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And please the better from a pensive face, A thoughtful eye, and a reflecting brow.
ON THE SIGHT OF 8WANS IN KENSINGTON GARDEN.
Queen-bird that sittest on thy shining nest,
And thy young cygnets without sorrow hatchest,
And thou, thou other royal bird, that watchest
Lest the white mother wandering feet molest:
Shrined are your offspring in a chrystal cradle,
Brighter than Helen's ere she yet had burst
Her shelly prison. They shall be born at first
Strong, active, graceful, perfect, swan-like, able
To tread the land or waters with security.
Unlike poor human births, conceived in sin,
In grief brought forth, both outwardly and in
Confessing weakness, error, and impurity.
Did heavenly creatures own succession's line,
The births of heaven like to your's would shine.
Was it some sweet device of faery
That mocked my steps with many a lonely glade,
And fancied wanderings with a fair-hair'd maid?
Have these things been? or what rare witchery,
Impregning with delights the charmed air,
Enlighted up the semblance of a smile
In those fine eyes? methought they spake the while
Soft soothing things, which might enforce despair
To drop the murdering knife, and let go by
His foul resolve. And does the lonely glade
Still court the footsteps of the fair-hair'd maid?
Still in her locks the gales of summer sigh:
While I forlorn do wander reckless where,
And mid my wanderings meet no Anna there.
Methinks how dainty sweet it were, reclin'd
Beneath the vast out-stretching branches high
Of some old wood, in careless sort to lie,
Nor of the busier scenes we left behind
Aught envying. And, O Anna 1 mild-eyed maid!
Beloved I were well content to play
With thy free tresses all a summer's day,
Losing the time beneath the greenwood shade.
Or we might sit and tell some tender tale
Of faithful vows repaid by cruel scorn,
A tale of true love, or of friend forgot;
And I would teach thee, lady, how to rail
In gentle sort, on those who practise not
Or love or pity, though of woman born.
When last Iroved these winding wood-walks green, Green winding walks, and shady pathways sweet, Oft times would Anna seek the silent scene, Shrouding her beauties in the lone retreat. No more I hear her footsteps in the shade: Her image only in these pleasant ways Meets me self-wandering, where in happier days I held free converse with the fair-hair'd maid. I passed the little cottage which she loved, The cottage which did once my all contain; It spake of days which ne'er must come again, Spake to my heart, and much my heart was moved. “Now fair befall thee, gentle maid!” said I, And from the cottage turned me with a sigh.
A timid grace sits trembling in her eye.
As loth to meet the rudeness of men's sight,
Yet shedding a delicious lunar light,
That steeps in kind oblivious ecstasy
The care-crazed mind, like some still melody:
Speaking most plain the thoughts which do posses
Her gentle sprite: peace, and meek quietness,
And innocent loves, and maiden purity:
A look whereof might heal the cruel smart
Of changed friends, or fortune's wrongs unkind;
Might to sweet deeds of mercy move the heart
Of him who hates his brethren of mankind.
Turned are those lights from me, who fondly yet
Past joys, vain loves, and buried hopes regret.
If from my lips some angry accents fell,
Peevish complaint, or harsh reproof unkind,
'Twas but the error of a sickly mind
And troubled thoughts, clouding the purer well,
And waters clear, of reason; and for me
Let this my verse the poor atonement be—
My verse, which thou to praise wert ever inclined
Too highly, and with a partial eye to see
Noblemish. Thou to me didst ever shew
Kindest affection; and would oft-times lend
An ear to the desponding love-sick lay,
Weeping my sorrows with me, who repay
But ill the mighty debt of love I owe,
Mary, to thee, my sister and my friend.
What reason first imposed thee, gentle name,
Name that my father bore, and his sire's sure,
Without reproach: we trace our stream no higher;
And I, a childless man, may end the same.
Perchance some shepherd on Lincolnian plains,
In manners guileless as his own sweet flocks,
Received thee first amid the merry mocks
And arch allusions of his fellow swains.
Perchance from Salem's holier fields returned,
With glory gotten on the heads abhorr'd
Of faithless Saracens, some martial lord
Took his meek title, in whose zeal he burn'd.
Whate'er the fount whence thy beginnings came,
No deed of mine shall shame thee, gentle name.
to John LAMB, ESQ. OF THE souTH-sea-Hotst
John, you were figuring in the gay career
Of blooming manhood with a young man's joy,
When I was yet a little peevish boy—
Though time has made the difference disapper
Betwixt our ages, which then seemed so great—
And still by rightful custom you retain
Much of the old authoritative strain,
And keep the elder brother up in state.
O! you do well in this. 'Tis man's worst deed
To let the “things that have been” run to waste,
And in the unmeaning present sink the past:
In whose dim glass even now I faintly read
Old buried forms, and faces long ago,
Which you, and I, and one more, only know.
O ! I could laugh to hear the midnight wind,
That, rushing on its way with careless sweep,
Scatters the ocean waves. And I could weep
Like to a child. For now to my raised mind
On wings of winds comes wild-eyed Phantasy,
And her rude visions give severe delight.
Owinged bark! how swift along the night
Pass'd thy proud keel: nor shall I let go by
Lightly of that drear hour the memory,
When wet and chilly on thy deck I stood,
Unbonnetted, and gazed upon the flood,
Even till it seemed a pleasant thing to die, -
To be resolv’d into th” elemental wave,
Or take my portion with the winds that rave.
We were two pretty babes, the youngest she,
The youngest, and the loveliest far, I ween,
And innocence her name. The time has been,
We two did love each other's company;
Time was, we two had wept to have been apart.
But when by show of seeming good beguil'd,
I left the garb and manners of a child,
And my first love for man's society,
Defiling with the world my virgin heart—
My loved companion dropped a tear, and fled,
And hid in deepest shades her awful head.
Beloved, who shall tell me where thou art-
In what delicious Eden to be found–
That I may seek thee the wide world around?
On the green hill top, Hard by the house of prayer, a modest roof, And not distinguish'd from its neighbour-barn, Save by a slender-tapering length of spire, The Grandame sleeps. A plain stone barely tells The name and date to the chance passenger. For lowly born was she, and long had eat Well-earned the bread of service:—her's was else A mounting spirit, one that entertained Scorn of base action, deed dishonorable, Oraught unseemly. I remember well Her reverend image: I remember, too, With what a zeal she served her master's house; And how the prattling tongue of garrulous age Delighted to recount the oft-told tale Or anecdote domestic. Wise she was, And wondrous skilled in genealogies, And could in apt and voluble terms discourse Of births, of titles, and alliances; Of marriages, and intermarriages; Relationship remote, or near of kin; Of friends offended, family disgraced— Maiden high-born, but wayward, disobeying Parental strict injunction, and regardless Of unmixed blood, and ancestry remote, Stooping to wed with one of low degree. But these are not thy praises; and I wrong Thy honor'd memory, recording chiefly Things light or trivial. Better 'twere to tell, How with a nobler zeal, and warmer love,
She served her heavenly master. I have seen
That reverend form bent down with age and pain,
And rankling malady. Yet not for this
Ceased she to praise her Maker, or withdrew
Her trust in him, her faith, and humble hope–
So meekly had she learn'd to bear her cross–
For she had studied patience in the school
Of Christ, much comfort she had thence derived,
And was a follower of the Nazarene.
From broken visions of perturbed rest
I wake, and start, and fear to sleep again.
How total a privation of all sounds,
Sights, and familiar objects, man, bird, beast,
Herb, tree, or flower, and prodigal light of heaven.
"Twere some relief to catch the drowsy cry
Of the mechanic watchman, or the noise
Of revel reeling home from midnight cups.
Those are the moanings of the dying man,
Who lies in the upper chamber; restless moans,
And interrupted only by a cough
Consumptive, torturing the wasted lungs.
So in the bitterness of death he lies,
And waits in anguish for the morning's light.
What can that do for him, or what restore?
Short taste, faint sense, affecting notices,
And little images of pleasures past,
Of health, and active life—health not yet slain,
Nor the other grace of life, a good name, sold -
For sin's black wages. On his tedious bed
He writhes, and turns him from the accusing light,
And finds no comfort in the sun, but says
“ when night comes I shall get a little rest.” [end.
Some few groans more, death comes, and there an
'Tis darkness and conjecture all beyond;
Weak nature fears, though charity must hope,
And fancy, most licentious on such themes
Where decent reverence well had kept her mute,
Hath o'er-stock'd hell with devils, and brought
By her enormous fablings and mad lies, [down,
Discredit on the gospel's serious truths
And salutary fears. The man of parts,
Poet, or prose declaimer, on his couch
Lolling, like one indifferent, fabricates
A heaven of gold, where he, and such as he,
Their heads encompassed with crowns, their heels
With fine wings garlanded, shall tread the stars
Beneath their feet, heaven's pavement, far removed
From damned spirits, and the torturing cries
Of men, his breth’ren, fashioned of the earth,
As he was, nourish’d with the self-same bread,
Belike his kindred or companions once-
Through everlasting ages now divorced,
In chains and savage torments to repent
Short years of folly on earth. Their groans unheard
In heav'n, the saint nor pity feels, nor care,
For those thus sentenced-pity might disturb
The delicate sense and most divine repose
of spirits angelical. Blessed be God,
The measure of his judgments is not fixed
Margaret. In the name of the boy God, who plays
at hood-man-blind with the Muses, and cares not
whom he catches: what is it you love?
Simon. Simply, all things that live,
From the crook'd worm to man's imperial form,
And God-resembling likeness. The poor fly,
That makes short holyday in the sunbeam,
And dies by some child's hand. The feeble bird
With little wings, yet greatly venturous
In the upper sky. The fish in th' other element,
That knows no touch of eloquence. What else?
Yon tall and elegant stag,
Who paints a dancing shadow of his horns
In the water, where he drinks.
Margaret. I myself love all these things, yet so
as with a difference:—for example, some animals
better than others, some men rather than other men;
the nightingale before the cuckoo, the swift and
graceful palfrey before the slow and asinine mule.
Your humour goes to confound all qualities.
What sports do you use in the forest?—
Simon. Not many; some few, as thus:–
To see the sun to bed, and to arise,
Like some hot amourist with glowing eyes,
Bursting the lazy bands of sleep that bound him,
With all his fires and travelling glories round him.
Sometimes the moon on soft night clouds to rest,
Like beauty nestling in a young man's breast,
And all the winking stars, her handmaids, keep
Admiring silence, while those lovers sleep.
Sometimes outstretcht, in very idleness,
Nought doing, saying little, thinking less,
To view the leaves, thin dancers upon air,
Go eddying round; and small birds, how they fare,
When mother Autumn fills their beaks with corn
Filch'd from the careless Amalthea's horn: >
And how the woods berries, and worms provide
Without their pains, when earth has nought beside
To answer their small wants.
To view the graceful deer come tripping by,
Then stop, and gaze, then turn, they know not why
Like bashful younkers in society. *
To mark the structure of a plant or tree,
And all fair things of earth, how fair they be.
John. How beautiful, (handling his mourning.) And comely do these mourning garments shew :
§ure grief hath set his sacred impress here, You
To claim the world's respect! they note so feelingly M.
By outward types the serious man within- Wit
Alas! what part or portion can I claim \
In all the decencies of virtuous sorrow, lit
Which other mourners use? as namely, lw
This black attire, abstraction from society, J.
Good thoughts, and frequent sighs, and seldom The
A cleaving sadness native to the brow, Wn
All sweet condolements of like-grieved friends,
(That steal away the sense of loss almost)
Men's pity, and good offices
Which enemies themselves do for us then,
Putting their hostile disposition off,
As we put off our high thoughts and proud looks.
(Pauses, and observes the pictures.)
These pictures must be taken down:
The portraitures of our most antient family
For nigh three hundred years; how have I listen’d,
To hear Sir Walter, with an old man's pride,
Holding me in his arms, a prating boy,
And pointing to the pictures where they hung,
Repeat by course their worthy histories,
(As Hugh de Widville, Walter, first of the name,
And Anne the handsome, Stephen, and famous
Telling me, I must be his famous John)
But that was in old times.
Now, no more
Must I grow proud upon our house's pride.
I rather, I, by most unheard of crimes,
Have backward tainted all their noble blood,
Rased out the memory of an ancient family,
And quite revers'd the honors of our house.
Who now shall sit and tell us anecdotes?
The secret history of his own times,
And fashions of the world when he was young;
How England slept out three and twenty year,
While Carr and Williers rul'd the baby king:
The costly fancies of the pedant's reign,
Balls, feastings, huntings, shows in allego,
And beauties of the court of James the First.
Margaret enters. -
John. Comes Margaret here to witness" dis-
O, lady, I have suffer'd loss,
And diminution of my honor's brightness.
You bring some images of old times, Margaret,
That should be now forgotten.
Margaret. Old times should never beforg"
I came to talk about them with my friend. -
John. I did refuse you, Margaret, in my pilo
Margaret. If John rejected Margaret” his pride.
(As who does not, being splenetic, refuse .
Sometimes old play-fellows,) the spleen being go
The offence no longer lives.
O Woodvil, those were happy days,
When we two first began to love. When first,
Under pretence of visiting my father,
(Being then a stripling nigh upon my age)
You came a wooing to his daughter, John. Thou perfect pattern of thy slander'd sex,
Do you remember, Whom miseries of mine could never alienate,
VVith what a coy reserve and seldom speech, Nor change of fortune shake; whom injuries,
(Young maidens must be chary of their speech) And slights (the worst of injuries) which moved
I kept the honors of my maiden pride? Thy nature to return scorn with like scorn,
I was your favourite then. Then when you left in virtuous pride this house,
John. O Margaret, Margaret! Could not so separate, but now in this
These your submissions to my low estate, My day of shame, when all the world forsake,
And cleaving to the fates of sunken Woodvil, You only visit me, love, and forgive me.
Write bitter things 'gainst my unworthiness.
THE PILLOW. The head that of this Pillow press'd, That aching head is gone to rest; Its little pleasures now no more, And all its mighty sorrows o'er, For ever, in the worms' dark bed. For ever sleeps that humble head. My Friend was young, the world was new ; The world was false, my Friend was true; Lowly his lot, his birth obscure, His fortune hard, my Friend was poor; To wisdom he had no pretence, A child of suffering, not of sense; For nature never did impart A weaker or a warmer heart. His fervent soul, a soul of flame, Consum'd its frail terrestrial frame; That fire from Heaven so fiercely burn'd, That whence it came it soon return’d: And yet, O Pillow! yet to me, My gentle Friend survives in thee; In thee, the partner of his bed, In thee, the widow of the dead! On Helicon's inspiring brink, Ere yet my Friend had learn'd to think, Once as he pass'd the careless day Among the whispering reeds at play, The Muse of Sorrow wandered by; Her pensive beauty fix’d his eye; With sweet astonishment he smiled; The gipsy saw—she stole the child; And soft on her ambrosial breast Sang the delighted babe to rest; Convey'd him to her inmost grove, And loved him with a mother's love. Awaking from his rosy nap, And gayly sporting on her lap, His wanton fingers o'er her lyre Twinkled like electric fire: Quick and quicker as they flew, Sweet and sweeter tones they drew; Now a bolder hand he flings, And dives among the deepest strings; Then forth the music brake like thunder; Back he started, wild with wonder! The Muse of Sorrow wept for joy, And clasp'd and kiss'd her chosen boy. Ah! then no more his smiling hours Were spent in childhood's Eden bowers; The fall from infant innocence, The fall to knowledge drives us thence: O knowledge! worthless at the price, Bought with the loss of Paradise!
As happy ignorance declined, And reason rose upon his mind, Romantic hopes and fond desires (Sparks of the soul's immortal fires!) Kindled within his breast the rage To breathe through every future age, To clasp the flitting shade of fame, To build an everlasting name, O'erleap the narrow vulgar span, And live beyond the life of man! Then Nature's charms his heartpoes", And Nature's glory fill'd his breast: The sweet Spring morning's infant rays, Meridian Summer's youthful blaze, Maturer Autumn's evening mild, And hoary Winter's midnight wild, Awoke his eye, inspired his tongue: For every scene he loved, he sung. Rude were his songs, and simple truth, Till boyhood blossom'd into youth; Then nobler themes his fancy fired, To bolder flights his soul aspired; And as the new moon's opening eye Broadens and brightens through theo From the dim streak of western light To the full orb that rules the night; Thus, gathering lustre in its race, And shining through unbounded space. From earth to heaven his genius soard. Time and eternity explor’d, And hail'd, where'er its footsteps tod. In Nature's temple, Nature's God: Or pierced the human breast to scan The hidden majesty of man; Man's hidden weakness too descried His glory, grandcur, meanness, pride; Pursued, along their erring course, The streams of passion to their source; Or in the mind's creation sought New stars of fancy, worlds of though" —Yet still through all his strains wouldflow A tone of uncomplaining woe, Kind as the tear in pity's eye, Soft as the slumbering infant's sigh, So sweetly, exquisitely wild, It spake the Muse of Sorrow's child. O Pillow ! then, when light withdrew, To thee the fond enthusiast flew; On thee, in pensive mood reclined, He poured his contemplative mind, Till o'er his eyes with mild controus Sleep like a soft enchantment stole, Charm'd into life his airy sche”