needs
Tempt to repeat the wrong ! And now, its strings
Boldlier swept, the long sequacious notes
Over delicious surges sink and rise,
Such a soft floating witchery of sound
As twilight Elfins make, when they at eve
Voyage on gentle gales from Faery-Land,
Where Melodies round honey-dropping flowers,
Footless and wild, like birds of Paradise,
Nor pause, nor perch, hovering on untam'd wing !
O ! the one Life within us and abroad,
Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,
A light in sound, a sound-like power in light,
Rhythm in all thought, and joyance every where--
Methinks, it should have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so fill'd ;
Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air
Is Music slumbering on her instrument.

And thus, my Love ! as on the midway slope
Of yonder hill I stretch my limbs at noon,
Whilst thro' my half-clos'd eye-lids I behold
The sunbeams dance, like diamonds, on the main,
And tranquil muse upon tranquility ;
Full many a thought uncall'd and undetain'd,
And many idle flitting phantasies,
Traverse my indolent and passive brain,
As wild and various, as the random gales
That swell and flutter on this subject Lute !
And what if all of animated nature
Be but organic Harps diversly fram'd,
That tremble into thought, as o'er them sweeps
Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze,
At once the Soul of each, and God of all ?
But thy more serious eye a mild reproof
Darts, O beloved Woman ! nor such thoughts
Dim and unhallow'd dost thou not reject,
And biddest me walk humbly with my God.
Meek Daughter in the Family of Christ !
Well hast thou said and holily disprais'd
These shapings of the unregenerate mind ;
Bubbles that glitter as they rise and break
On vain Philosophy's aye-babbling spring.
For never guiltless may I speak of him,
The Incomprehensible ! save when with awe
I praise him, and with Faith that inly feels ;
Who with his saving mercies healed me,
A sinful and most miserable man,
Wilder'd and dark, and gave me to possess
Peace, and this Cot, and thee, heart-honour'd Maid!

 

The Alienated Mistress; A Madrigal. (From An Unfinished Melodrama)

Lady.
If Love be dead (and you aver it!)
Tell me, Bard! where Love lies buried.

Poet.
Love lies buried where 'twas born,
Ah, faithless nymph! think it no scorn
If in my fancy I presume
To name thy bosom poor Love's Tomb,
And on that Tomb to read the line,
Here lies a Love that once was mine,
But took a chill, as I divine,
And died at length of a decline.

The Ballad Of The Dark Ladie. A Fragment.
Beneath yon birch with silver bark,
And boughs so pendulous and fair,
The brook falls scatter'd down the rock:
And all is mossy there!

And there upon the moss she sits,
The Dark Ladie in silent pain;
The heavy tear is in her eye,
And drops and swells again.

Three times she sends her little page
Up the castled mountain's breast,
If he might find the Knight that wears
The Griffin for his crest.

The sun was sloping down the sky,
And she had linger'd there all day,
Counting moments, dreaming fears--
Oh wherefore can he stay?

She hears a rustling o'er the brook,
She sees far off a swinging bough!
''Tis He! 'Tis my betrothed Knight!
Lord Falkland, it is Thou!'

She springs, she clasps him round the neck,
She sobs a thousand hopes and fears,
Her kisses glowing on his cheeks
She quenches with her tears.

* * * * *

'My friends with rude ungentle words
They scoff and bid me fly to thee!
O give me shelter in thy breast!
O shield and shelter me!

'My Henry, I have given thee much,
I gave what I can ne'er recall,
I gave my heart, I gave my peace,
O Heaven! I gave thee all.'

The Knight made answer to the Maid,
While to his heart he held her hand,
'Nine castles hath my noble sire,
None statelier in the land.

'The fairest one shall be my love's,
The fairest castle of the nine!
Wait only till the stars peep out,
The fairest shall be thine:

'Wait only till the hand of eve
Hath wholly closed yon western bars,
And through the dark we two will steal
Beneath the twinkling stars!'--

'The dark? the dark? No! not the dark?
The twinkling stars? How, Henry? How?
O God! 'twas in the eye of noon
He pledged his sacred vow!

'And in the eye of noon my love
Shall lead me from my mother's door,
Sweet boys and girls all clothed in white
Strewing flowers before:

'But first the nodding minstrels go
With music meet for lordly bowers,
The children next in snow-white vests,
Strewing buds and flowers!

'And then my love and I shall pace,
My jet black hair in pearly braids,
Between our comely bachelors
And blushing bridal maids.'

 

The Blossing Of The Solitary Date-Tree

Beneath the blaze of a tropical sun the mountain peaks are the Thrones of
Frost, through the absence of objects to reflect the rays. `What no one
with us shares, seems scarce our own.' The presence of a ONE,

The best belov'd, who loveth me the best,

is for the heart, what the supporting air from within is for the hollow
globe with its suspended car. Deprive it of this, and all without, that
would have buoyed it aloft even to the seat of the gods, becomes a burthen
and crushes it into flatness.

II

The finer the sense for the beautiful and the lovely, and the fairer and
lovelier the object presented to the sense ; the more exquisite the
individual's capacity of joy, and the more ample his means and
opportunities of enjoyment, the more heavily will he feel the ache of
solitariness, the more unsubstantial becomes the feast spread around him.
What matters it, whether in fact the viands and the ministering graces are
shadowy or real, to him who has not hand to grasp nor arms to embrace them?

III

Hope, Imagination, honourable Aims,
Free Commune with the choir that cannot die,
Science and Song, delight in little things,
The buoyant child surviving in the man ;
Fields, forests, ancient mountains, ocean, sky,
With all their voices--O dare I accuse
My earthly lot as guilty of my spleen,
Or call my destiny niggard ! O no ! no !
It is her largeness, and her overflow,
Which being incomplete, disquieteth me so !

IV

For never touch of gladness stirs my heart,
But tim'rously beginning to rejoice
Like a blind Arab, that from sleep doth start
In lonesome tent, I listen for thy voice.
Beloved ! 'tis not thine ; thou art not there !
Then melts the bubble into idle air,
And wishing without hope I restlessly despair.

V

The mother with anticipated glee
Smiles o'er the child, that, standing by her chair
And flatt'ning its round cheek upon her knee,
Looks up, and doth its rosy lips prepare
To mock the coming sounds. At that sweet sight
She hears her own voice with a new delight ;
And if the babe perchance should lisp the notes aright,

VI

Then is she tenfold gladder than before!
But should disease or chance the darling take,
What then avail those songs, which sweet of yore
Were only sweet for their sweet echo's sake?
Dear maid ! no prattler at a mother's knee
Was e'er so dearly prized as I prize thee:
Why was I made for Love and Love denied to me?

 

The Complaint Of Ninathoma

How long will ye round me be swelling,
O ye blue-tumbling waves of the sea?
Not always in caves was my dwelling,
Nor beneath the cold blast of the tree.
Thro' the high-sounding halls of Cathloma
In the steps of my beauty I stray'd;
The warriors beheld Ninathoma,
And they blessed the white-bosomed maid!
A ghost! by my cavern it darted!
In moon-beams the spirit was drest--
For lovely appear the departed
When they visit the dreams of my rest!
But disturbed by the tempest's commotion
Fleet the shadowy forms of delight--
Ah, cease, thou shrill blast of the ocean!
To howl through my cavern by night.

 

The Devil's Thoughts

From his brimstone bed at break of day
A walking the DEVIL is gone,
To visit his little snug farm of the earth
And see how his stock went on.

Over the hill and over the dale,
And he went over the plain,
And backward and forward he swished his long tail
As a gentleman swishes his cane.

And how then was the Devil drest?
Oh! he was in his Sunday's best:
His jacket was red and his breeches were blue,
And there was a hole where the tail came through.

He saw a LAWYER killing a Viper
On a dung heap beside his stable,
And the Devil smiled, for it put him in mind
Of Cain and _his_ brother, Abel.

A POTHECARY on a white horse
Rode by on his vocations,
And the Devil thought of his old Friend
DEATH in the Revelations.

He saw a cottage with a double coach-house,
A cottage of gentility!
And the Devil did grin, for his darling sin
Is pride that apes humility.

He went into a rich bookseller's shop,
Quoth he! we are both of one college,
For I myself sate like a cormorant once
Fast by the tree of knowledge.

Down the river there plied, with wind and tide,
A pig with vast celerity;
And the Devil look'd wise as he saw how the while,
It cut its own throat. 'There!' quoth he with a smile,
'Goes 'England's commercial prosperity.''

As he went through Cold-Bath Fields he saw
A solitary cell;
And the Devil was pleased, for it gave him a hint
For improving his prisons in Hell.

* * * * * *

General ----------- burning face
He saw with consternation,
And back to hell his way did he take,
For the Devil thought by a slight mistake
It was general conflagration.

 

The Dungeon

And this place our forefathers made for man!
This is the process of our Love and Wisdom,
To each poor brother who offends against us--
Most innocent, perhaps--and what if guilty?
Is this the only cure? Merciful God!
Each pore and natural outlet shrivell'd up
By Ignorance and parching Poverty,
His energies roll back upon his heart,
And stagnate and corrupt; till chang'd to poison,
They break out on him, like a loathsome plague-spot;
Then we call in our pamper'd mountebanks--
And this is their best cure! uncomforted
And friendless Solitude, Groaning and Tears,
And savage Faces, at the clanking hour,
Seen through the steams and vapour of his dungeon,
By the lamp's dismal twilight! So he lies
Circled with evil, till his very soul
Unmoulds its essence, hopelessly deform'd
By sights of ever more deformity!

With other ministrations thou, O Nature !
Healest thy wandering and distemper'd child :
Thou pourest on him thy soft influences,
Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets,
Thy melodies of woods, and winds, and waters,
Till he relent, and can no more endure
To be a jarring and a dissonant thing,
Amid this general dance and minstrelsy ;
But, bursting into tears, wins back his way,
His angry spirit heal'd and harmoniz'd
By the benignant touch of Love and Beauty.

 

The Eolian Harp

(Composed at Clevedon, Somersetshire)

My pensive Sara! thy soft cheek reclined
Thus on mine arm, most soothing sweet it is
To sit beside our Cot, our Cot o'ergrown
With white-flower'd Jasmin, and the broad-leav'd Myrtle,
(Meet emblems they of Innocence and Love!)
And watch the clouds, that late were rich with light,
Slow saddening round, and mark the star of eve
Serenely brilliant (such should Wisdom be)
Shine opposite! How exquisite the scents
Snatch'd from yon bean-field! and the world so hushed!
The stilly murmur of the distant Sea
Tells us of silence.
And that simplest Lute,
Placed length-ways in the clasping casement, hark!
How by the desultory breeze caress'd,
Like some coy maid half yielding to her lover,
It pours such sweet upbraiding, as must needs
Tempt to repeat the wrong! And now, its strings
Boldlier swept, the long sequacious notes
Over delicious surges sink and rise,
Such a soft floating witchery of sound
As twilight Elfins make, when they at eve
Voyage on gentle gales from Fairy-Land,
Where Melodies round honey-dripping flowers,
Footless and wild, like birds of Paradise,
Nor pause, nor perch, hovering on untam'd wing!
O! the one Life within us and abroad,
Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,
A light in sound, a sound-like power in light,
Rhythm in all thought, and joyance every where
Methinks, it should have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so fill'd;
Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air
Is Music slumbering on her instrument.

And thus, my Love! as on the midway slope
Of yonder hill I stretch my limbs at noon,
Whilst through my half-clos'd eye-lids I behold
The sunbeams dance, like diamonds, on the main.
And tranquil muse upon tranquillity;
Full many a thought uncall'd and undetain'd,
And many idle flitting phantasies,
Traverse my indolent and passive brain,
As wild and various as the random gales
That swell and flutter on this subject Lute!
And what if all of animated nature
Be but organic Harps diversely fram'd,
That tremble into thought, as o'er them sweeps
Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze,
At once the Soul of each, and God of all?

But thy more serious eye a mild reproof
Darts, O beloved Woman! nor such thoughts
Dim and unhallow'd dost thou not reject,
And biddest me walk humbly with my God.
Meek Daughter in the family of Christ!
Well hast thou said and holily disprais'd
These shapings of the unregenerate mind;
Bubbles that glitter as they rise and break
On vain Philosophy's aye-babbling spring.
For never guiltless may I speak of him,
The Incomprehensible! save when with awe
I praise him, and with Faith that inly feels;
Who with his saving mercies healed me,
A sinful and most miserable man,
Wilder'd and dark, and gave me to possess
Peace, and this Cot, and thee, heart-honour'd Maid!

 

The Exchange

We pledged our hearts, my love and I,
I in my arms the maiden clasping;
I could not tell the reason why,
But, O, I trembled like an aspen!

Her father's love she bade me gain;
I went, and shook like any reed!
I strove to act the man---in vain!
We had exchanged our hearts indeed.

 

The Faded Flower

Ungrateful he, who pluck'd thee from thy stalk,
Poor faded flow'ret! on his careless way;
Inhal'd awhile thy odours on his walk,
Then onward pass'd and left thee to decay.
Ah! melancholy emblem! had I seen
Thy modest beauties dew'd with Evening's gem,
I had not rudely cropp'd thy parent stem,
But left thee, blushing, 'mid the enliven'd green.
And now I bend me o'er thy wither'd bloom,
And drop the tear - as Fancy, at my side,
Deep-sighing, points the fair frail Abra's tomb -
'Like thine, sad Flower, was that poor wanderer's pride!
Oh! lost to Love and Truth, whose selfish joy
Tasted her vernal sweets, but tasted to destroy!'

 

The Foster Mother's Tale. A Dramatic Fragment

Ter. But that entrance, Selma?
Sel. Can no one hear? It is a perilous tale!
Ter. No one.
Sel. My husband's father told it me,
Poor old Sesina -- angels rest his soul;
He was a woodman, and could fell and saw
With lusty arm. You know that huge round beam
Which props the hanging wall of the old chapel?
Beneath that tree, while yet it was a tree,
He found a baby wrapped in mosses, lined
With thistle-beards, and such small locks of wool
As hang on brambles. Well, he brought him home,
And reared him at the then Lord Valdez' cost,
And so the babe grew up a pretty boy,
A pretty boy, but nost unteachable--
And never learn'd a prayer, nor told a bead,
But knew the names of birds, and mocked their notes,
And whistled, as he were a bird himself.
And all the autumn 'twas his only play
To gather seeds of wild flowers, and to plant them
With earth and water on the stumps of trees.
A Friar, who gathered simples in the wood,
A gray-haired man, he loved this little boy:
The boy loved him, and, when the Friar taught him,
He soon could write with the pen; and from that time
Lived chiefly at the convent or the castle.
So he became a rare and learned youth:
But O! poor wretch! he read, and read, and read,
Till his brain turned; and ere his twentieth year
He had unlawful thoughts of many things:
And though he prayed, he never loved to pray
With holy men, nor in a holy place.
But yet his speech, it was so soft and sweet,
The late Lord Valdez ne'er was wearied with him.
And once, as by the north side of the chapel
They stood together chained in deep discourse,
The earth heaved under them with such a groan,
That the wall tottered, and had well nigh fallen
Right on their heads. My Lord was sorely frightened!
A fever seized him, and he made confession
Of all the heretical and lawless talk
Which brought this judgement: so the youth was seized
And cast into that hole. My husband's father
Sobbed like a child -- it almost broke his heart:
And once as he was working near this dungeon,
He heard a voice distinctly; 'twas the youth's,
Who sung a doleful song about green fields,
How sweet it were on lake or wide savanna
To hunt for food, and be a naked man,
And wander up and down at liberty.
He always doted on the youth, and now
His love grew desperate; and defying death,
He made that cunning entrance I described,
And the young man escaped.
Ter. 'Tis a sweet tale:
Such as would lull a listening child to sleep,
His rosy face besoiled with unwiped tears.
And what became of him?
Sel. He went on shipboard
With those bold voyagers who made discovery
Of golden lands. Sesina's younger brother
Went likewise, and when he returned to Spain,
He told Sesina, that the poor mad youth,
Soon after they arrived in that new world,
In spite of his dissuasion, seized a boat,
And all alone, set sail by silent moonlight
Up a great river, great as any sea,
And ne'er was heard of more: but 'tis supposed,
He lived and died among the savage men.

 

The Garden Of Boccaccio

[exerpt]
Of late, in one of those most weary hours,
When life seems emptied of all genial powers,
A dready mood, which he who ne'er has known
May bless his happy lot, I sate alone ;
And, from the numbing spell to win relief,
Call'd on the Past for thought of glee or grief.
In vain ! bereft alike of grief and glee,
I sate and cow'r'd o'er my own vacancy !
And as I watch'd the dull continuous ache,
Which, all else slumb'ring, seem'd alone to wake ;
O Friend ! long wont to notice yet conceal,
And soothe by silence what words cannot heal,
I but half saw that quiet hand of thine
Place on my desk this exquisite design.
Boccaccio's Garden and its faery,
The love, the joyaunce, and the gallantry !
An Idyll, with Boccaccio's spirit warm,
Framed in the silent poesy of form.

Like flocks adown a newly-bathed steep
Emerging from a mist : or like a stream
Of music soft that not dispels the sleep,
But casts in happier moulds the slumberer's dream,
Gazed by an idle eye with silent might
The picture stole upon my inward sight.
A tremulous warmth crept gradual o'er my chest,
As though an infant's finger touch'd my breast.
And one by one (I know not whence) were brought
All spirits of power that most had stirr'd my thought
In selfless boyhood, on a new world tost
Of wonder, and in its own fancies lost ;
Or charm'd my youth, that, kindled from above,
Loved ere it loved, and sought a form for love ;
Or lent a lustre to the earnest scan
Of manhood, musing what and whence is man !
...
And many a verse which to myself I sang,
That woke the tear, yet stole away the pang,
Of hopes, which in lamenting I renew'd :
...

Thanks, gentle artist ! now I can descry
Thy fair creation with a mastering eye,
And all awake ! And now in fix'd gaze stand,
Now wander through the Eden of thy hand ;
...
I see no longer ! I myself am there,
Sit on the ground-sward, and the banquet share.
'Tis I, that sweep that lute's love-echoing strings,
And gaze upon the maid who gazing sings :
Or pause and listen to the tinkling bells
From the high tower, and think that there she dwells.
With old Boccaccio's soul I stand possest,
And breathe an air like life, that swells my chest.
...

Still in thy garden let me watch their pranks,
...
With that sly satyr peeping through the leaves!

 

The Good, Great Man

"How seldom, friend! a good great man inherits
Honour or wealth with all his worth and pains!
It sounds like stories from the land of spirits
If any man obtain that which he merits
Or any merit that which he obtains."

Reply to the Above

For shame, dear friend, renounce this canting strain!
What would'st thou have a good great man obtain?
Place? titles? salary? a gilded chain?
Or throne of corses which his sword had slain?
Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends!
Hath he not always treasures, always friends,
The good great man? three treasures, LOVE, and LIGHT,
And CALM THOUGHTS, regular as infant's breath:
And three firm friends, more sure than day and night,
HIMSELF, his MAKER, and the ANGEL DEATH!

 

The Happy Husband

Oft, oft, methinks, the while with thee
I breathe, as from the heart, thy dear
And dedicated bame, I hear
A promise and a mystery,
A pledge of more than passing life,
Yea, in that very name of wife!

A pulse of love that ne'er can sleep!
A feeling that upbraids the heart
With happiness beyond desert,
That gladness half requests to weep!
Nor bless I not the keener sense
And unalarming turbulence.

Of transient joys, that ask no sting
From jealous fears, or coy denying;
But born beneath Love's brooding wing,
And into tenderness soon dying.
Wheel out their giddy moment, then
Resign the soul to love again;

A more precipitated vein
Of notes that eddy in the flow
Of smoothest song, they come, they go,
And leave their sweeter understrain
Its own sweet self-a love of thee
That seems, yet cannot greater be!

 

The Hour When We Shall Meet Again

Dim hour! that sleep'st on pillowing clouds afar,
O rise and yoke the turtles to thy car!
Bend o'er the traces, blame each ligering dove!
And give me to the bosom of my love!
My gentle love, caressing and carest,
With heaving heart shall cradle me to rest!
Shed the warm tear-drop from her smiling eyes,
Lull with fond woe, and med'cine me with sighs!
Chilled by the night, the drooping rose of May
Mourns the long absence of the lovely day;
Young day returning at her promised hour
Weps o'er the sorrows of her fav'rite flower;
Weeps the soft dew, the balmy gale she sighs,
And darts a trembling lustre from her eyes.
New life and joy th' expanding floweret feels:
His pitying mistress mourns, and mourning heals!

 

The Keepsake

The tedded hay, the first-fruits of the soil,
The tedded hay and corn-sheaves in one field,
Show summer gone, ere come. The foxglove tall
Sheds its loose purple bells, or in the gust,
Or when it bends beneath the up-springing lark,
Or mountain-finch alighting. And the rose
(In vain the darling of successful love)
Stands, like some boasted beauty of past years,
The thorns remaining, and the flowers all gone.
Nor can I find, amid my lonely walk
By rivulet, or spring, or wet road-side,
That blue and bright-eyed floweret of the brook,
Hope's gentle gem, the sweet Forget-me-not!
So will not fade the flowers which Emmeline
With delicate fingers on the snow-white silk
Has worked, (the flowers which most she knew I loved,)
And, more beloved than they, her auburn hair.

In the cool morning twilight, early waked
By her full bosom's joyous restlessness,
Softly she rose, and lightly stole along,
Down the slope coppice to the woodbine bower,
Whose rich flowers, swinging in the morning breeze
Over their dim fast-moving shadows hung,
Making a quiet image of disquiet
In the smooth, scarcely moving river-pool.
There, in that bower where first she owned her love,
And let me kiss my own warn tear of joy
From off her glowing cheek, she sate and stretched
The silk upon the frame, and worked her name
Between the Moss-Rose and Forget-me-not--
Her own dear name, with her own auburn hair!
That forced to wander till sweet spring return,
I yet might ne'er forget her smile, her look,
Her voice, (that even in her mirthful mood
Has made me wish to steal away and weep,)
Nor yet the entrancement of that maiden kiss
With which she promised, that when spring returned
She would resign one half of that dear name,
And own thenceforth no other name but mine!

 

The Knight's Tomb

Where is the grave of Sir Arthur O'Kellyn?
Where may the grave of that good man be?--
By the side of a spring, on the breast of Helvellyn,
Under the twigs of a young birch tree!
The oak that in summer was sweet to hear,
And rustled its leaves in the fall of the year,
And whistled and roared in the winter alone,
Is gone,--and the birch in its stead is grown.--
The Knight's bones are dust,
And his good sword rust;--
His soul is with the saints, I trust

 

The Lime-tree Bower my Prison [Addressed to Charles Lamb, o

Well, they are gone, and here must I remain,
This lime-tree bower my prison! I have lost
Beauties and feelings, such as would have been
Most sweet to my remembrance even when age
Had dimm'd mine eyes to blindness! They, meanwhile,
Friends, whom I never more may meet again,
On springy heath, along the hill-top edge,
Wander in gladness, and wind down, perchance,
To that still roaring dell, of which I told;
The roaring dell, o'erwooded, narrow, deep,
And only speckled by the mid-day sun;
Where its slim trunk the ash from rock to rock
Flings arching like a bridge;--that branchless ash,
Unsunn'd and damp, whose few poor yellow leaves
Ne'er tremble in the gale, yet tremble still,
Fann'd by the water-fall! and there my friends
Behold the dark green file of long lank weeds,
That all at once (a most fantastic sight!)
Still nod and drip beneath the dripping edge
Of the blue clay-stone.

Now, my friends emerge
Beneath the wide wide Heaven--and view again
The many-steepled tract magnificent
Of hilly fields and meadows, and the sea,
With some fair bark, perhaps, whose sails light up
The slip of smooth clear blue betwixt two Isles
Of purple shadow! Yes! they wander on
In gladness all; but thou, methinks, most glad,
My gentle-hearted Charles! for thou hast pined
And hunger'd after Nature, many a year,
In the great City pent, winning thy way
With sad yet patient soul, through evil and pain
And strange calamity! Ah! slowly sink
Behind the western ridge, thou glorious Sun!
Shine in the slant beams of the sinking orb,
Ye purple heath-flowers! richlier burn, ye clouds!
Live in the yellow light, ye distant groves!
And kindle, thou blue Ocean! So my friend
Struck with deep joy may stand, as I have stood,
Silent with swimming sense; yea, gazing round
On the wide landscape, gaze till all doth seem
Less gross than bodily; and of such hues
As veil the Almighty Spirit, when yet he makes
Spirits perceive his presence.

A delight
Comes sudden on my heart, and I am glad
As I myself were there! Nor in this bower,
This little lime-tree bower, have I not mark'd
Much that has sooth'd me. Pale beneath the blaze
Hung the transparent foliage; and I watch'd
Some broad and sunny leaf, and lov'd to see
The shadow of the leaf and stem above
Dappling its sunshine! And that walnut-tree
Was richly ting'd, and a deep radiance lay
Full on the ancient ivy, which usurps
Those fronting elms, and now, with blackest mass
Makes their dark branches gleam a lighter hue
Through the late twilight: and though now the bat
Wheels silent by, and not a swallow twitters,
Yet still the solitary humble-bee
Sings in the bean-flower! Henceforth I shall know
That Nature ne'er deserts the wise and pure;
No plot so narrow, be but Nature there,
No waste so vacant, but may well employ
Each faculty of sense, and keep the heart
Awake to Love and Beauty! and sometimes
'Tis well to be bereft of promis'd good,
That we may lift the soul, and contemplate
With lively joy the joys we cannot share.
My gentle-hearted Charles! when the last rook
Beat its straight path along the dusky air
Homewards, I blest it! deeming its black wing
(Now a dim speck, now vanishing in light)
Had cross'd the mighty Orb's dilated glory,
While thou stood'st gazing; or, when all was still,
Flew creeking o'er thy head, and had a charm
For thee, my gentle-hearted Charles, to whom
No sound is dissonant which tells of Life.

 

The Moon, how definite its orb! (fragment)

The Moon, how definite its orb!
Yet gaze again, and with a steady gaze--
'Tis there indeed,--but where is it not?--
It is suffused o'er all the sapphire Heaven,
Trees, herbage, snake-like stream, unwrinkled Lake,
Whose very murmur does of it partake
And low and close the broad smooth mountain
Is more a thing of Heaven than when
Distinct by one dim shade and yet undivided from the universal cloud
In which it towers, finite in height.

 

The Netherlands (fragment)

Water and windmills, greenness, Islets green;--
Willows whose Trunks beside the shadows stood
Of their own higher half, and willowy swamp:--
Farmhouses that at anchor seem'd--in the inland sky
The fog-transfixing Spires--
Water, wide water, greenness and green banks,
And water seen

 

The Nightingale

A Conversation Poem, April, 1798

No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
Of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues.
Come, we will rest on this old mossy bridge!
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring: it flows silently.
O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still.
A balmy night! and though the stars be dim,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
That gladden the green earth, and we shall find
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,
'Most musical, most melancholy' bird!
A melancholy bird? Oh! idle thought!
In Nature there is nothing melancholy.
But some night-wandering man whose heart was pierced
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love,
(And so, poor wretch! filled all things with himself,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrow) he, and such as he,
First named these notes a melancholy strain.
And many a poet echoes the conceit;
Poet who hath been building up the rhyme
When he had better far have stretched his limbs
Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell,
By sun or moon-light, to the influxes
Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
And of his fame forgetful! so his fame
Should share in Nature's immortality,
A venerable thing! and so his song
Should make all Nature lovelier, and itself
Be loved like Nature! But 'twill not be so;
And youths and maidens most poetical,
Who lose the deepening twilights of the spring
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.

My Friend, and thou, our Sister! we have learnt
A different lore: we may not thus profane
Nature's sweet voices, always full of love
And joyance! 'Tis the merry Nightingale
That crowds and hurries, and precipitates
With fast thick warble his delicious notes,
As he were fearful that an April night
Would be too short for him to utter forth
His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
Of all its music!
And I know a grove
Of large extent, hard by a castle huge,
Which the great lord inhabits not; and so
This grove is wild with tangling underwood,
And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths.
But never elsewhere in one place I knew
So many nightingales; and far and near,
In wood and thicket, over the wide grove,
They answer and provoke each other's song,
With skirmish and capricious passagings,
And murmurs musical and swift jug jug,
And one low piping sound more sweet than all
Stirring the air with such a harmony,
That should you close your eyes, you might almost
Forget it was not day! On moonlight bushes,
Whose dewy leaflets are but half-disclosed,
You may perchance behold them on the twigs,
Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright and full,
Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the shade
Lights up her love-torch.
A most gentle Maid,
Who dwelleth in her hospitable home
Hard by the castle, and at latest eve
(Even like a Lady vowed and dedicate
To something more than Nature in the grove)
Glides through the pathways; she knows all their notes,
That gentle Maid! and oft, a moment's space,
What time the moon was lost behind a cloud,
Hath heard a pause of silence; till the moon
Emerging, a hath awakened earth and sky
With one sensation, and those wakeful birds
Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
As if some sudden gale had swept at once
A hundred airy harps! And she hath watched
Many a nightingale perch giddily
On blossomy twig still swinging from the breeze,
And to that motion tune his wanton song
Like tipsy Joy that reels with tossing head.

Farewell! O Warbler! till tomorrow eve,
And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell!
We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
And now for our dear homes.That strain again!
Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe,
Who, capable of no articulate sound,
Mars all things with his imitative lisp,
How he would place his hand beside his ear,
His little hand, the small forefinger up,
And bid us listen! And I deem it wise
To make him Nature's play-mate. He knows well
The evening-star; and once, when he awoke
In most distressful mood (some inward pain
Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream)
I hurried with him to our orchard-plot,
And he beheld the moon, and, hushed at once,
Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
While his fair eyes, that swam with undropped tears,
Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam! Well!
It is a father's tale: But if that Heaven
Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up
Familiar with these songs, that with the night
He may associate joy. Once more, farewell,
Sweet Nightingale! once more, my friends! farewell.

 

The Night-Scene : A Dramatic Fragment.

Sandoval. You loved the daughter of Don Manrique?
Earl Henry. Loved?
Sandoval. Did you not say you wooed her?
Earl Henry. Once I loved
Her whom I dared not woo!
Sandoval. And wooed, perchance,
One whom you loved not!
Earl Henry. Oh! I were most base,
Not loving Oropeza. True, I wooed her,
Hoping to heal a deeper wound; but she
Met my advances with impassioned pride,
That kindled love with love. And when her sire,
Who in his dream of hope already grasped
The golden circlet in his hand, rejected
My suit with insult, and in memory
Of ancient feuds poured curses on my head,
Her blessings overtook and baffled them!
But thou art stern, and with unkindly countenance
Art inly reasoning whilst thou listenest to me.
Sandoval. Anxiously, Henry! reasoning anxiously.
But Oropeza --
Earl Henry.
Blessings gather round her!
Within this wood there winds a secret passage,
Beneath the walls, which opens out at length
Into the gloomiest covert of the garden. --
The night ere my departure to the army,
She, nothing trembling, led me through that gloom,
And to that covert by a silent stream,
Which, with one star reflected near its marge,
Was the sole object visible around me.
No leaflet stirred; the air was almost sultry;
So deep, so dark, so close, the umbrage o'er us!
No leaflet stirred; -- yet pleasure hung upon
The gloom and stillness of the balmy night-air.
A little further on an arbour stood,
Fragrant with flowering trees -- I well remember
What an uncertain glimmer in the darkness
Their snow-white blossoms made -- thither she led me,
To that sweet bower! Then Oropeza trembled --
I heard her heart beat -- if 'twere not my own.
Sandoval. A rude and scaring note, my friend!
Earl Henry. Oh! no!
I have small memory of aught but pleasure.
The inquietudes of fear, like lesser streams
Still flowing, still were lost in those of love:
So love grew mightier from the fear, and Nature,
Fleeing from pain, sheltered herself in joy.
The stars above our heads were dim and steady,
Like eyes suffused with rapture. -- Life was in us:
We were all life, each atom of our frames
A living soul -- I vowed to die for her:
With the faint voice of one who, having spoken,
Relapses into blessedness, I vowed it:
That solemn vow, a whisper scarcely heard,
A murmur breathed against a lady's ear.
Oh! there is joy above the name of pleasure,
Deep self-possession, an intense repose.
Sandoval [with a sarcastic smile]. No other than as eastern sages paint,
The God, who floats upon a lotos leaf,
Dreams for a thousand ages; then awaking,
Creates a world, and smiling at the bubble,
Relapses into bliss.
Earl Henry. Ah! was that bliss
Feared as an alien, and too vast for man?
For suddenly, impatient of its silence,
Did Oropeza, starting, grasp my forehead.
I caught her arms; the veins were swelling on them.
Through the dark bower she sent a hollow voice; --
`Oh! what if all betray me? what if thou?'
I swore, and with an inward thought that seemed
The purpose and the substance of my being,
I swore to her, that were she red with guilt,
I would exchange my unblenched state with hers. --
Friend! by that winding passage, to that bower
I now will go -- all objects there will teach me
Unwavering love, and singleness of heart.
Go, Sandoval! I am prepared to meet her --
Say nothing of me -- I myself will seek her --
Nay, leave me, friend! I cannot bear the torment
And keen inquiry of that scanning eye. --

[Earl Henry retires into the wood.]

Sandoval [alone]. O Henry! always striv'st thou to be great
By thine own act -- yet art thou never great
But by the inspiration of great passion.
The whirl-blast comes, the desert-sands rise up
And shape themselves: from earth to heaven they stand,
As though they were the pillars of a temple,
Built by Omnipotence in its own honour!
But the blast pauses, and their shaping spirit
Is fled: the mighty columns were but sand,
And lazy snakes trail o'er the level ruins!

 

The Pains Of Sleep

Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,
It hath not been my use to pray
With moving lips or bended knees ;
But silently, by slow degrees,
My spirit I to Love compose,
In humble trust mine eye-lids close,
With reverential resignation,
No wish conceived, no thought exprest,
Only a sense of supplication ;
A sense o'er all my soul imprest
That I am weak, yet not unblest,
Since in me, round me, every where
Eternal Strength and Wisdom are.

But yester-night I prayed aloud
In anguish and in agony,
Up-starting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me :
A lurid light, a trampling throng,
Sense of intolerable wrong,
And whom I scorned, those only strong !
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will
Still baffled, and yet burning still !
Desire with loathing strangely mixed
On wild or hateful objects fixed.
Fantastic passions ! maddening brawl !
And shame and terror over all !
Deeds to be hid which were not hid,
Which all confused I could not know
Whether I suffered, or I did :
For all seemed guilt, remorse or woe,
My own or others still the same
Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame.

So two nights passed : the night's dismay
Saddened and stunned the coming day.
Sleep, the wide blessing, seemed to me
Distemper's worst calamity.
The third night, when my own loud scream
Had waked me from the fiendish dream,
O'ercome with sufferings strange and wild,
I wept as I had been a child ;
And having thus by tears subdued
My anguish to a milder mood,
Such punishments, I said, were due
To natures deepliest stained with sin,--
For aye entempesting anew
The unfathomable hell within,
The horror of their deeds to view,
To know and loathe, yet wish and do !
Such griefs with such men well agree,
But wherefore, wherefore fall on me ?
To be beloved is all I need,
And whom I love, I love indeed.

 

The Pang More Sharp Than All. An Allegory

I.
He too has flitted from his secret nest,
Hope's last and dearest child without a name!--
Has flitted from me, like the warmthless flame,
That makes false promise of a place of rest
To the tired Pilgrim's still believing mind;--
Or like some Elfin Knight in kingly court,
Who having won all guerdons in his sport,
Glides out of view, and whither none can find!

II.
Yes! he hath flitted from me--with what aim,
Or why, I know not! 'Twas a home of bliss,
And he was innocent, as the pretty shame
Of babe, that tempts and shuns the menaced kiss,
From its twy-cluster'd hiding place of snow!
Pure as the babe, I ween, and all aglow
As the dear hopes, that swell the mother's breast--
Her eyes down gazing o'er her clasped charge;--
Yet gay as that twice happy father's kiss,
That well might glance aside, yet never miss,
Where the sweet mark emboss'd so sweet a targe--
Twice wretched he who hath been doubly blest!

III.
Like a loose blossom on a gusty night
He flitted from me--and has left behind
(As if to them his faith he ne'er did plight)
Of either sex and answerable mind
Two playmates, twin-births of his foster-dame:--
The one a steady lad (Esteem he hight)
And Kindness is the gentler sister's name.
Dim likeness now, though fair she be and good,
Of that bright boy who hath us all forsook;--
But in his full-eyed aspect when she stood,
And while her face reflected every look,
And in reflection kindled--she became
So like him, that almost she seem'd the same!

IV.
Ah! he is gone, and yet will not depart!--
Is with me still, yet I from him exiled!
For still there lives within my secret heart
The magic image of the magic Child,
Which there he made up-grow by his strong art,
As in that crystal orb--wise Merlin's feat,--
The wondrous 'World of Glass,' wherein inisled
All long'd for things their beings did repeat;--
And there he left it, like a Sylph beguiled,
To live and yearn and languish incomplete!

V.
Can wit of man a heavier grief reveal?
Can sharper pang from hate or scorn arise?--
Yes! one more sharp there is that deeper lies,
Which fond Esteem but mocks when he would heal.
Yet neither scorn nor hate did it devise,
But sad compassion and atoning zeal!
One pang more blighting-keen than hope betray'd!
And this it is my woeful hap to feel,
When, at her Brother's hest, the twin-born Maid
With face averted and unsteady eyes,
Her truant playmate's faded robe puts on;
And inly shrinking from her own disguise
Enacts the faery Boy that's lost and gone.
O worse than all! O pang all pangs above
Is Kindness counterfeiting absent Love.

 

The Presence Of Love

And in Life's noisiest hour,
There whispers still the ceaseless Love of Thee,
The heart's Self-solace and soliloquy.

You mould my Hopes, you fashion me within ;
And to the leading Love-throb in the Heart
Thro' all my Being, thro' my pulses beat ;
You lie in all my many Thoughts, like Light,
Like the fair light of Dawn, or summer Eve
On rippling Stream, or cloud-reflecting Lake.
And looking to the Heaven, that bends above you,
How oft ! I bless the Lot, that made me love you.

 

The Raven. Christmas Tale, Told By A School-Boy To His Little Brothers And Sisters

Underneath an old oak tree
There was of swine a huge company
That grunted as they crunched the mast
For that was ripe, and fell full fast.
Then they trotted away, for the wind grew high:
One acorn they left, and no more might you spy.
Next came a Raven, that liked not such folly
He belonged, they did say, to the witch Melancholy!
Blacker was he than blackest jet,
Flew low in the rain, and his feathers not wet
He picked up the acorn and buried it straight
By the side of a river both deep and great.
Where then did the Raven go?
He went high and low
Over hill, over dale, did the black Raven go.
Many Autumns, many Springs
Traveled he with wandering wings:
Many summers, many Winters
I can't tell half his adventures.

At length he came back, and with him a She
And the acorn was grown to a tall oak tree.
They built them a nest in the topmost bough,
And young ones they had, and were happy enow.
But soon came a Woodman in leathern guise,
His brow, like a pent-house, hung over his eyes.
He'd an axe in his hand, not a word he spoke,
But with many a hem! and a sturdy stroke,
At length he brought down the poor Raven's own oak.
His young ones were killed; for they could not depart,
And their mother did die of a broken heart.
The boughs from the trunk the Woodman did sever;
And they floated it down on the course of the river.
They sawed it in planks, and its bark they did strip,
And with this tree and others they made a good ship.
The ship, it was launched; but in sight of the land
Such a storm there did rise as no ship would withstand.
It bulged on a rock, and the waves rush'd in fast;
Round and round flew the Raven, and cawed to the blast.
He heard the last shriek of the perishing souls--
See! see! o'er the topmast the mad water rolls!

Right glad was the Raven, and off he went fleet,
And Death riding home on a cloud he did meet,
And he thank'd him again and again for this treat:
They had taken his all; and Revenge it was sweet!

 

The Rose

As late each flower that sweetest blows
I pluck'd, the Garden's pride!
Within the petals of a Rose
A sleeping Love I 'spied.

Around his brows a beamy wreath
Of many a lucent hue;
All purple glow'd his cheek, beneath,
Inebriate with the dew.

I softly seiz'd th' unguarded Power,
Nor scar'd his balmy rest:
And plac'd him, cag'd within the flower,
On spotless Sara's breast.

But when unweeting of the guile
Awoke the pris'ner sweet,
He struggled to escape awhile
And stamp'd his faery feet.

Ah! soon the soul entrancing sight
Subdued th' impatient boy!
He gaz'd! he thrill'd with deep delight!
Then clapp'd his wings for joy.

'And O!' he cried -- 'Of magic kind
What charms this Throne endear!
Some other Love let Venus find
I'll fix my empire here.'

 

The Sigh

I.
When youth his fairy reign began,
Ere sorrow had proclaimed me man;
While peace the present hour beguiled,
And all the lovely prospect smiled;
Then, Mary! 'mid my lightsome glee
I heaved the painless sigh for thee.

II.
And when, as tossed on waves of woe,
My harassed heart was doomed to know
The frantic burst, the outrage keen,
And the slow pang that gnaws unseen;
Then shipwrecked on life's stormy sea,
I heaved an anguish'd sigh for thee!

III.
But soon reflection's power imprest
A stiller sadness on my breast;
And sickly hope with waning eye
Was well content to droop and die:
I yielded to the stern decree,
Yet heaved a languid sigh for thee!

IV.
And tho' in distant climes to roam,
A wanderer from my native home,
I feign would soothe the sense of care
And lull to sleep the joys, that were!
Thy image may not banished be--
Still, Mary! still I sigh for thee.

 

The Suicide's Argument

Ere the birth of my life, if I wished it or no
No question was asked me--it could not be so !
If the life was the question, a thing sent to try
And to live on be YES; what can NO be ? to die.

NATURE'S ANSWER

Is't returned, as 'twas sent ? Is't no worse for the wear?
Think first, what you ARE ! Call to mind what you WERE!
I gave you innocence, I gave you hope,
Gave health, and genius, and an ample scope,
Return you me guilt, lethargy, despair?
Make out the invent'ry ; inspect, compare!
Then die--if die you dare!

 

The Three Sorts of Friends (fragment)

Though friendships differ endless in degree ,
The sorts , methinks, may be reduced to three.
Ac quaintance many, and Con quaintance few;
But for In quaintance I know only two--
The friend I've mourned with, and the maid I woo!

 

The Two Founts. Stanzas Addressed To A Lady On Her Recovery, With Unblemished Looks, From A Severe Attack of Pain

'Twas my last waking thought, how it could be,
That thou, sweet friend, such anguish should'st endure
When straight from Dreamland came a dwarf, and he
Could tell the cause, forsooth, and knew the cure.

Methought he fronted me with peering look
Fixed on my heart; and read aloud in game
The loves and griefs therein, as from a book;
And uttered praise like one who wished to blame.

In every heart (quoth he) since Adam's sin
Two Founts there are, of Suffering and of Cheer!
That to let forth, and this to keep within!
But she, whose aspect I find imaged here,

Of Pleasure only will to all dispense,
That Fount alone unlock, by no distress
Choked or turned inward; but still issue thence
Unconquered cheer, persistent loveliness.

As on the driving cloud the shiny Bow,
That gracious thing made up of tears and light,
Mid the wild rack and rain that slants below
Stands smiling forth, unmoved and freshly bright:

As though the spirits of all lovely flowers,
In weaving each its wreath and dewy crown,
Or e'er they sank to earth in vernal showers,
Had built a bridge to tempt the angels down.

Ev'n so, Eliza! on that face of thine,
On that benignant face, whose look alone
(The soul's translucence through her crystal shrine!)
Has power to soothe all anguish but thine own.

A beauty hovers still, and ne'er takes wing,
But with a silent charm compels the stern
And tort'ring Genius of the Bitter Spring,
To shrink aback, and cower upon his urn.

Who then needs wonder, if (no outlet found
In passion, spleen, or strife,) the Fount Of Pain
O'erflowing beats against its lovely mound,
And in wild flashes shoots from heart to brain?

Sleep, and the Dwarf with that unsteady gleam
On his raised lip, that aped a critic smile,
Had passed: yet I, my sad thoughts to beguile,
Lay weaving on the tissue of my dream:

Till audibly at length I cried, as though
Thou hadst indeed been present to my eyes,
O sweet, sweet sufferer! if the case be so,
I pray thee, be less good, less sweet, less wise!

In every look a barbed arrow send,
On those soft lips let scorn and anger live!
Do any thing, rather than thus, sweet friend!
Hoard for thyself the pain, thou wilt not give!

 

The Virgin's Cradle-Hymn. Copied From A Print Of The Virgin, In A Roman Catholic Village In Germany

Dormi, Jesu! Mater ridet
Quae tam dulcem somnum videt,
Dormi, Jesu! blandule!
Si non dormis, Mater plorat,
Inter fila cantans orat,
Blande, veni, somnule.

ENGLISH.

Sleep, sweet babe! my cares beguiling:
Mother sits beside thee smiling;
Sleep, my darling, tenderly!
If thou sleep not, mother mourneth,
Singing as her wheel she turneth:
Come, soft slumber, balmily!

 

The Visionary Hope

Sad lot, to have no Hope! Though lowly kneeling
He fain would frame a prayer within his breast,
Would fain entreat for some sweet breath of healing,
That his sick body might have ease and rest;
He strove in vain! the dull sighs from his chest
Against his will the stifling load revealing,
Though Nature forced; though like some captive guest,
Some royal prisoner at his conqueror's feast,
An alien's restless mood but half concealing,
The sternness on his gentle brow confessed,
Sickness within and miserable feeling:
Though obscure pangs made curses of his dreams,
And dreaded sleep, each night repelled in vain,
Each night was scattered by its own loud screams:
Yet never could his heart command, though fain,
One deep full wish to be no more in pain.
That Hope, which was his inward bliss and boast,
Which waned and died, yet ever near him stood,
Though changed in nature, wander where he would--
For Love's Despair is but Hope's pining Ghost!
For this one hope he makes his hourly moan,
He wishes and can wish for this alone!
Pierced, as with light from Heaven, before its gleams
(So the love-stricken visionary deems)
Disease would vanish, like a summer shower,
Whose dews fling sunshine from the noon-tide bower!
Or let it stay! yet this one Hope should give
Such strength that he would bless his pains and live.

 

The Visit Of The Gods. Imitated From Schiller

Never, believe me,
Appear the Immortals,
Never alone:
Scarce had I welcomed the Sorrow-beguiler,
Iacchus! but in came Boy Cupid the Smiler;
Lo! Phoebus the Glorious descends from his throne!
They advance, they float in, the Olympians all!
With Divinities fills my
Terrestrial hall!

How shall I yield you
Due entertainment,
Celestial quire?
Me rather, bright guests! with your wings of upbuoyance
Bear aloft to your homes, to your banquets of joyance,
That the roofs of Olympus may echo my lyre!
Hah! we mount! on their pinions they waft up my soul!
O give me the nectar!
O fill me the bowl!

Give him the nectar!
Pour out for the poet,
Hebe! pour free!
Quicken his eyes with celestial dew,
That Styx the detested no more he may view,
And like one of us Gods may conceit him to be!
Thanks, Hebe! I quaff it! Io Paean, I cry!
The wine of the Immortals
Forbids me to die!

 

This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison

Well, they are gone, and here must I remain,
This lime-tree bower my prison ! I have lost
Beauties and feelings, such as would have been
Most sweet to my remembrance even when age
Had dimm'd mine eyes to blindness ! They, meanwhile,
Friends, whom I never more may meet again,
On springy heath, along the hill-top edge,
Wander in gladness, and wind down, perchance,
To that still roaring dell, of which I told ;
The roaring dell, o'erwooded, narrow, deep,
And only speckled by the mid-day sun ;
Where its slim trunk the ash from rock to rock
Flings arching like a bridge ;--that branchless ash,
Unsunn'd and damp, whose few poor yellow leaves
Ne'er tremble in the gale, yet tremble still,
Fann'd by the water-fall ! and there my friends
Behold the dark green file of long lank weeds,
That all at once (a most fantastic sight !)
Still nod and drip beneath the dripping edge
Of the blue clay-stone.

[Image][Image][Image]Now, my friends emerge
Beneath the wide wide Heaven--and view again
The many-steepled tract magnificent
Of hilly fields and meadows, and the sea,
With some fair bark, perhaps, whose sails light up
The slip of smooth clear blue betwixt two Isles
Of purple shadow ! Yes ! they wander on
In gladness all ; but thou, methinks, most glad,
My gentle-hearted Charles ! for thou hast pined
And hunger'd after Nature, many a year,
In the great City pent, winning thy way
With sad yet patient soul, through evil and pain
And strange calamity ! Ah ! slowly sink
Behind the western ridge, thou glorious Sun !
Shine in the slant beams of the sinking orb,
Ye purple heath-flowers ! richlier burn, ye clouds !
Live in the yellow light, ye distant groves !
And kindle, thou blue Ocean ! So my friend
Struck with deep joy may stand, as I have stood,
Silent with swimming sense ; yea, gazing round
On the wide landscape, gaze till all doth seem
Less gross than bodily ; and of such hues
As veil the Almighty Spirit, when yet he makes
Spirits perceive his presence.

[Image][Image][Image][Image]A delight
Comes sudden on my heart, and I am glad
As I myself were there ! Nor in this bower,
This little lime-tree bower, have I not mark'd
Much that has sooth'd me. Pale beneath the blaze
Hung the transparent foliage ; and I watch'd
Some broad and sunny leaf, and lov'd to see
The shadow of the leaf and stem above
Dappling its sunshine ! And that walnut-tree
Was richly ting'd, and a deep radiance lay
Full on the ancient ivy, which usurps
Those fronting elms, and now, with blackest mass
Makes their dark branches gleam a lighter hue
Through the late twilight : and though now the bat
Wheels silent by, and not a swallow twitters,
Yet still the solitary humble-bee
Sings in the bean-flower ! Henceforth I shall know
That Nature ne'er deserts the wise and pure ;
No plot so narrow, be but Nature there,
No waste so vacant, but may well employ
Each faculty of sense, and keep the heart
Awake to Love and Beauty ! and sometimes
'Tis well to be bereft of promis'd good,
That we may lift the soul, and contemplate
With lively joy the joys we cannot share.
My gentle-hearted Charles ! when the last rook
Beat its straight path across the dusky air
Homewards, I blest it ! deeming its black wing
(Now a dim speck, now vanishing in light)
Had cross'd the mighty Orb's dilated glory,
While thou stood'st gazing ; or, when all was still,
Flew creeking o'er thy head, and had a charm
For thee, my gentle-hearted Charles, to whom
No sound is dissonant which tells of Life.

 

This Lime-Tree Bower, My Prison

Well, they are gone, and here must I remain,
This lime-tree bower my prison! I have lost
Beauties and feelings, such as would have been
Most sweet to my remembrance even when age
Had dimm'd mine eyes to blindness! They, meanwhile,
Friends, whom I never more may meet again,
On springy heath, along the hill-top edge,
Wander in gladness, and wind down, perchance,
To that still roaring dell, of which I told;
The roaring dell, o'erwooded, narrow, deep,
And only speckled by the mid-day sun;
Where its slim trunk the ash from rock to rock
Flings arching like a bridge; -- that branchless ash,
Unsunn'd and damp, whose few poor yellow leaves
Ne'er tremble in the gale, yet tremble still,
Fann'd by the water-fall! and there my friends
Behold the dark green file of long lank weeds,
That all at once (a most fantastic sight!)
Still nod and drip beneath the dripping edge
Of the blue clay-stone.
Now, my friends emerge
Beneath the wide wide Heaven -- and view again
The many-steepled tract magnificent
Of hilly fields and meadows, and the sea,
With some fair bark, perhaps, whose sails light up
The slip of smooth clear blue betwixt two Isles
Of purple shadow! Yes! they wander on
In gladness all; but thou, methinks, most glad,
My gentle-hearted Charles! for thou hast pined
And hunger'd after Nature, many a year,
In the great City pent, winning thy way
With sad yet patient soul, through evil and pain
And strange calamity! Ah! slowly sink
Behind the western ridge, thou glorious Sun!
Shine in the slant beams of the sinking orb,
Ye purple heath-flowers! richlier burn, ye clouds!
Live in the yellow light, ye distant groves!
And kindle, thou blue Ocean! So my friend
Struck with deep joy may stand, as I have stood,
Silent with swimming sense; yea, gazing round
On the wide landscape, gaze till all doth seem
Less gross than bodily; and of such hues
As veil the Almighty Spirit, when yet he makes
Spirits perceive his presence.
A delight
Comes sudden on my heart, and I am glad
As I myself were there! Nor in this bower,
This little lime-tree bower, have I not mark'd
Much that has sooth'd me. Pale beneath the blaze
Hung the transparent foliage; and I watch'd
Some broad and sunny leaf, and lov'd to see
The shadow of the leaf and stem above
Dappling its sunshine! And that walnut-tree
Was richly ting'd, and a deep radiance lay
Full on the ancient ivy, which usurps
Those fronting elms, and now, with blackest mass
Makes their dark branches gleam a lighter hue
Through the late twilight; and though now the bat
Wheels silent by, and not a swallow twitters,
Yet still the solitary humble-bee
Sings in the bean-flower! Henceforth I shall know
That Nature ne'er deserts the wise and pure;
No plot so narrow, be but Nature there,
No waste so vacant, but may well employ
Each faculty of sense, and keep the heart
Awake to Love and Beauty! and sometimes
'Tis well to be bereft of promis'd good,
That we may lift the soul, and contemplate
With lively joy the joys we cannot share.
My gentle-hearted Charles! when the last rook
Beat its straight path along the dusky air
Homewards, I blest it! deeming its black wing
(Now a dim speck, now vanishing in light)
Had cross'd the mighty Orb's dilated glory,
While thou stood'st gazing; or, when all was still,
Flew creaking o'er thy head, and had a charm
For thee, my gentle-hearted Charles, to whom
No sound is dissonant which tells of Life.

 

Time, Real And Imaginary

On the wide level of a mountain's head,
(I knew not where, but 'twas some faery place)
Their pinions, ostrich-like, for sails out-spread,
Two lovely children run an endless race,
A sister and a brother !
This far outstripp'd the other ;
Yet ever runs she with reverted face,
And looks and listens for the boy behind :
[Image] For he, alas ! is blind !
O'er rough and smooth with even step he passed,
And knows not whether he be first or last.

 

Time, Real and Imaginary, an allegory

ON the wide level of a mountain's head
(I knew not where, but 'twas some faery place),
Their pinions, ostrich-like, for sails outspread,
Two lovely children run an endless race,
A sister and a brother!
This far outstripp'd the other;
Yet ever runs she with reverted face,
And looks and listens for the boy behind:
For he, alas! is blind!
O'er rough and smooth with even step he pass'd,
And knows not whether he be first or last.

 

To A Friend Who Had Declared His Intention Of Writing No More Poetry

Dear Charles! whilst yet thou wert a babe, I ween
That Genius plunged thee in that wizard fount
High Castalie: and (sureties of thy faith)
That Pity and Simplicity stood by.
And promised for thee that thou shouldst renounce
The world's low cares and lying vanities,
Steadfast and rooted in the heavenly Muse,
And washed and sanctified to Poesy.
Yes -- thou wert plunged but with forgetful hand
Held, as by Thetis erst her warrior son:
And with those recreant unbaptized heels
Thou'rt flying from thy bounden minist'ries--
So sore it seems and burthensome a task
To weave unwithering flowers! But take thou heed:
For thou art vulnerable, wild-eyed boy,
And I have arrows mystically dipt,
Such as may stop thy speed. Is thy Burns dead?
And shall he die unwept, and sink to earth
'Without the meed of one melodious tear?'
Thy Burns, and Nature's own beloved bard,
Who to the 'Illustrious of his native Land,
So properly did look for patronage.'
Ghost of Maecenas! hide thy blushing face!
They snatched him from the sickle and the plough--
To gauge ale-firkins.
Oh! for shame return!
On a bleak rock, midway the Aonian mount,
There stands a lone and melancholy tree,
Whose aged branches to the midnight blast
Make solemn music: pluck its darkest bough,
Ere yet the unwholesome night-dew be exhaled,
And weeping wreath it round thy Poet's tomb.
Then in the outskirts, where pollutions grow,
Pick the rank henbane and the dusky flowers
Of night-shade, or its red and tempting fruit,
These with stopped nostril and glove-guarded hand
Knit in nice intertexture, so to twine,
The illustrious brow of Scotch Nobility.

 

To A Friend, In Answer To A Melancholy Letter

Away, those cloudy looks, that lab'ring sigh,
The peevish offspring of a sickly hour!
Nor meanly thus complain of fortune's power,
When the blind gamester throws a luckless die.

Yon setting sun flashes a mournful gleam
Behind those broken clouds, his stormy train:
To-morrow shall the many-colord main
In brightness roll beneath his orient beam!

Wild as th' autumnal gust, the hand of Time
Flies o'er his mystic lyre! in shadowy dance
Th' alternate groups of joy and grief advance,
Responsive to his varying strains sublime!

Bears on its wing each hour a load of fate.
The swain, who lulled by Seine's wild murmurs, led
His weary oxen to their nightly shed,
To-day may rule a tempest-troubled State.

Nor shall not fortune with a vengeful smile
Survey the sanguinary despot's might,
And haply hurl the pageant from his height,
Unwept to wander in some savage isle.

There, shiv'ring sad beneath the tempest's frown,
Round his tired limbs to wrap the purple vest;
And mixed with nails and beads, an equal jest!
Barter for food the jewels of his crown.

 

To A Friend, With An Unfinished Poem

Thus far my scanty brain hath built the rhyme
Elaborate and swelling; yet the heart
Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing powers
I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse
Tedious to thee, and from thy anxious thought
Of dissonant mood. In fancy (well I know)
From business wand'ring far and local cares,
Thou creepest round a dear-loved sister's bed
With noiseless step, and watchest the faint look,
Soothing each pang with fond solicitude,
And tenderest tones medicinal of love.
I, too, a sister had, an only sister --
She loved me dearly, and I doted on her;
To her I pour'd forth all my puny sorrows;
(As a sick patient in a nurse's arms,)
And of the heart those hidden maladies
That e'en from friendship's eye will shrink ashamed.
O! I have waked at midnight, and have wept
Because she was not! Cheerily, dear Charles!
Thou thy best friend shalt cherish many a year;
Such warm presages feel I of high hope!
For not uninterested the dear maid
I've view'd her soul affectionate yet wise,
Her polish'd wit as mild as lambent glories
That play around a sainted infant's head.
He knows (the Spirit that in secret sees,
Of whose omniscient and all-spreading love
Aught to implore were impotence of mind!)
That my mute thoughts are sad before his throne,
Prepared, when He his healing ray vouchsafes,
Thanksgiving to pour forth with lifted heart,
And praise him gracious with a brother's joy!

 

To A Lady, Offended By A Sportive Observation That Women Have No Souls

Nay, dearest Anna! why so grave?
I said, you had no soul, 'tis true!
For what you are, you cannot have:
'Tis I, that have one since I first had you!

I have heard of reasons manifold
Why Love must needs be blind,
But this the best of all I hold--
His eyes are in his mind.

What outward form and feature are
He guesseth but in part;
But what within is good and fair
He seeth with the heart.

 

To A Lady, With Falconer's 'Shipwreck'

Oh! not by Cam or Isis, famous streams
In arched groves, the youthful poet's choice;
Nor while half-listening, mid delicious dreams,
To harp and song from lady's hand and voice;

Nor yet while gazing in sublimer mood
On cliff, or cataract, in Alpine dell;
Nor in dim cave with bladdery sea-weed strewed,
Framing wild fancies to the ocean's swell;

Our sea-bard sang this song! which still he sings,
And sings for thee, sweet friend! Hark, Pity, hark
Now mounts, now totters on the tempest's wings,
Now groans, and shivers, the replunging bark!

'Cling to the shrouds!' In vain! The breakers roar--
Death shrieks! With two alone of all his clan
Forlorn the poet paced the Grecian shore,
No classic roamer, but a ship-wrecked man!

Say then, what muse inspired these genial strains
And lit his spirit to so bright a flame?
The elevating thought of suffered pains,
Which gentle hearts shall mourn; but chief, the name

Of gratitude! remembrance of friend,
Or absent or no more! shades of the Past,
Which Loves make substance! Hence to thee I send,
O dear as long as life and memory last!

I send with deep regards of heart and head,
Sweet maid, for friendship formed! this work to thee
And thou, the while thou canst not choose but shed
A tear for Falconer, wilt remember me.

 

To A Primrose

The first seen in the season

Nitens et roboris expers
Turget et insolida est: et spe delectat.
- Ovid, Metam. [xv.203].

Thy smiles I note, sweet early Flower,
That peeping from thy rustic bower
The festive news to earth dost bring,
A fragrant messenger of Spring.

But, tender blossom, why so pale?
Dost hear stern Winter in the gale?
And didst thou tempt the ungentle sky
To catch one vernal glance and die?

Such the wan lustre Sickness wears
When Health's first feeble beam appears;
So languid are the smiles that seek
To settle on the care-worn cheek,

When timorous Hope the head uprears,
Still drooping and still moist with tears,
If, through dispersing grief, be seen
Of Bliss the heavenly spark serene.

And sweeter far the early blow,
Fast following after storms of Woe,
Than (Comfort's riper season come)
Are full-blown joys and Pleasure's gaudy bloom.

 

To A Young Ass, Its Mother Being Tethered Near It

Poor little Foal of an oppressed race!
I love the languid patience of thy face:
And oft with gentle hand I give thee bread,
And clap thy ragged coat, and pat thy head.
But what thy dulled spirits hath dismay'd,
That never thou dost sport along the glade?
And (most unlike the nature of things young)
That earthward still thy moveless head is hung?
Do thy prophetic fears anticipate,
Meek Child of Misery! thy future fate?
The starving meal, and all the thousand aches
'Which patient Merit of the Unworthy takes'?
Or is thy sad heart thrill'd with filial pain
To see thy wretched mother's shortend chain?
And truly, very piteous is her lot--
Chain'd to a log within a narrow spot,
Where the close-eaten grass is scarcely seen,
While sweet around her waves the tempting green!

Poor Ass! they master should have learnt to show
Pity -- best taught by fellowship of Woe!
For much I fear me that He lives like thee,
Half famished in a land of Luxury!
How askingly its footsteps hither bend?
It seems to say, 'And have I then one friend?'
Innocent foal! thou poor despis'd forlorn!
I hail thee Brother -- spite of the fool's scorn!
And fain would take thee with me, in the Dell
Of Peace and mild Equality to dwell,
Where Toil shall call the charmer Health his bride,
And Laughter tickle Plenty's ribless side!
How thou wouldst toss thy heels in gamesome play,
And frisk about, as lamb or kitten gay!
Yea! and more musically sweet to me
Thy dissonant harsh bray of joy would be,
Than warbled melodies that soothe to rest
The aching of pale Fashion's vacant breast!

 

To A Young Lady, With A Poem On The French Revolution

Much on my early youth I love to dwell,
Ere yet I bade that friendly dome farewell,
Where first, beneath the echoing cloisters, pale,
I heard of guilt and wondered at the tale!
Yet tho' the hours flew by on careless wing,
Full heavily of sorrow would I sing.
Aye as the star of evening flung its beam
In broken radiance on the wavy stream,
My soul amid the pensive twilight gloom
Mourned with the breeze, O, Lee Boo! o'er thy tomb.
Where'er I wanderd, pity still was near,
Breathed from the heart and glistened in the tear:
No knell that tolled, but filled my anxious eye,
And suffering nature wept that one should die!

Thus to sad sympathies I soothed my breast,
Calm, as the rainbow in the weeping west:
When slumb'ring freedom roused by high disdain
With giant fury burst her triple chain!
Fierce on her front the blasting dog-star glowed;
Her banners like a midnight meteor flowed;
Amid the yelling of the storm-rent skies
She came, and scattered battles from her eyes!
Then exultation waked the patriot fire
And swept with wilder hand the Alcaean lyre:
Red from the tyrant's wound I shook the lance,
And strode in joy the reeking plains of France!
Fall'n is th' oppressor, friendless, ghastly, low,
And my heart aches tho' mercy struck the blow.
With wearied thought once more I see the shade,
Where peaceful virtue weaves the myrtle braid.
And O! if eyes, whose holy glances roll,
Swift messengers, and eloquent of soul;
If smiles more winning, and a gentler mien,
Than the love-wildered maniac's brain hath seen
Shaping celestial forms in vacant air,
If these demand th' impassioned poet's care--
If mirth, and softened sense, and wit refined,
The blameless features of a lovely mind;
Then haply shall my trembling hand assign
No fading wreath beauty's saintly shrine.
Nor, Sara! thou these early flowers refuse----
Ne'er lurked the snake beneath their simple hues,
No purple bloom the child of nature brings
From flatt'ry's night-shade: as he feels, he sings.
Sept. 1794.

 

To A Young Lady. On Her Recovery From A Fever

Why need I say, Louisa dear!
How glad I am to see you here,
A lovely convalescent;
Risen from the bed of pain and fear,
And feverish heat incessant.

The sunny showers, the dappled sky,
The little birds that warble high,
Their vernal loves commencing,
Will better welcome you than I
With their sweet influencing.

Believe me, while in bed you lay,
Your danger taught us all to pray:
You made us grow devouter!
Each eye looked up and seemed to say
How can we do without her?

Besides, what vexed us worse, we knew,
They have no need of such as you
In the place where you were going:
This World has angels all too few,
And Heaven is overflowing!

 

To An Infant

Ah cease thy tears and sobs, my little life!
I did but snatch away the unclasped knife:
Some safer toy will soon arrest thine eye,
And to quick laughter change this peevish cry!
Poor stumbler on the rocky coast of woe,
Tutored by pain each source of pain to know!
Alike the foodful fruit and scorching fire
Awake thy eager grasp and young desire:
Alike the good, the ill offend thy sight,
And rouse the stormy sense of shrill affright!
Untaught, yet wise! mid all thy brief alarms
Thou closely clingest to thy mother's arms,
Nestling thy little face in that fond breast
Whose anxious heavings lull thee to thy rest!
Man's breathing miniature! thou mak'st me sigh--
A babe art thou -- and such a thing am I!

To anger rapid and as soon appeased,
For trifles mourning and by trifles pleased;
Break friendship's mirror with a tetchy blow,
Yet snatch what coals of fire on pleasure's altar glow!

Oh thou that rearest with celestial aim
The future seraph in my mortal frame,
Thrice holy Faith! whatever thorns I meet
As on I totter with unpractised feet,
Still let me stretch my arms and cling to thee,
Meek nurse of souls through their long infancy!

 

To An Unfortunate Woman At The Theatre

Maiden, that with sullen brow
Sitt'st behind those virgins gay,
Like a scorched and mildew'd bough,
Leafless mid the blooms of May.

Him who lured thee and forsook,
Oft I watch'd with angry gaze,
Fearful saw his pleading look,
Anxious heard his fervid phrase.

Soft the glances of the youth,
Soft his speech, and soft his sigh;
But no sound like simple truth,
But no true love in his eye.

Loathing thy polluted lot,
Hie thee, maiden, hie thee hence!
Seek thy weeping mother's cot,
With a wiser innocence.

Thou hast known deceit and folly,
Thou hast felt that vice is woe;
With a musing melancholy,
Inly armed, go, maiden! go.

Mother, sage of self dominion,
Firm thy steps, O melancholy!
The strongest plume in wisdom's pinion
Is the memory of past folly.

Mute the sky-lark and forlorn
While she moults the firstling plumes,
That had skimm'd the tender corn,
Or the bean-field's odorous blooms.

Soon with renovated wing,
Shall she dare a loftier flight,
Upward to the day-star spring,
And embathe in heavenly light.

 

To An Unfortunate Woman, Whom The Author Had Known In The Days Of Her Innocence

Myrtle leaf, that ill besped
Pinest in the gladsome ray,
Soiled beneath the common tread
Far from thy protecting spray!

When the partridge o'er the sheaf
Whirred along the yellow vale,
Sad, I saw thee, heedless leaf!
Love the dalliance of the gale.

Lightly didst thou, foolish thing!
Heave and flutter to his sighs,
While the flatt'rer on his wing
Wooed and whispered thee to rise.

Gayly from thy mother stalk
Wert thou danced and wafted high;
Soon on this unsheltered walk
Flung to fade, to rot, and die!

 

To Asra

Are there two things, of all which men possess,
That are so like each other and so near,
As mutual Love seems like to Happiness?
Dear Asra, woman beyond utterance dear!
This Love which ever welling at my heart,
Now in its living fount doth heave and fall,
Now overflowing pours thro' every part
Of all my frame, and fills and changes all,
Like vernal waters springing up through snow,
This Love that seeming great beyond the power
Of growth, yet seemeth ever more to grow,
Could I transmute the whole to one rich Dower
Of Happy Life, and give it all to Thee,
Thy lot, methinks, were Heaven, thy age, Eternity!

 

To C. Lloyd, On His Proposing To Domesticate With The Author

A mount, not wearisome and bare and steep,
But a green mountain variously up-piled
Where o'er the jutting rocks soft mosses creep
Or colored lichens with slow oozing weep;
Where cypress and the darker yew start wild;
And 'mid the summer torrent's gentle dash
Dance brightened the red clusters of the ash;
Beneath whose boughs, by stillest sounds beguiled,
Calm pensiveness might muse herself to sleep;
Till haply startled by some fleecy dam,
That rustling on the bushy cliff above
With melancholy bleat of anxious love
Made meek enquiry for her wand'ring lamb:
Such a green mountain 'twere most sweet to climb
E'en while the bosom ached with loneliness--
How heavenly sweet, if some dear friend should bless
Th' advent'rous toil, and up the path sublime
Now lead, now follow; the glad landscape round
Wide and more wide, increasing without bound!

O then 'twere loveliest sympathy, to mark
The berries of the half up-rooted ash
Dripping and bright; and list the torrent's dash--
Beneath the cypress, or the yew more dark,
Seated at ease, on some smooth mossy rock;
In social silence now, and now t' unlock
The treasured heart; arm linked in friendly arm,
Save if the one, his muse's witching charm
Mutt'ring brow-bent, at unwatched distance lag;
Till high o'er-head his beck'ning friend appears,
And from the forehead of the topmost crag
Shouts eagerly; for haply there uprears
That shadowing pine its old romantic limbs
Which latest shall detain the enamoured sight
Seen from below, when eve the valley dims,
Tinged yellow with the rich departing light;
And haply, basoned in some unsunned cleft,
A beauteous spring, the rock's collected tears,
Sleeps unsheltered there, scarce wrinkled by the gale!
Together thus, the world's vain turmoil left,
Stretched on the crag, and shadowed by the pine,
And bending o'er the clear delicious fount,
Ah, dearest Charles! it were a lot divine
To cheat our noons in moralizing mood,
While west winds fanned our temples, toil-bedewed
Then downwards slope, oft-pausing, from the mount
To some low mansion in some woody dale,
Where, smiling with blue eye, domestic bliss
Gives this the husband's, that the brother's kiss!

Thus rudely versed in allegoric lore,
The hill of knowledge I essayed to trace;
That verd'rous hill with many a resting-place
And many a stream, whose warbling waters pour
To glad and fertilize the subject plains;
That hill with secret springs, and nooks untrod,
And many a fancy-blest and holy sod
Where inspiration, his diviner strains
Low-murm'ring, lay; and starting from the rocks
Stiff evergreens, whose spreading foliage mocks
Want's barren soil, and the bleak frosts of age,
And mad oppression's thunder-clasping rage!

O meek retiring spirit! we will climb,
Cheering and cheered, this lovely hill sublime;
And from the stirring world uplifted high
(Whose noises faintly wafted on the wind
To quiet musings shall attune the mind,
And oft the melancholy theme supply),
There while the prospect thro' the gazing eye
Pours all its healthful greenness on the soul,
We'll laugh at wealth, and learn to laugh at fame,
Our hopes, our knowledge, and our joys the same,
As neighb'ring fountains image each the whole.

 

To Nature

It may indeed be fantasy when I
Essay to draw from all created things
Deep, heartfelt, inward joy that closely clings;
And trace in leaves and flowers that round me lie
Lessons of love and earnest piety.
So let it be; and if the wide world rings
In mock of this belief, it brings
Nor fear, nor grief, nor vain perplexity.
So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to Thee,
Thee only God! and thou shalt not despise
Even me, the priest of this poor sacrifice.

 

To Sara

One kiss, dear maid! I said and sighed,
Your scorn the little boon denied.
Ah why refuse the blameless bliss?
Can danger lurk within a kiss?

Yon viewless wand'rer of the vale,
The spirit of the western gale,
At morning's break, at evening's close
Inhales the sweetness of the rose
And hovers o'er th' uninjured bloom
Sighing back the soft perfume.
Vigor to the zephyr's wing
Her nectar-breathing kisses fling;
And he the glitter of the dew
Scatters on the rose's hue.
Bashful, lo! she bends her head,
And darts a blush of deeper red!

Too well those lovely lips disclose
The triumphs of the op'ning rose:
O fair! O graceful! bid them prove
As passive to the breath of love.
In tender accents, faint and low,
Well-pleased I hear the whispered 'No!'
The whispered 'No' ---- how little meant!
Sweet falsehood, that endears consent!
For on those lovely lips the while
Dawns the soft relenting smile,
And tempts with feigned dissuasion coy
The gentle violence of joy.

 

To the Nightingale

Sister of love-lorn Poets, Philomel!
How many Bards in city garret pent,
While at their window they with downward eye
Mark the faint lamp-beam on the kennell'd mud,
And listen to the drowsy cry of Watchmen
(Those hoarse unfeather'd Nightingales of Time!),
How many wretched Bards address thy name,
And hers, the full-orb'd Queen that shines above.
But I do hear thee, and the high bough mark,
Within whose mild moon-mellow'd foliage hid
Thou warblest sad thy pity-pleading strains.
O! I have listen'd, till my working soul,
Waked by those strains to thousand phantasies,
Absorb'd hath ceas'd to listen! Therefore oft,
I hymn thy name: and with a proud delight
Oft will I tell thee, Minstrel of the Moon!
'Most musical, most melancholy' Bird!
That all thy soft diversities of tone,
Tho' sweeter far than the delicious airs
That vibrate from a white-arm'd Lady's harp,
What time the languishment of lonely love
Melts in her eye, and heaves her breast of snow,
Are not so sweet as is the voice of her,
My Sara - best beloved of human kind!
When breathing the pure soul of tenderness,
She thrills me with the Husband's promis'd name!

 

To The Rev. George Coleridge

Notus in fratres animi paterni.
Hor. Carm. lib.II.2.

A blessed lot hath he, who having passed
His youth and early manhood in the stir
And turmoil of the world, retreats at length,
With cares that move, not agitate the heart,
To the same dwelling where his father dwelt;
And haply views his tottering little ones
Embrace those aged knees and climb that lap,
On which first kneeling his own infancy
Lisp'd its brief prayer. Such, O my earliest Friend!
Thy lot, and such thy brothers too enjoy.
At distance did ye climb Life's upland road,
Yet cheered and cheering: now fraternal love
Hath drawn you to one centre. Be your days
Holy, and blest and blessing may ye live!

To me the Eternal Wisdom hath dispens'd
A different fortune and more different mind
Me from the spot where first I sprang to light
Too soon transplanted, ere my soul had fix'd
Its first domestic loves; and hence through life
Chasing chance-started friendships. A brief while
Some have preserved me from life's pelting ills;
But, like a tree with leaves of feeble stem,
If the clouds lasted, and a sudden breeze
Ruffled the boughs, they on my head at once
Dropped the collected shower; and some most false,
False and fair-foliag'd as the Manchineel,
Have tempted me to slumber in their shade
E'en mid the storm; then breathing subtlest damps,
Mix'd their own venom with the rain from Heaven,
That I woke poison'd! But, all praise to Him
Who gives us all things, more have yielded me
Permanent shelter; and beside one Friend,
Beneath the impervious covert of one oak,
I've rais'd a lowly shed, and know the names
Of Husband and of Father; not unhearing
Of that divine and nightly-whispering Voice,
Which from my childhood to maturer years
Spake to me of predestinated wreaths,
Bright with no fading colours!
Yet at times
My soul is sad, that I have roam'd through life
Still most a stranger, most with naked heart
At mine own home and birth-place: chiefly then,
When I remember thee, my earliest Friend!
Thee, who didst watch my boyhood and my youth;
Didst trace my wanderings with a father's eye;
And boding evil yet still hoping good,
Rebuk'd each fault, and over all my woes
Sorrow'd in silence! He who counts alone
The beatings of the solitary heart,
That Being knows, how I have lov'd thee ever,
Lov'd as a brother, as a son rever'd thee!
Oh! 'tis to me an ever new delight,
To talk of thee and thine: or when the blast
Of the shrill winter, rattling our rude sash,
Endears the cleanly hearth and social bowl;
Or when, as now, on some delicious eve,
We in our sweet sequester'd orchard-plot
Sit on the tree crook'd earth-ward; whose old boughs,
That hang above us in an arborous roof,
Stirr'd by the faint gale of departing May,
Send their loose blossoms slanting o'er our heads!

Nor dost not thou sometimes recall those hours,
When with the joy of hope thou gavest thine ear
To my wild firstling-lays. Since then my song
Hath sounded deeper notes, such as beseem
Or that sad wisdom folly leaves behind,
Or such as, tuned to these tumultuous times,
Cope with the tempest's swell!

These various strains,
Which I have fram'd in many a various mood,
Accept, my Brother! and (for some perchance
Will strike discordant on thy milder mind)
If aught of error or intemperate truth
Should meet thine ear, think thou that riper Age
Will calm it down, and let thy love forgive it!

 

To the Reverend George Coleridge, of Ottery St. Mary, Devon

A blessed lot hath he, who having past
His youth and early manhood in the stir
And turmoil of the world, retreats at length,
With cares that move, not agitate the heart,
To the same dwelling where his father dwelt;
And haply views his tottering little ones
Embrace those aged knees, and climb that lap,
On which first kneeling his own infancy
Lisped its brief prayer. Such, O my earliest friend!
Thine and thy brothers' favorable lot.
At distance did ye climb life's upland road,
Yet cheered and cheering: now fraternal love
Hath drawn you to one centre. Be your days
Holy, and blest and blessing may ye live!

To me th' Eternal Wisdom hath dispensed
A different fortune and more different mind.--
Me from the spot where first I sprang to light,
Too soon transplanted, ere my soul had fixed
Its first domestic loves; and hence through life
Chasing chance-started friendships. A brief while
Some have preserved me from life's pelting ills;
But, like a tree with leaves of feeble stem,
If the clouds lasted, or a sudden breeze
Ruffled the boughs, they on my head at once
Dropt the collected shower: and some most false,
False and fair-foliaged as the manchineel,
Have tempted me to slumber in their shade
E'en mid the storm; then breathing subtlest damps,
Mixed their own venom with the rain from heaven,
That I woke poisoned! But (the praise be His
Who gives us all things) more have yielded me
Permanent shelter: and beside one friend,
I, as beneath the covert of an oak,
Have raised a lowly shed, and know the names
Of husband and of father; nor unhearing
Of that divine and nightly-whispering voice,
Which from my childhood to maturer years
Spake to me of predestinated wreaths,
Bright with no fading colors!
Yet at times
My soul is sad, that I have roamed through life
Still most a stranger, most with naked heart,
At mine own home and birth-place: chiefly then,
When I remember thee, my earliest friend!
Thee, who didst watch my boyhood and my youth;
Didst trace my wanderings with a father's eye;
And, boding evil yet still hoping good,
Rebuked each fault and wept o'er all my woes.
Who counts the beatings of the lonely heart,
That Being knows, how I have loved thee ever,
Loved as a brother, as a son revered thee!
O 'tis to me an ever new delight,
To talk of thee and thine; or when the blast
Of the shrill winter, rattling our rude sash,
Endears the cleanly hearth and social bowl;
Or when, as now, on some delicious eve,
We in our sweet sequestered orchard-plot
Sit on the tree crooked earthward; whose old boughs,
That hand above us in an arborous roof,
Stirred by the faint gale of departing May,
Send their loose blossoms slanting o'er our heads!

Nor dost thou sometimes recall those hours,
When with the joy of hope thou gav'st thine ear
To my wild firstling lays. Since then my song
Hath sounded deeper notes, such as beseem
Of that sad wisdom, folly leaves behind;
Or the high raptures of prophetic faith;
Or such as, tuned to these tumultuous times,
Cope with the tempest's swell!
These various songs,
Which I have framed in many a various mood,
Accept, my brother; and (for some perchance
Will strike discordant on thy milder mind)
If aught of error or intemperate truth
Should meet thine ear, think thou that riper age
Will calm it down, and let thy loves forgive it!

 

To The River Otter

Dear native brook! wild streamlet of the West!
How many various-fated years have passed,
What happy and what mournful hours, since last
I skimmed the smooth thin stone along thy breast,
Numbering its light leaps! Yet so deep impressed
Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes
I never shut amid the sunny ray,
But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,
Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey,
And bedded sand that, veined with various dyes,
Gleamed through thy bright transparence! On my way,
Visions of childhood! oft have ye beguiled
Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
Ah! that once more I were a careless child!

 

To William Wordsworth

Friend of the Wise ! and Teacher of the Good !
Into my heart have I received that Lay
More than historic, that prophetic Lay
Wherein (high theme by thee first sung aright)
Of the foundations and the building up
Of a Human Spirit thou hast dared to tell
What may be told, to the understanding mind
Revealable ; and what within the mind
By vital breathings secret as the soul
Of vernal growth, oft quickens in the heart
Thoughts all too deep for words !--

Theme hard as high !
Of smiles spontaneous, and mysterious fears
(The first-born they of Reason and twin-birth),
Of tides obedient to external force,
And currents self-determined, as might seem,
Or by some inner Power ; of moments awful,
Now in thy inner life, and now abroad,
When power streamed from thee, and thy soul received
The light reflected, as a light bestowed--
Of fancies fair, and milder hours of youth,
Hyblean murmurs of poetic thought
Industrious in its joy, in vales and glens
Native or outland, lakes and famous hills !
Or on the lonely high-road, when the stars
Were rising ; or by secret mountain-streams,
The guides and the companions of thy way !

Of more than Fancy, of the Social Sense
Distending wide, and man beloved as man,
Where France in all her towns lay vibrating
Like some becalmed bark beneath the burst
Of Heaven's immediate thunder, when no cloud
Is visible, or shadow on the main.
For thou wert there, thine own brows garlanded,
Amid the tremor of a realm aglow,
Amid the mighty nation jubilant,
When from the general heart of human kind
Hope sprang forth like a full-born Diety !
--Of that dear Hope afflicted and struck down,
So summoned homeward, thenceforth calm and sure
From the dread watch-tower of man's absolute self,
With light unwaning on her eyes, to look
Far on--herself a glory to behold,
The Angel of the vision ! Then (last strain)
Of Duty, chosen Laws controlling choice,
Action and Joy !--An Orphic song indeed,
A song divine of high and passionate thoughts
To their own music chaunted !

O great Bard !
Ere yet that last strain dying awed the air,
With stedfast eye I viewed thee in the choir
Of ever-enduring men. The truly great
Have all one age, and from one visible space
Shed influence ! They, both in power and act,
Are permanent, and Time is not with them,
Save as it worketh for them, they in it.
Nor less a sacred Roll, than those of old,
And to be placed, as they, with gradual fame
Among the archives of mankind, thy work
Makes audible a linked lay of Truth,
Of Truth profound a sweet continuous lay,
Not learnt, but native, her own natural notes !
Ah ! as I listened with a heart forlorn,
The pulses of my being beat anew :
And even as Life returns upon the drowned,
Life's joy rekindling roused a throng of pains--
Keen pangs of Love, awakening as a babe
Turbulent, with an outcry in the heart ;
And Fears self-willed, that shunned the eye of Hope ;
And Hope that scarce would know itself from Fear ;
Sense of past Youth, and Manhood come in vain,
And Genius given, and Knowledge won in vain ;
And all which I had culled in wood-walks wild,
And all which patient toil had reared, and all,
Commune with thee had opened out--but flowers
Strewed on my corse, and borne upon my bier,
In the same coffin, for the self-same grave !

That way no more ! and ill beseems it me,
Who came a welcomer in herald's guise,
Singing of Glory, and Futurity,
To wander back on such unhealthful road,
Plucking the poisons of self-harm ! And ill
Such intertwine beseems triumphal wreaths
Strew'd before thy advancing !

Nor do thou,
Sage Bard ! impair the memory of that hour
Of thy communion with my nobler mind
By pity or grief, already felt too long !
Nor let my words import more blame than needs.
The tumult rose and ceased : for Peace is nigh
Where Wisdom's voice has found a listening heart.
Amid the howl of more than wintry storms,
The Halcyon hears the voice of vernal hours
Already on the wing.

Eve following eve,
Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense of Home
Is sweetest ! moments for their own sake hailed
And more desired, more precious, for thy song,
In silence listening, like a devout child,
My soul lay passive, by thy various strain
Driven as in surges now beneath the stars,
With momentary stars of my own birth,
Fair constellated foam, still darting off
Into the darkness ; now a tranquil sea,
Outspread and bright, yet swelling to the moon.

And when--O Friend ! my comforter and guide !
Strong in thyself, and powerful to give strength !--
Thy long sustained Song finally closed,
And thy deep voice had ceased--yet thou thyself
Wert still before my eyes, and round us both
That happy vision of beloved faces--
Scarce conscious, and yet conscious of its close
I sate, my being blended in one thought
(Thought was it ? or aspiration ? or resolve ?)
Absorbed, yet hanging still upon the sound--
And when I rose, I found myself in prayer.

 

Water Ballad

Come hither, gently rowing,
Come, bear me quickly o'er
This stream so brightly flowing
To yonder woodland shore.
But vain were my endeavour
To pay thee, courteous guide;
Row on, row on, for ever
I'd have thee by my side.

Good boatman, prithee haste thee,
I seek my father-land. --
Say, when I there have placed thee,
Dare I demand thy hand?
A maiden's head can never
So hard a point decide;
Row on, row on, for ever
I'd have thee by my side.

The happy bridal over
The wanderer ceased to roam,
For, seated by her lover,
The boat became her home.
And they still sang together
As steering o'er the tide:
Row on through wind and weather
For ever by my side.

 

What if you slept ...

What if you slept
And what if
In your sleep
You dreamed
And what if
In your dream
You went to heaven
And there plucked a strange and beautiful flower
And what if
When you awoke
You had that flower in you hand
Ah, what then?

 

What Is Life?

Resembles Life what once was held of Light,
Too ample in itself for human sight?
An absolute Self--an element ungrounded--
All, that we see, all colours of all shade
[Image]By encroach of darkness made?--
Is very life by consciousness unbounded ?
And all the thoughts, pains, joys of mortal breath,
A war-embrace of wrestling Life and Death?

 

When Hope but made Tranquillity be felt (fragment)

When Hope but made Tranquillity be felt--
A Flight of Hopes for ever on the wing
But made Tranquillity a conscious Thing--
And wheeling round and round in sportive coil
Fann'd the calm air upon the brow of Toil

 

Whom should I choose for my Judge? (fragment)

Whom should I choose for my Judge? the earnest, impersonal reader,
Who, in the work, forgets me and the world and himself!

Ye who have eyes to detect, and Gall to Chastise the imperfect,
Have you the heart, too, that loves, feels and rewards the Compleat?

What is the meed of thy Song? 'Tis the ceaseless, the thousandfold Echo
Which from the welcoming Hearts of the Pure repeats and prolongs it,
Each with a different Tone, compleat or in musical fragments.

 

Work Without Hope

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair--
The bees are stirring--birds are on the wing--
And WINTER slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring !
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

Yet well I ken the banks where Amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye Amaranths ! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not ! Glide, rich streams, away !
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll :
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul ?
WORK WITHOUT HOPE draws nectar in a sieve,
And HOPE without an object cannot live.

 

Written In Early Youth. The Time,--An Autumnal Evening

O thou wild fancy, check thy wing! No more
Those thin white flakes, those purple clouds explore!
Nor there with happy spirits speed thy light
Bathed in rich amber-glowing floods of light;
Nor in yon gleam, where slow descends the day,
With western peasants hail the morning ray!
Ah! rather bid the perished pleasures move,
A shadowy train, across the soul of love!
O'er disappointment's wintry desert fling
Each flower that wreathed the dewy locks of Spring,
When blushing, like a bride, from hope's trim bower
She leapt, awakened by the pattering shower.

Now sheds the sinking sun a deeper gleam,
Aid, lovely sorceress! aid thy poet's dream!
With fairy wand O bid the maid arise,
Chaste joyance dancing in her bright blue eyes;
As erst when from the Muses' calm abode
I came, with learning's meed not unbestowed:
When, as she twined a laurel round my brow,
And met my kiss, and half returned my vow,
O'er all my frame shot rapid my thrilled heart,
And every nerve confessed the electric dart.
O dear conceit! I see the maiden rise,
Chaste joyance dancing in her bright blue eyes,
When first the lark high-soaring swells his throat
Mocks the tired eye, and scatters the loud note,
I trace her footsteps on the accustomed lawn,
I mark her glancing mid the gleams of dawn.
When the bent flower beneath the night-dew weeps,
And on the lake the silver lustre sleeps,
Amid the paly radiance soft and sad
She meets my lonely path in moon-beams clad.
With her along the streamlet's brink I rove;
With her I list the warblings of the grove;
And seems in each low wind her voice to float
Lone-whispering pity in each soothing note!

Spirits of love! ye heard her name! Obey
The powerful spell, and to my haunt repair,
Whither on clust'ring pinions ye are there,
Where rich snows blossom on the myrtle trees,
Or with fond languishment around my fair
Sigh in the loose luxuriance of her hair;
O heed the spell, and hither wing your way,
Like far-off music, voyaging the breeze!
Spirits! to you the infant maid was given,
Formed by the wondrous alchemy of Heaven!
No fairer maid does love's wide empire know,
No fairer maid e'er heaved the bosom's snow.
A thousand loves around her forehead fly;
A thousand loves sit melting in her eye;
Love lights her smile -- in joy's bright nectar dips
The flamy rose, and plants it on her lips!
Tender, serene, and all devoid of guile,
Soft is her soul, as sleeping infant's smile:
She speaks! and hark that passion-warbled song--
Still, fancy! still those mazy notes prolong.
Sweet as th' angelic harps, whose rapturous falls
Awake the softened echoes of heaven's halls!
O (have I sighed) were mine the wizard's rod,
Or mine the power of Proteus, changeful god!
A flower-entangled arbor I would seem
To shield my love from noontide's sultry beam:
Or bloom a myrtle, from whose od'rous boughs
My love might weave gay garlands for her brows.
When twilight stole across the fading vale,
To fan my love I'd be the evening gale;
Mourn in the soft folds of her swelling vest,
And flutter my faint pinions on her breast!
On seraph wing I'd float a dream, by night,
To soothe my love with shadows of delight:--
Or soar aloft to be the spangled skies,
And gaze upon her with a thousand eyes!

As when the savage, who his dowsy frame
Had basked beneath the sun's unclouded frame,
Awakes amid the troubles of the air,
The skyey deluge, and white lightning's glare--
Aghast he scours before the tempest's sweep,
And sad recalls the sunny hour of sleep:--
So tost by storms along life's wild'ring way
Mine eye reverted views that cloudless day,
When by my native brook I wont to rove
While hope with kisses nursed the infant love.

Dear native brook! like peace, so placidly
Smoothing thro' fertile fields thy current meel!
Dear native brook! where first young poesy
Stared wildly-eager in her noontide dream,
Where blameless pleasures dimple quiet's cheek,
As water-lilies ripple a slow stream!
Dear native haunts! where virtue still is gay:
Where friendship's fixed star sheds a mellowed ray
Where love a crown of thornless roses wears:
Where softened sorrow smiles within her tears;
And mem'ry, with a vestal's chaste employ,
Unceasing feeds the lambent flame of joy!
No more your skylarks melting from the sight
Shall thrill th' attuned heart-string with delight:--
No more shall deck your pensive pleasures sweet
With wreaths of sober hue my evening seat.
Yet dear to fancy's eye your varied scene
Of wood, hill, dale, and sparkling brook between!
Yet sweet to fancy's ear the warbled song,
That soars on morning's wing your vales among.

Scenes of my hope! the aching eye ye leave
Like yon bright hues that paint the clouds of eve!
Tearful and sadd'ning with the saddened blaze
Mine eye the gleam pursues with wistful gaze;
Sees shades on shades with deeper tint impend,
Till chill and damp the moonless night descend.

 

Youth And Age

Verse, a Breeze 'mid blossoms straying,
Where HOPE clung feeding, like a bee--
Both were mine ! Life went a-maying
With NATURE, HOPE, and POESY,
[Image][Image]When I was young !

When I was young ?--Ah, woful WHEN !
Ah ! for the Change 'twixt Now and Then !
This breathing House not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O'er ?ry Cliffs and glittering Sands,
How lightly then it flashed along :--
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of Sail or Oar,
That fear no spite of Wind or Tide !
Nought cared this Body for wind or weather
When YOUTH and I lived in't together.

FLOWERS are lovely ; LOVE is flower-like ;
FRIENDSHIP is a sheltering tree ;
O ! the Joys, that came down shower-like,
Of FRIENDSHIP, LOVE, and LIBERTY,
[Image] [Image] [Image] [Image] Ere I was old !

Ere I was old ? Ah woful ERE,
Which tells me, YOUTH'S no longer here !
O YOUTH ! for years so many and sweet,
'Tis known, that Thou and I were one,
I'll think it but a fond conceit--
It cannot be that Thou art gone !
Thy Vesper-bell hath not yet toll'd :--
And thou wert aye a Masker bold !
What strange Disguise hast now put on,
To make believe, that thou art gone ?
I see these Locks in silvery slips,
This drooping Gait, this altered Size :
But SPRINGTIDE blossoms on thy Lips,
And Tears take sunshine from thine eyes !
Life is but Thought : so think I will
That YOUTH and I are House-mates still.

Dew-drops are the gems of morning,
But the tears of mournful eve !
Where no hope is, life's a warning
That only serves to make us grieve,
[Image][Image]When we are old :

That only serves to make us grieve
With oft and tedious taking-leave,
Like some poor nigh-related guest,
That may not rudely be dismist ;
Yet hath outstay'd his welcome while,
And tells the jest without the smile.

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. . Poems Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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