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WHERE lies the Land to which yon Ship must go ?
Fresh as a lark mounting at break of day,
Festively she puts forth in trim array;1
Is she for tropic suns, or polar snow?
What boots the inquiry ?-Neither friend nor foe
She cares for; let her travel where she may
She finds familiar names, a beaten way
Ever before her, and a wind to blow.
Yet still I ask, what haven is her mark ?
And, almost as it was when ships were rare,
(From time to time, like Pilgrims, here and there
Crossing the waters) doubt, and something dark,
Of the old Sea' some reverential fear,
Is with me at thy farewell, joyous Bark !
See note to the previous sonnet.—ED.
O GENTLE SLEEP! do they belong to thee,
These twinklings of oblivion? Thou dost love
To sit in meekness, like the brooding Dove,
A captive never wishing to be free.
This tiresome night, O Sleep! thou art to me
A Fly, that up and down himself doth shove
Upon a fretful rivulet, now above,
Now on the water vexed with mockery.
I have no pain that calls for patience, no;
Hence am I 1 cross and peevish as a child :
Am pleased by fits to have thee for my foe,
Yet ever willing to be reconciled :
O gentle Creature ! do not use me so,
But once and deeply let me be beguiled.
A FLOCK of sheep that leisurely pass by,
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;
I have thought of all by turns, and yet do lie
Sleepless ! and soon the small birds' melodies
Must hear, first uttered from my orchard trees;
And the first cuckoo's melancholy cry.
Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lay,
And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth :
So do not let me wear to-night away:
Without Thee what is all the morning's wealth ?
Come, blessed barrier between day and day,3
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health ! Compare Ovid, Meta. Book xi., l. 623; Shakespeare's Macbeth, Act ii., Scene 2; King Henry IV., Part ii., Act iii., Scene 1; Midsummer Night's Dream, Act iii., Scene 2.-Ed.
Fond words have oft been spoken to thee, Sleep !
And thou hast had thy store of tenderest names ;
The very sweetest, Fancy culls or frames,
When thankfulness of heart is strong and deep!
Dear Bosom-child we call thee, that dost steep
In rich reward all suffering; Balm that tames
All anguish; Saint that evil thoughts and aims
Takest away, and into souls dost creep,
Like to a breeze from heaven. Shall I alone,
I surely not a man ungently made,
Call thee worst Tyrant by which Flesh is crost ?
Perverse, self-willed to own and to disown,
Mere slave of them who never for thee prayed,
Still last to come where thou art wanted most !
MICHAEL ANGELO IN REPLY TO THE PASSAGE UPON
HIS STATUE OF NIGHT SLEEPING
In the first volume of Lord Coleridge's copy of the edition of 1836, Wordsworth wrote in MS. two translations of a fragment of Michael Angelo's on Sleep, and a translation of some Latin verses by Thomas Warton on the same subject. These fragments were never included in any edition of his published works, and it is impossible to say to what year they belong. They may appropriately enough find a place after the three sonnets To Sleep, belonging to the year 1806, and before the three translations from Michael Angelo, which follow them.--Ed.
Night Speaks. GRATEFUL is Sleep, my life in stonebound fast; More grateful still : while wrong and shame shall last, On me can Time no happier state bestow Than to be left unconscious of the woe. Ah then, lest you awaken me, speak low.
The very sweetest words that fancy frames,
GRATEFUL is Sleep, more grateful still to be
Of marble; for while shameless wrong and woe
Prevail, 'tis best to neither hear nor see.
Then wake me not, I pray you. Hush, speak low.
Come, gentle Sleep, Death's image tho' thou art,
Come share my couch, nor speedily depart;
How sweet thus living without life to lie,
Thus without death how sweet it is to die.
The Latin verse by Thomas Warton, of which the last lines are a translation, is as follows :Somne veni ! quamvis placidissima Mortis imago es,
Consortem cupio te tamen esse tori;
Huc ades, haud abiture citò! nam sic sine vita
Vivere quam suave est, sic sine morte mori !
Thomas Warton, Fellow of Trinity Coll., Oxford, and Professor of Poetry in that University, is chiefly known by his History of English Poetry (1774-1781).—ED.
FROM THE ITALIAN OF MICHAEL ANGELO.
[Translations from Michael Angelo, done at the request of Mr Duppa, whose acquaintance I made through Mr Southey. Mr Duppa was engaged in writing the life of Michael Angelo, and applied to Mr Southey and myself to furnish some specimens of his poetic genius.]
YES! hope may with my strong desire keep pace,
And I be undeluded, unbetrayed ;
For if of our affections none finds grace
In sight of Heaven, then, wherefore hath God made
The world which we inhabit ? Better plea
Love cannot have, than that in loving thee
Glory to that eternal Peace is paid,
Who such divinity to thee imparts
As hallows and makes pure all gentle hearts.
His hope is treacherous only whose love dies
With beauty, which is varying every hour;
But, in chaste hearts uninfluenced by the power
Of outward change, there blooms a deathless flower,
That breathes on earth the air of paradise.
No mortal object did these eyes behold
When first they met the placid light of thine,
And my Soul felt her destiny divine,
And hope of endless peace in me grew bold :
Heaven-born, the Soul a heaven-ward course must hold;
Beyond the visible world she soars to seek
(For what delights the sense is false and weak)
Ideal Form, the universal mould.
The wise man, I affirm, can find no rest
In that which perishes: nor will he lend
His heart to aught which doth on time depend.
'Tis sense, unbridled will, and not true love,
That kills the soul :1 love betters what is best,
Even here below, but more in heaven above.