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Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense
of home Is sweetest! moments for their own sake
liiiil'd, And more desired.more precious for thy song; In silenre 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 Mbs it IP or aspiration? orresolve?) Absorh'd, yet hanging still upon the sound— And when I rose, I found myself in prayer.
Writtra in April 1T88.
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 tho' 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. Rut 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! fill'd 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 note* a melancholy strain! And many a poet echoes the conceit,
Poet who bath been building up the rhyme When he had better far hate stretch'd 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 lov'd like Nature! But 'twill not be so; And youths and maidens most poetical. Who lose the deep'ning 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 strain*.
My Friend, and thou, our Sister! we have
learnt A different lore: we may not thus profane Nature's sweet voice*, always full of lore And joyanee! '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 hi* full soul Of ill I 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
songs— With skirmish and capricious passaging*. And murmurs musical and swift jug jug; And one low piping sound more sweet than
allStirring tho air with such an harmony. That, should you close your eyes, you might
almost Forget it was not day! On moonlight bushes. Whose dewy leaflets arc but half disclosed. You may perchance behold them on the twig*. 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 vow'd and dedicate To something more than Nature in the grovrl Glides thro' the pathways; she knows aO
their notes. That gentle Maid! and oft a moment's space. What lime the Moon wag lout behind a
cloud, Hath heard a pause of silence; till the
Moon Eiuerping, hath awaken'd earth and sky W ith one sensation, and these wakeful birds Hare all burst forth in choral minstrelsy, Is if one quick and sudden gale had swept An hundred airy harps! And she hath watch'd Many a Nightingale perch giddily On bloomy twig still swinging from the
breeze, And to that motion tune his wanton song Lite tipsy joy that reels with tossing head.
Farewell, O Warbler! till to-morrow-eve, And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell! He haTe 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, Mara all things with his imitative lisp, How he would place his hand beside his car, His little hand, the small forefinger up, And hid 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 harried with him to our orchard-pint. And he beheld the Moon, and, hush'd at
once, Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently, H hile his fair eyes, that swam with undropt
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, S»eet Nightingale! Once more, my friends!
FROST AT MIDNIGHT.
fas Frost performs its secret ministry, I nhelp'd by any wind. The owlet's cry Came loud—and hark, again! loud as before, •"he inmates of my cottage, all at rest, "ate left me to that solitude, which suits AUtrnser musings: save that at my Bide My cradled infant slumbers peacefully. Tit calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs •*ad vexes meditation with its strange And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood, With aU the numberless goings on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
How oft, at school, with most believing mind, Presageful, have I gaz'd upon the bars, To watch that fluttering stranger! and as oft With unclosed lids already had I dreamt Of my sweet birth-place, and the old churchtower, Whose bells, the poor man's only music,
rang From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day, So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me With a wild pleasure, falling on mine car Most like articulate sounds of things to come! So gaz'd I, till the soothing things, I dreamt, Luil'd me to sleep, and sleep prolong'd my
dreams! And so I brooded all the following morn, Aw'd by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye Fix'd with mock study on my swimming book: Save if the door half open'd, and I snatch'd A hasty glance, and still my heart leapt up, For still I hop'd to see the stranger's face, Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved. My play - mate when we both were cloth'd alike!
Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my
side, Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep
calm, Fill np the interspersed vacnncics And momentary pauses of the thought! My Babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart With tender gladness, thus to look at thee, And think that thou shalt learn far other lore And in far other scenes! For I was rear'd In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim, And saw nought lovely but the sky and
stars. But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a
breeze By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the craga Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds Which image in their bulk both lakes and
shores And mountain-crags: so shalt thou aee and
hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible Of that eternal language, which thy God Utters, who from eternity doth tench Himself in all, and all things in himself. Great universal Teacher! he shall mould Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.
Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, Whether the summer clothe the general earth With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the evedrops fall, Heard only in the trances of the blast, Or if the secret ministry of frost Shall hang them up in silent icicles, Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.
And those thin clouds above, in flakes and
bars, That give away their motion to the stars; Those stars, that glide behind them or
between. Not sparkling, now bedimm'd, but always
seen; Von crescent Moon, as fix'd as if it grew In its own cloudless, starless lake of blue; I see them all so excellently fair, I see, not feel how beautiful they are!
Late, Isle yestreen 1 saw the new Moon,
Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence.
Well! If the Bard was weather-wise, who
made The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spcnce, This night, so tranquil now, will not go
hence Unrous'd by winds, thnt ply a busier trade Than those which mould yon clouds in lazy
Or the dull sobbing draft, that moans and
rakes Upon the strings of this . Kolian lute, Which better far were mute. For lo! the New-moon winter-bright, And overspread with phantom-light, (With swimming phantom-light o'erspread But riniiu'd and circled by a silver thread) I see the old Moon in her lap, foretelling The coming on of rain and squally blast. And oh! that even now the gust were swelling, And the slant night-shower driving loud and
fast! Those sounds which oft have raised mc,
whilst they awed, And sent my soul abroad, Might now perhaps their wonted impulse
give, Might startle this dull pain, and make it
move and live!
A grief without a pang, void, dark, and
drear, A stifled, drowsy, unimpassion'd grief, Which finds no natural outlet, no relief, In word, or sigh, or tear— O Lady! in this wan and heartless mood. To-other thoughts by yonder throstle woo'd, All this long eve, so balmy and serene, Have I been gazing on the western sky, And its peculiar tint of yellow green: And still I gaze - and with how blank an
My genial spirits fail,
And what can these avail.
To lift the smothering weight from oflf my
breast ¥ It were a vain endeavour, Though I should gaze for ever On that green light that lingers in the west: I may not hope from outward forms to win The passion and the life, whose fountains
O Lady! we receive but what we give,
O pure of heart! thou needst not ask of me
cloud— We in ourselves rejoice! And thence flows all that charms or ear or
sight. All melodies the echoes of that voice, All colours a suffusion from that light.
There was a time when, though my path
was rough. This joy within mc dallied with distress. And all misfortunes were but as the stuff 'Whence Fancy made me dreams of happiness: For hope grew round me, like the twining
vine, And fruits, and foliage, not my own, seem'd
mine. But now afflictions how me down to earth: Nor cere I that they rob me of my mirth, But oh! each visitation Suspends what nature gave me at my birth, My shaping spirit of Imagination. For not to think of what I needs must feel, But to be still and patient, all I can; And haply by abstruse research to steal From my own nature all the natural Man— This was ray sole resource, my only plan: Till that which suits a part infects the
whole, And now is almost grown the habit of my
Hence, viper thoughts, that coil around my
mind, Reality's dark dream! I turn from you, and listen to the wind, Which long has rav'd unnotie'd. What a
scream Of agony by torture lengthen'd out That lute sent forth! Thou Wind, that
rav'st without, Bare crag, or mountain-taint, or blasted tree, Orpine-grove whither woodman never clomb, Or lonely house, long held the witches'
home, Mc think* were fitter instruments for thee, Mad Lutanist! who in this month ofshow'rs, Of dark brown gardens, n ml of peeping flow'rs, Mak'st Devils' yule, with worse than wint'ry
song, The blossoms, buds, and tim'rous leaves
among. Thou Actor, perfect in all tragic sounds! Thou mighty Poet, e'en to Frenzy bold! "hat tellst thou now about? T» of the rushing of an host in rout, "ith groans of trampled men, with smarting
wounds— At once they groan with pain, and shudder
with the cold! But hush! there is a pause of deepest silence! And all that noise, as of a rushing crowd, With groans, and tremulous shudderings—
all is over— It tells another tale, with sounds less deep
and loud! A talc of less affright, And temper'd with delight, « Otway's self had fram'd the tender lay— Ti. of a little child Hon a lonesome wild, 1W far from home, but she hath lost her
way: ^na now moans low in bitter grief and fear, And now screams loud, and hopes to make
her mother hear.
"Tis midnight, but small thoughts have I of sleep:
Full seldom may my friend such vigils keep!
Visit her, gentle Sleep! with wings of healing,
And may this storm be but a mountainbirth,
May all the stars hang bright above her dwelling,
Silent as though they watch'd the sleeping Earth!
With light heart may she rise,
Gay fancy, cheerful eyes,
Joy lift her spirit, joy attune her voice:
To her may all things live, from pole to pole,
Their life the eddying of her living soul!
O simple spirit, guided from above,
Dear Lady! friend devoutest of my choice,
Thus iuayst thou ever, evermore rejoice.
ODE TO GEOKGIANA, DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE.
On rim 24th Stanza In Her "passage Over
And hail the Chapel! hail the Platform wild!
Where Tell directed the avenging Dart, With well strung arm, that first preserved his Child,
Then aimed the arrow at the Tyrant's heart.
Splendor's fondly fostered child!
And did you hail the Platform wild,
Where once the Austrian fell
Beneath the shaft of Tell?
O Lady, nurs'd in pomp and pleasure!
Whence learnt you that heroic measure?
Light as a dream your days their circlets
ran, From all that teaches brotherhood to man Far,far removed! from want, from hope, from
fear! Enchanting music lull'd your infant ear, Obeisant praises sooth'd your infant heart: Emblazonments and old ancestral crests, With many a bright obstrusive form of art Detain'd your eye from nature: stately
vests, That veiling strove to deck your charms'
divine, Rich viands, and the pleasurable wine, Were your's unearn'd by toil; nor could
you see The unenjoying toiler's misery. And yet, free Nature's uncorrupted child, You hail'd the Chapel and the Platform
wild, Where once the Austrian fell Beneath the shaft of Tell! O Lady, nurs'd in pomp and pleasure! Whence learnt you that heroic measure? There crowd your finely-fibred frame,
All living faculties of bliss:
And Genius to your cradle came.
His forehead wrcath'd with lambent flame,
And bending low, with godlike kiss
Breath'd in a more celestial life!
But boasts not many a fair compeer
A heart as sensitive to joy and fear?
And some, perchance, might wage an equal
Beneath the shaft of Tell!
— You were a Mother! That most holy
You were a Mother! at your bosom fed
ODE TO TRANQUILLITY.
In i\<) i Ii.i.itv! thou better name
shore, Ere yet the Tempest rose and scar'd me with
Who late and lingering seeks thy shrine,
But me thy gentle hand will lead
At morning through the accustom'd mead;
And in the sultry summer's heat
Will build me up a mossy seat!
And when the gust of Autumn crowd*
And breaks the busy moonlight-clouds.
Thou best the thought canst raise, the heart
attune, Light as the busy clouds, calm as the gliding
The feeling heart, the searching soul.
To thee I dedicate the whole'
And while within myself 1 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
gnile, Too foolish for a tear, too wicked for a smile
TO A YOUNG FRIEND,
OH HIS PBOPOSINO TO DOMS8T1C1TB WITH TBI 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 color'd lichens with slow oosing weep: Where cypress and the darker yew start wiM; And 'mid the summer-torrent's gentle duh Dance brighten'd the red clusters of the ash; Benenth whose boughs, by those still sounds
begutl'd. Calm I'ensi i eness might muse herself to (Jeep: