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TO THE SUPREME BEING.
THE prayers I make will then be sweet indeed,
If Thou the spirit give by which I pray :
My unassisted heart is barren clay,
That of its native self can nothing feed:
Of good and pious works thou art the seed,
That quickens only where thou sayest it may:
Unless thou shew to us thine own true way,
No man can find it: Father! thou must lead.
Do Thou, then, breathe those thoughts into my mind
By which such virtue may in me be bred
That in thy holy footsteps I may tread;
The fetters of my tongue do Thou unbind,
That I may have the power to sing of thec,
And sound thy praises everlastingly.
SURPRISED by joy — impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport —Oh! with whom
But Thee, deep buried in the silent Tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind
But how could I forget thee? Through what power,
Even for the least division of an hour,
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind
To my most grievous loss? - That thought's return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
Knowing my heart's best treasure was no more;
That neither present time, nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.
METHOUGHT I saw the footsteps of a throne
Which mists and vapours from mine eyes did shroud-
Nor view of who might sit thereon allowed;
But all the steps and ground about were strown
With sights the ruefullest that flesh and bone
Ever put on; a miserable crowd,
Sick, hale, old, young, who cried before that cloud,
"Thou art our king, O Death! to thee we groan."
I seemed to mount those steps; the vapours gave
Smooth way; and I beheld the face of one
Sleeping alone within a mossy cave,
With her face up to heaven; that seemed to have
Pleasing remembrance of a thought foregone;
A lovely Beauty in a summer grave!
EVEN So for me a Vision sanctified
The sway of Death; long ere mine eyes had seen Thy countenance the still rapture of thy mienWhen thou, dear Sister! wert become Death's Bride: No trace of pain or languor could abide
That change-age on thy brow was sinoothed-thy cola Wan check at once was privileged to unfold
A loveliness to living youth denied.
Oh! if within me hope should e'er decline,
The lamp of faith, lost Friend! too faintly burn;
Then may that heaven-revealing smile of thine,
The bright assurance, visibly return:
And let my spirit in that power divine
Rejoice, as, through that power, it ceased to mourn.
It is a beauteous Evening, calm and free;
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven is on the Sea:
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder-everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear'st untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;
And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.*
WHERE lies the Land to which yon Ship must go: Festively she puts forth in trim array;
As vigorous as a Lark at break of day:
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!
[In the same spirit Coleridge speaks of the sacred light of Childhood."-"The Friend,'III, p. 46.—B R.]
WITH Ships the Sea was sprinkled far and nigh,
Like stars in heaven, and joyously it showed;
Some lying fast at anchor in the road,
Some veering up and down, one knew not why.
goodly Vessel did I then espy
Come like a giant from a haven broad;
And lustily along the Bay she strode,
"Her tackling rich, and of apparel high."
This Ship was nought to me, nor I to her,
Yet I pursued her with a Lover's look;
This Ship to all the rest did I prefer:
When will she turn, and whither? She will brook
No tarrying; where she comes the winds must stir:
On went She, and due north her journey took.
THE world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for every thing, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
A VOLANT Tribe of Bards on earth are found,
Who, while the flattering Zephyrs round them play,
Ou "coignes of vantage" hang their nests of clay;
How quickly from that aery hold unbound,
Dust for oblivion! To the solid ground
Of nature trusts the Mind that builds for aye;
Convinced that there, there only, she can lay
Secure foundations. As the year runs round,
Apart she toils within the chosen ring;
While the stars shine, or while day's purple eye
Is gently closing with the flowers of spring:
Where even the motion of an Angel's wing
Would interrupt the intense tranquillity
Of silent hills, and more than silent sky.
How sweet it is, when mother Fancy rocks
The wayward brain, to saunter through a wood!
An old place, full of many a lovely brood,
Tall trees, green arbours, and ground-flowers in flocks.
And wild rose tip-toe upon hawthorn stocks,
Like a bold Girl, who plays her agile pranks
At Wakes and Fairs with wandering Mountebanks, — When she stands cresting the Clown's head, and mocks The crowd beneath her. Verily I think,
Such place to me is sometimes like a dream
Or map of the whole world: thoughts, link by ink,
Enter through ears and eyesight, with such gla n
Of all things, that at last in fear I shrink,
And leap at once from the delicious stream.
I AM not One who much or oft delight
To season my fireside with personal talk,
Of Friends, who live within an easy walk,
Or Neighbours, daily, weekly, in my sight:
And, for my chance-acquaintance, Ladies bright,
Sons, Mothers, Maidens withering on the stalk,
These all wear out of me, like Forms, with chalk
Painted on rich men's floors, for one feast-night.
Better than such discourse doth silence long,
Long, barren silence, square with my desire;
To sit without emotion, hope, or aim,
In the loved presence of my cottage-fire,
And listen to the flapping of the flame,
Or kettle whispering its faint under-song.
"YET life," you say, "is life; we have seen and see,
And with a living pleasure we describe;
And fits of sprightly malice do but bribe
The languid mind into activity.
Sound sense, and love itself, and mirth and giee
Are fostered by the comment and the gibe."
Even be it so yet still among your tribe,
Our daily world's true Worldlings, rank not me!
Children are blest, and powerful; their world lies
More justly balanced; partly at their feet,
And part far from them; - sweetest melodies
Are those that are by distance made more sweet;
Whose 'mind is but the mind of his own eyes,
He is a Slave; the meanest we can meet!
WINGS have we, -and as far as we can go
HIGH is our calling, Friend! - Creative Art
We may find pleasure: wilderness and wood,
(Whether the instrument of words she use,
Blank ocean and mere sky, support that mood
Or pencil pregnant with ethereal hues,)
Which with the lofty sanctifies the low.
Demands the service of a mind and heart,
Dreams, Books, are each a world; and books, we know, Though sensitive, yet, in their weakest part,
Are a substantial world, both pure and good:
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.
There find I personal themes, a plenteous store,
Matter wherein right voluble I am,
- to infuse
Faith in the whispers of the lonely Muse,
While the whole world seems adverse to desert
And, oh! when Nature sinks, as oft she may,
Through long-lived pressure of obscure distress,
Still to be strenuous for the bright reward,
And in the soul admit of no decay,
Brook no continuance of weak-mindedness
Great is the glory, for the strife is hard!
To which I listen with a ready ear;
Two shall be named, pre-eminently dear,
The gentle Lady married to the Moor;
And heavenly Una with her milk-white Lamb.
Nor can I not believe but that hereby
Great gains are mine; for thus I live remote
From evil-speaking; rancour never sought,
Comes to me not; inalignant truth, or lie.
Hence have I genial seasons, hence have I
Smooth passions, smooth discourse, and joyous thought: Yet a rich guerdon waits on minds that dare,
FROM the dark chambers of dejection freed,
Spurning the unprofitable yoke of care,
Rise, GILLIES, rise: the gales of youth shall bear
Thy genius forward like a winged steed.
Though bold Bellerophon (so Jove decreed
In wrath) fell headlong from the fields of air,
If aught be in them of immortal seed,
And reason govern that audacious flight
Which heavenward they direct. Then droop not
And thus from day to day my little Boat
Rocks in its harbour, lodging peaceably.
Blessings be with them and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares-
The Poets, who on earth have made us Heirs
Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays!
Oh! might my name be numbered among theirs,
Then gladly would I end my mortal days.
I WATCH, and long have watched, with calm regret,
Yon slowly-sinking star-immortal Sire
(So might he seem) of all the glittering quire!
Blue ether still surrounds him-yet- and yet;
But now the horizon's rocky parapet
Is reached, where, forfeiting his bright attire,
He burns transmuted to a sullen fire,
TO B. R. HAYDON, ESQ.
Erroneously renewing a sad vow
In the low dell 'mid Roslin's faded grove:
A cheerful life is what the Muses love,
A soaring spirit is their prime delight.
FAIR Prime of life! were it enough to gild
With ready sunbeams every straggling shower;
And, if an unexpected cloud should lower,
Swiftly thereon a rainbow arch to build
For Fancy's errands, — then, from fields half-tilleu
Gathering green weeds to mix with poppy flower,
Thee might thy Minions crown, and chant thy pow'r
Unpitied by the wise, all censure stilled.
Ah! show that worthier honours are thy due;
Fair Prime of Life! arouse the deeper heart;
Confirm the Spirit glorying to pursue
Some path of steep ascent and lofty aim;
And, if there be a joy that slights the claim
Of grateful memory, bid that joy depart
I HEARD (alas! 't was only in a dream)
Strains which, as sage Antiquity believed,
By waking ears have sometimes been received,
Wafled adown the wind from lake or stream;
A most melodious requiem, a supreme
And perfect harmony of notes, achieved
By a fair Swan on drowsy billows heaved,
O'er which her pinions shed a silver gleam.
For is she not the votary of Apollo?
And knows she not, singing as he inspires,
That bliss awaits her which the ungenial hollow*
Of the dull earth partakes not, nor desires?
Mount, tuneful Bird, and join the immortal quires!
She soared—and I awoke, struggling in vain to follow.
Ir the whole weight of what we think and feel,
Save only far as thought and feeling blend
With action, were as nothing, patriot Friend!
From thy remonstrance would be no appeal;
But to promote and fortify the weal
Of our own Being is her paramount end;
A truth which they alone shall comprehend
Who shun the mischief which they cannot heal.
Peace in these feverish times is sovereign bliss;
Here, with no thirst but what the stream can slake,
And startled only by the rustling brake,
Cool air I breathe; while the unincumbered Mind
By some weak aims at services assigned
To gentle Natures, thanks not Heaven amiss.
TO THE MEMORY OF RAISLEY CALVERT
CALVERT! it must not be unheard by them
Who may respect my name, that I to thee
Owed many years of early liberty.
This care was thine when sickness did condemn
Thy youth to hopeless wasting, root and stem:
That I, if frugal and severe, might stray
Where'er I liked; and finally array
My temples with the Muse's diadem.
Hence, if in freedom I have loved the truth,
If there be aught of pure, or good, or great,
In my past verse; or shall be, in the lays
Of higher mood, which now I meditate,
It gladdens me, O worthy, short-lived Youth!
To think how much of this will be thy praise.
* See the Phedo of Plato, by which this Sonnet was suggested.
SCORN not the Sonnet; Critic, you have frowned
Mindless of its just honours; with this Key
Shakspeare unlocked his heart; the melody
Of this small Lute gave ease to Petrarch's wound,
A thousand times this Pipe did Tasso sound;
Camöens soothed with it an Exile's grief;
The Sonnet glittered a gay myrtle Leaf
Amid the cypress with which Dante crowned
His visionary brow: a glow-worm Lamp,
It cheered mild Spenser, called from Faery-land
To struggle through dark ways; and, when a damp
Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand
The Thing became a Trumpet, whence he blew
Soul-animating strains-alas, too few!
Nor Love, not War, nor the tumultuous swell
Of civil conflict, nor the wrecks of change,
Nor Duty struggling with afflictions strange,
Not these alone inspire the tuneful shell;
But where untroubled peace and concord dwell,
There also is the Muse not loth to range,
Watching the blue smoke of the elmy grange,
Skyward ascending from the twilight dell.
Meek aspirations please her, lone endeavour,
And sage content, and placid melancholy;
She loves to gaze upon a crystal river,
Diaphanous, because it travels slowly;
Soft is the music that would charm for ever;
The flower of sweetest smell is shy and lowly.
WHILE not a leaf seems faded, while the fields, With ripening harvest prodigally fair,
In brightest sunshine bask, this nipping air,
Sent from some distant clime where Winter wields
His icy scimitar, a foretaste yields
Of bitter change- and bids the Flowers beware;
And whispers to the silent Birds, "Prepare
Against the threatening Foe your trustiest shields."
For me, who under kindlier laws belong
To Nature's tuneful quire, this rustling dry
Through leaves yet green, and yon crystalline sky,
Announce a season potent to renew,
'Mid frost and snow, the instinctive joys of song,
And nobler cares than listless summer knew.
How clear, how keen, how marvellously bright
The effluence from yon distant mountain's head,
Which, strewn with snow smooth as the heaven can
Shines like another Sun- on mortal sight
Uprisen, as if to check approaching night,
And all her twinkling stars. Who now would tread,
If so he might, yon mountain's glittering head-
Terrestrial- but a surface, by the flight
Of sad mortality's earth-sullying wing,
Unswept, unstained? Nor shall the aerial Powers
Dissolve that beauty - destined to endure,
White, radiant, spotless, exquisitely pure,
Through all vicissitudes- till genial spring
Have filled the laughing vales with welcome flowers.
COMPOSED DURING A STORM. ONE who was suffering tumult in his soul
Yet failed to seek the sure relief of prayer,
Went forth his course surrendering to the care
Of the fierce wind, while mid-day lightnings prowl
Insidiously, untimely thunders growl;
While trees, dim seen, in frenzied numbers, tear
The lingering remnant of their yellow hair,
And shivering wolves, surprised with darkness, howl
As if the sun were not. He raised his eye
Soul-smitten, for, that instant, did appear
Large space, 'mid dreadful clouds, of purest sky,
An azure orb-shield of Tranquillity,
Invisible, unlooked-for minister
Of providential goodness ever nigh!
COMPOSED A FEW DAYS AFTER THE FOREGOING
WHEN haughty expectations prostrate lie,
And grandeur crouches like a guilty thing,
Oft shall the lowly weak, till nature bring
Mature release, in fair society
Survive, and Fortune's utmost anger try;
Like these frail snow-drops that together cling,
And nod their helmets, smitten by the wing
Of many a furious whirl-blast sweeping by.
Observe the faithful flowers! if small to great
May lead the thoughts, thus struggling used to stand
The Emathian phalanx, nobly obstinate;
And so the bright immortal Theban band,
Whom onset, fiercely urged at Jove's command,
Might overwhelm, but could not separate!
THE Stars are mansions built by Nature's hand,
The sun is peopled; and with Spirits blest:
Say, can the gentle Moon be unpossessed?
Huge Ocean shows, within his yellow strand,
A Habitation marvellously planned,
For life to occupy in love and rest;
All that we see — - is dome, or vault, or nest,
Or fort, erected at her sage command.
Glad thought for every season! but the Spring
Gave it while cares were weighing on my heart,
'Mid song of birds, and insects murmuring;
And while the youthful year's prolific art
Of bud, leaf, blade, and flower—was fashioning
Abodes where self-disturbance hath no part.
TO THE LADY BEAUMONT.
TO A SNOW-DROP.
LONE Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they, LADY! the songs of Spring were in the grove
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
While I was shaping beds for winter flowers;
While I was planting green unfading bowers,
And shrubs to hang upon the warm alcove,
And sheltering wall; and still, as Fancy wove
The dream, to time and nature's blended powers
gave this paradise for winter hours,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!
A labyrinth, Lady! which your feet shall rove.
Yes! when the sun of life more feebly shines,
Becoming thoughts, I trust, of solemn gloom
Or of high gladness, you shall hither bring;
And these perennial bowers and murmuring pines
Be gracious as the music and the bloom
And all the mighty ravishment of spring.