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XXXIX.

WHILE they, who once were Anna's Playmates, tread
The mountain turf and river's flowery marge;
Or float with inusic in the festal barge;
Rein the proud steed, or through the dance are led;
Her doom it is to press a weary bed-
Till oft her guardian Angel, to some Charge
More urgent called, will stretch his wings at large,
And Friends too rarely prop the languid head.
Yet Genius is no feeble comforter:
The presence even of a stuffed Owl for her
Can cheat the time; sending her fancy out
To ivied castles and to moonlight skies,
Though he can neither stir a plume, nor shout;
Nor veil, with restless film, his staring eyes.

XL.

TO THE CUCKOO.

NOT the whole warbling grove in concert heard
When sunshine follows shower, the breast can thrill
Like the first summons, Cuckoo! of thy bill,
With its twin notes inseparably paired.
'The Captive 'mid damp vaults unsunned, unaired,
Measuring the periods of his lonely doom,
That cry can reach; and to the sick man's room
Sends gladness, by no languid smile declared.
The lordly Eagle-race through hostile search
May perish; time may come when never more
The wilderness shall hear the Lion roar;
But, long as Cock shall crow from household perch
To rouse the dawn, soft gales shall speed thy wing,
And thy erratic voice be faithful to the Spring!

XLI.

THE INFANT M

UNQUIET Childhood here by special grace
Forgets her nature, opening like a flower
That neither feeds nor wastes its vital power
In painful struggles. Months each other chase,
And nought untunes that Infant's voice; a trace
Of fretful temper sullies not her cheek;
Prompt, lively, self-sufficing, yet so meek
That one enrapt with gazing on her face
(Which even the placid innocence of Death
Could scarcely make more placid, Heaven more bright)
Might learn to picture, for the eye of faith,
The Virgin, as she shone with kindred light;
A Nursling couched upon her Mother's knee,
Beneath some shady Palm of Galilee.

M

XLII.

TO ROTHA Q—.

ROTHA, my Spiritual Child! this head was gray
When at the sacred Font for Thee I stood;
Pledged till thou reach the verge of womanhood
And shalt become thy own sufficient stay:
Too late, I feel, sweet Orphan! was the day
For steadfast hope the contract to fulfil;
Yet shall my blessing hover o'er thee still,
Embodied in the music of this Lay,
Breathed forth beside the peaceful mountain Stream*
Whose murmur soothed thy languid Mother's ear
After her throes, this Stream of name more dear
Since thou dost bear it, a memorial theme
For others; for thy future self a spell
To summon fancies out of Time's dark cell.

ΤΟ

SUCH age how beautiful! O Lady bright,
Whose mortal lineaments seem all refined
By favouring Nature and a saintly Mind
To something purer and more exquisite
Than flesh and blood; whene'er thou meet'st my sight
When I behold thy blanched unwithered cheek,
Thy temples fringed with locks of gleaming white,
And head that droops because the soul is meek,
Thee with the welcome Snowdrop I compare;
That Child of Winter, prompting thoughts that climo
From desolation toward the genial prime;
Or with the Moon conquering earth's misty air,
And filling more and more with crystal light
As pensive Evening deepens into night.

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XLIII.

IN HER SEVENTIETH YEAR.

XLIV.

A GRAVE-STONE UPON THE FLOOR IN THE CLOISTERS
OF WORCESTER CATHEDRAL.
"MISERRIMUS!" and neither name nor date,
Prayer, text, or symbol, graven upon the stone;
Nought but that word assigned to the unknown,
That solitary word to separate

From all, and cast a cloud around the fate

Of him who lies beneath.

Most wretched one,
Who chose his Epitaph? Himself alone
Could thus have dared the grave to agitate,
And claim, among the dead, this awful crown;
Nor doubt that He marked also for his own,
Close to these cloistral steps a burial-place,
That every foot might fall with heavier tread,
Trampling upon his vileness. Stranger, pass
Softly! To save the contrite, Jesus bled.

*The River Rotha, that flows into Windermere from the Lakes of Grasmere and Rydal.

XLV.

A TRADITION OF DARLEY DALE, DERBYSHIRE.
"Tis said that to the brow of yon fair hill
Two Brothers clomb, and, turning face from face,
Nor one look more exchanging, grief to still
Or feed, each planted on that lofty place

A chosen Tree; then, eager to fulfil

Their courses, like two new-born rivers, they
In opposite directions urged their way
Down from the far-seen mount. No blast might kill
Or blight that fond memorial; — the trees grew,
And now entwine their arms; but ne'er again
Embraced those Brothers upon earth's wide plain;
Nor aught of mutual joy or sorrow knew
Until their spirits mingled in the sea
That to itself takes all-Eternity.

XLVI.

XLVII.

TO B. R. HAYDON, ESQ.,

ON SEEING HIS PICTURE OF NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE
ON THE ISLAND OF ST. HELENA.
HAYDON! let worthier judges praise the skill
Here by thy pencil shown in truth of lines
And charm of colours; I applaud those signs
Of thought, that give the true poetic thrill;
That unencumbered whole of blank and still,
ocean without a wave;
Sky without cloud -
And the one Man that laboured to enslave
The World, sole-standing high on the bare hill-
Back turned, arms folded, the unapparent face
Tinged, we may fancy, in this dreary place
With light reflected from the invisible sun
Set like his fortunes; but not set for aye
Like them. The unguilty Power pursues his way,
And before him doth dawn perpetual run.

XLVIII.

CHATSWORTH! thy stately mansion, and the pride
Of thy domain, strange contrast do present
To house and home in many a craggy rent
Of the wild Peak; where new-born waters glide
Through fields whose thrifty Occupants abide
As in a dear and chosen banishment,

FILIAL PIETY.

UNTOUCHED through all severity of cold,
Inviolate, whate'er the cottage hearth
Might need for comfort, or for festal mirth,
That Pile of Turf is half a century old:
Yes, Traveller! fifty winters have been told
Since suddenly the dart of death went forth
'Gainst him who raised it, his last work on earth;
Thence by his Son more prized than aught which gold
Could purchase-watched, preserved by his own hands,
That, faithful to the Structure, still repair
Its waste.-Though crumbling with each breath of air, Rich mellow bearings, that for thanks shall call;
In annual renovation thus it stands
Rude Mausoleum! but wrens nestle there,
And red-breasts warble when sweet sounds are rare.

DESPONDING Father! mark this altered boug,
So beautiful of late, with sunshine warmed,
Or moist with dews; what more unsightly now,
Its blossoms shrivelled, and its fruit, if formed,
Invisible yet Spring her genial brow
Knits not o'er that discolouring and decay
As false to expectation. Nor fret thou
At like unlovely process in the May
Of human life: a Stripling's graces blow,
Fade and are shed, that from their timely fall
(Misdeem it not a cankerous change) may grow

In all men, sinful is it to be slow

To hope-in Parents, sinful above all.

With every semblance of entire content;
So kind is simple Nature, fairly tried!
Yet He whose heart in childhood gave her troth
To pastoral dales, thin set with modest farms,
May learn, if judgment strengthen with his growth,
That, not for Fancy only, pomp hath charms;
And, strenuous to protect from lawless harms
The extremes of favoured life, may honour both.

XLIX.

L.

ROMAN ANTIQUITIES DISCOVERED,

AT BISHOPSTONE, HEREFORDSHIRE.

WHILE poring Antiquarians search the ground
Upturned with curious pains, the Bard, a Seer,
Takes fire: The men that have been reappear;
Romans for travel girt, for business gowned,
And some recline on couches, myrtle-crowned,
In festal glee: why not? For fresh and clear,
As if its hues were of the passing year,
Dawns this time-buried pavement. From that mound
Hoards may come forth of Trajans, Maximins,
Shrunk into coins with all their warlike toil;
Or a fierce impress issues with its foil

Of tenderness-the Wolf, whose suckling Twins
The unlettered Ploughboy pities when he wins
The casual treasure from the furrowed soil.

LL

ST. CATHERINE OF LEDBURY

WHEN human touch, as monkish books attest,
Nor was applied nor could be, Ledbury bells
Broke forth in concert flung adown the dells,
And upward, high as Malvern's cloudy crest;
Sweet tones, and caught by a noble Lady blest
To rapture! Mabel listened at the side

Of her loved Mistress: soon the music died,
And Catherine said, "Here I set up my rest."
Warned in a dream, the Wanderer long had sought
A home that by such miracle of sound
Must be revealed: she heard it now, or felt
The deep, deep joy of a confiding thought;
And there, a saintly Anchoress, she dwelt
Till she exchanged for heaven that happy ground.

LIII.

FOUR fiery steeds impatient of the rein
Whirled us o'er sunless ground beneath a sky
As void of sunshine, when, from that wide Plain,
Clear tops of far-off Mountains we descry,
Like a Sierra of cerulean Spain,

LIV.

TO THE AUTHOR'S PORTRAIT.

All light and lustre. Did no heart reply?
Yes, there was One; for One, asunder fly
The thousand links of that ethereal chain;
And green vales open out, with grove and field,
And the fair front of many a happy Home;
Such tempting spots as into vision come
While Soldiers, of the weapons that they wield
Weary, and sick of strifeful Christendom,
Gaze on the moon by parting clouds revealed.

[Painted at Rydal Mount, by W. Pickersgill, Esq., for St. John's College, Cambridge.]

Go, faithful Portrait! and where long hath knelt
Margaret, the saintly Foundress, take thy place;
And, if Time spare the colours for the grace
Which to the work surpassing skill hath dealt,
Thou, on thy rock reclined, though Kingdoms melt,
And States be torn up by the roots, wilt seem
To breathe in rural peace, to hear the stream,
To think and feel as once the Poet felt.
Whate'er thy fate, those features have not grown
Unrecognized through many a household tear,
More prompt more glad to fall than drops of dew
By morning shed around a flower half blown;
Tears of delight, that testified how true
To life thou art, and, in thy truth, how dear!

LII.

WHY art thou silent! Is thy love a plant
Of such weak fibre that the treacherous air
Of absence withers what was once so fair?
Is there no debt to pay, no boon to grant?
Yet have my thoughts for thee been vigilant
(As would my deeds have been) with hourly care,
The mind's least generous wish a mendican
For nought but what thy happiness could spare.
Speak, though this soft warm heart, once free to hold
A thousand tender pleasures, thine and mine,
Be left more desolate, more dreary cold
Than a forsaken bird's-nest filled with snow
'Mid its own bush of leafless eglantine;
Speak, that my torturing doubts their end may know! All fitful cares, all transitory zeal;

LV.
CONCLUSION.

ΤΟ

Ir these brief Records, by the Muses' art
Produced as lonely Nature or the strife
That animates the scenes of public life
Inspired, may in thy leisure claim a part;
And if these Transcripts of the private heart
Have gained a sanction from thy falling tears,
Then I repent not: but my soul hath fears
Breathed from eternity; for as a dart
Cleaves the blank air, Life flies: now every dav
Is but a glimmering spoke in the swift wheel
Of the revolving week. Away, away,

So timely Grace the immortal wing may heal,
And honour rest upon the senseless clay.

LVI.

IN
my mind's eye a Temple, like a cloud
Slowly surmounting some invidious hill,
Rose out of darkness: the bright Work stood still,
And might of its own beauty have been proud,
But it was fashioned and to God was vowed
By Virtues that diffused, in every part,
Spirit divine through forms of human art:
Faith had her arch her arch, when winds blow loud
Into the consciousness of safety thrilled;
And Love her towers of dread foundation laid
Under the grave of things; Hope had her spire
Star-high, and pointing still to something higher;
Trembling I gazed, but heard a voice—it said,
Hell-gates are powerless Phantoms when we build.

PART THIRD.

I.

THOUGH the bold wings of poesy affect

The clouds, and wheel around the mountain tops
Rejoicing, from her loftiest height she drops
Well pleased to skim the plain with wild flowers deckt,
Or muse in solemn grove whose shades protect
The lingering dew there steals along, or stops
Watching the least small bird that round her hops,
Or creeping worm, with sensitive respect.

Her functions are they therefore less divine,
Her thoughts less deep, or void of grave intent
Her simplest fancies? Should that fear be thine,
Aspiring votary, ere thy hand present
One offering, kneel before her modest shrine,
With brow in penitential sorrow bent!

--

TO

[Miss not the occasion: by the forelock take
That subtle Power, the never halting Time,
Lest a mere moment's putting off should make
Mischance almost as heavy as a crime.]

III.
"WAIT, prithee, wait!" this answer Lesbia threw
Forth to her dove, and took no further heed,
Her eye was busy, while her fingers flew
Across the harp, with soul-engrossing speed;
But from that bondage when her thoughts were freed
She rose, and toward the close-shut casement drew,
Whence the poor unregarded favourite, true
To old affections, had been heard to plead
With flapping wing for entrance. What a shriek
Forced from that voice so lately tuned to a strain
Of harmony!-a shriek of terror, pain,
And self-reproach! for, from aloft, a kite
Pounced, and the dove, which from its ruthless beak
She could not rescue, perished in her sight!

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II.

A Poet! He hath put his heart to school,
Nor dares to move unpropped upon the staff

Lies fixed for ages on his conscious neck;
But by the chieftain's look, though at his side

Which art hath lodged within his hand—must laugh Hangs that day's treasured sword, how firm a check
By precept only, and shed tears by rule.
Thy art be nature; the live current quaff,
And let the groveller sip his stagnant pool,
In fear that else, when critics grave and cool
Have killed him, scorn should write his epitaph.
How does the meadow-flower its bloom unfold?
Because the lovely little flower is free
Down to its root, and, in that freedom, bold;
And so the grandeur of the forest-tree
Comes not by casting in a formal mould,
But from its own divine vitality.

Is given to triumph and all human pride!
Yon trophied mound shrinks to a shadowy speck
In his calm presence! Him the mighty deed
Elates not, brought far nearer the grave's rest,
As shows that time-worn face, for he such seed
Has sown as yields, we trust, the fruit of fame
In Heaven; hence no one blushes for thy name,
Conqueror, mid some sad thoughts, divinely blest!

By art's bold privilege Warrior and War-horse stand
On ground yet strewn with their last battle's wreck;
Let the steed glory while his master's hand

VI.

COMPOSED ON A MAY MORNING, 1838.

LIFE with yon lambs, like day, is just begun,
Yet nature seems to them a heavenly guide.
Does joy approach? they meet the coming tide;
And sullenness avoid, as now they shun
Pale twilight's lingering glooms, and in the sun
Couch near their dams, with quiet satisfied;
Or gambol-each with his shadow at his side,
Varying its shape wherever he may run.
As they from turf yet hoar with sleepy dew
All turn, and court the shining and the green,
Where herbs look up, and opening flowers are seen
Why to God's goodness cannot we be true,
And so, His gifts and promises between,
Feed to the last on pleasures ever new?

VII.

Lo! where she stands fixed in a saint-like trance,
One upward hand, as if she needed rest
From rapture, lying softly on her breast!
Nor wants her eyeball an ethereal glance;

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But not the less-nay more-that countenance,'
While thus illumined, tells of painful strife
For a sick heart made weary of this life

By love, long crossed with adverse circumstance.

Would she were now as when she hoped to pass
At God's appointed hour to them who tread
Heaven's sapphire pavement, yet breathed well content,
Well pleased, her foot should print earth's common
grass,

Lived thankful for day's light, for daily bread,
For health, and time in obvious duty spent.

VIII.

TO A PAINTER.

ALL praise the likeness by thy skill portrayed;
But 't is a fruitless task to paint for me,
Who, yielding not to changes time has made,
By the habitual light of memory see
Eyes unbedimmed, see bloom that cannot fade,
And smiles that from their birth-place ne'er shall flee
Into the land where ghosts and phantoms be;
And, seeing this, own nothing in its stead.
Couldst thou go back into far-distant years,
Or share with me, fond thought! that inward eye,
Then, and then only, painter! could thy art
The visual powers of nature satisfy,
Which hold, whate'er to common sight appears,
Their sovereign empire in a faithful heart.

IX.

ON THE SAME SUBJECT.

THOUGH I beheld at first with blank surprise
This work, I now have gazed on it so long
I see its truth with unreluctant eyes;
O, my beloved! I have done thee wrong,
Conscious of blessedness, but, whence it sprung,
Ever too heedless, as I now perceive:
Morn into noon did pass, noon into eve,
And the old day was welcome as the young,
As welcome, and as beautiful-in sooth
More beautiful, as being a thing more holy:
Thanks to thy virtues, to the eternal youth
Of all thy goodness, never melancholy;
To thy large heart and humble mind, that cast
Into one vision, future, present, past.

And in a moment charmed my cares to rest.
Yes, I will forth, bold bird! and front the blast.
That we may sing together, if thou wilt,
So loud, so clear, my partner through life's day,
Mute in her nest love-chosen, if not love-built
Like thine, shall gladden, as in seasons past,
Thrilled by loose snatches of the social lay.

RYDAL MOUNT, 1838.

XI.

'Tis he whose yester-evening's high disdain
Beat back the roaring storm- but how subdued
His day-break note, a sad vicissitude!
Does the hour's drowsy weight his glee restram?
Or, like the nightingale, her joyous vein
Pleased to renounce, does this dear thrush attune
His voice to suit the temper of yon moon
Doubly depressed, setting, and in her wane?
Rise, tardy sun! and let the songster prove
(The balance trembling between night and morn
No longer) with what ecstasy upborne

He can pour forth his spirit. In heaven above,
And earth below, they best can serve true gladned
Who meet most feelingly the calls of sadness.

XII.

On what a wreck! how changed in mien and speech' Yet though dread Powers, that work in mystery, spin

Entanglings of the brain; though shadows stretch
O'er the chilled heart-reflect; far, far within
Hers is a holy being, freed from sin.

She is not what she seems, a forlorn wretch,
But delegated Spirits comfort fetch

To her from heights that reason may not win.
Like children, she is privileged to hold
Divine communion; both do live and move,
Whate'er to shallow faith their ways unfold,
Inly illumined by Heaven's pitying love;
Love pitying innocence not long to last,
In them in her our sins and sorrows past.

XIII.

INTENT on gathering wool from hedge and brake
Yon busy little-ones rejoice that soon

X.

A poor old dame will bless them for the boon: HARK! 'tis the thrush, undaunted, undeprest, Great is their glee while flake they add to flake By twilight premature of cloud and rain; With rival earnestness; far other strife Nor does that roaring wind deaden his strain Than will hereafter move them, if they make Who carols thinking of his love and nest, Pastime their idol, give their day of life And seems, as more incited, still more blest. To pleasure snatched for reckless pleasure's sake. Thanks; thou hast snapped a fire-side prisoner's chain, Can pomp and show allay one heart-born grief! Exulting warbler! eased a fretted brain, Pains which the world inflicts can she requite1

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