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THE WOODMAN AND THE NIGHTINGALE.
A WOODMAN whose rough heart was out of tune (I think such hearts yet never came to good) Hated to hear, under the stars or moon
One nightingale in an interfluous wood
Satiate the hungry dark with melody ;- .
And as a vale is watered by a flood,
Or as the moonlight fills the open sky
Struggling with darkness—as a tuberose
Peoples some In lian dell wiib scents which lie
Like clouds above the flower from which they rose,
The singing of that happy nightingale
In this sweet forest, from the golden close
Of evening, till the star of dawn may fail,
Was interfu-ed upon the silentness;
The folled roses and the violets pale
Heard her within their slumbers, the abyss of heaven with all it planets ; the dull ear of the night-cradled earth; the loneliness
of the circumfluous water:,-every sphere
And every flower and beam and cloud and wave
And every wind of the mute atmosphere,
And every beast stretched in its rugged cave,
And every bird lulled on its mossy bough,
And every silver moth fresh from the grave,
Which is its cradle-ever from below
Aspiring like one who loves too fair, too far,
To be consumed within the purest glow
Of one serene and unapproached star,
As if it were a lamp of earthly light,
Unconscious, as some human lovers are, .
Itself how low, how high beyond all height
The heaven where it would perish !—and every form
That worshipped in the temple of the night
Was awed into delight, and by the charm
Girt as with an interminable zone,
Whilst that sweet bird, whose music was a storm
Of sound, shook forth the dull oblivion
Out of their dreams ; harmony became love
In every soul but one ....
And so this man returned with axe and saw
At evening close from killing the tall treen,
The soul of whom by nature's gentle law
Was each a wood-nymph, and kept ever green
The pavement and the roof of the wild copse,
Chequering the sunlight of the blue serene
With jagged leaves,—and from the forest tops
Singing the winds to sleep-or weeping oft
Fast showers of aerial water drops
Into their mother's bosom, sweet and soft,
Nature's pure tears which have no bitterness;
Around the cradles of the birds aloft
They spread themselves into the loveliness
Of fan-like leaves, and over palid flowers
Hang like moist clouds:--or, where high branches kiss,
Make a green space among the silent bowers,
Like a vast fane in a metropolis,
Surrounded by the columns and the towers
All overwrought with branch-like traceries
In which there is religion—and the mute
Persuasion of unkindled melodies,
Odours and gleams and murmurs, which the lute
Of the blind pilot-spirit of the blast
Stirs as it sails, now grave and now acute,
Wakening the leaves and waves ere it has past
To such brief unison as on the brain
One tone, which never can recur, has cast,
One accent never to return again.
WRITTEN ON HEARING THE NEWS OF TII:
DEATH OF NAPOLEON.
What! alive and so bold, oh earth ? .
Art thou not overbold?
What ! leapest thou forth as of old
In the light of thy morning mirth,
The last of the dock of the starry fold ?
Ha! leapest thou forth as of old i
Are not the limbs still when the ghost is fle 1,
And canst thou move, Napoleon being dead '
How! is not thy quick heart cold
What spark is alive on thy hearth ?
How! is not his death-knell knolleil ?
And livest thou still, Mother Earth ?
Thou wert warming thy fingers old
O’er the embers covered and cold
Of that most fiery spirit, when it fled-
What, Mother, do you laugh now he is dead ?
" Who has known me of old,” replied Earth,
“ Or who has my story tol:l ?
It is thou who art overbol l.”
And the lightning of scorn laughed forth
As she sung, “ to my bosom I fold
All my sons when their knell is knolled,
Aud so with living motion all are fed,
And the quick spring like weeds out of the dead.
“ Still alive and still bold,” shouted Earth,
" I grow bolder and still more bold.
The dead fill me ten thousand fold
Fuller of speed, and splendour, and mirth,
I was cloudy, and sullen, and cold,
Like a frozen chaos uprolled,
Till by the spirit of the mighty dead
My heart grew warm. I feed on whom I fed.
Aye, alive and still bold," muttered Earth,
“. Napoleon's fierce spirit rolled,
In terror and blood and gold,
A torrent of ruin to death from his birth.
Leave the millions who follow to mould
The metal before it be cold ;
And weave into his shame, which like the dead
Shrouds me, the hopes that from his glory fled.