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CALM is the fragrant air, and loth to lose
Day's grateful warmth, though moist with falling dews.
Look for the stars, you'll say that there are none;
Look up a second time, and, one by one,
You mark them twinkling out with silvery light,
And wonder how they could elude the sight.
The birds, of late so noisy in their bowers,
Warbled a while with faint and fainter powers,
But now are silent as the dim-scen flowers:
Nor does the Village Church-clock's iron tone
The time's and season's influence disown;
Nine beats distinctly to each other bound
In drowsy sequence; how unlike the sound
That, in rough winter, oft inflicts a fear
On fireside Listeners, doubting what they hear!
The Shepherd, bent on rising with the sun,
Had closed his door before the day was done,
And now with thankful heart to bed doth creep,
And join his little Children in their sleep.
The Bat, lured forth where trees the lane o'ershade,
Flits and reflits along the close arcade;
Far-heard the Dor-hawk chases the white Moth
With burring note, which Industry and Sloth
Might both be pleased with, for it suits them both.
Wheels and the tread of hoofs are heard no more
One Boat there was, but it will touch the shore
With the next dipping of its slackened oar;
Faint sound, that, for the gayest of the gay
Might give to serious thought a moment's sway
As a last token of Man's toilsome day!
• See Note.
Nor in the lucid intervals of life
That come but as a curse to Party-strife;
Not in some hour when Pleasure with a sigh
Of languor puts his rosy garland by;
Not in the breathing-times of that poor Slave
Who daily piles up wealth in Mammon's cave,
Is Nature felt, or can be; nor do words,
Which practised Talent readily affords,
Prove that her hand has touched responsive chorus;
Nor has her gentle beauty power to move
With genuine rapture and with fervent love
The soul of Genius, if he dares to take
Life's rule from passion craved for passion's sake;
Untaught that meekness is the cherished bent
Of all the truly Great and all the Innocent.
But who is innocent? By grace divine,
Not otherwise, O Nature! we are thine,
Through good and evil thine, in just degree
Of rational and manly sympathy.
To all that Earth from pensive hearts is stealing,
And Heaven is now to gladdened eyes revealing,
Add every charm the Universe can show
Through every change its aspects undergo,
Care may be respited, but not repealed;
No perfect cure grows on that bounded field,
Vain is the pleasure, a false calm the peace,
If He, through whom alone our conflicts cease,
Our virtuous hopes without relapse advance,
Come not to speed the Soul's deliverance;
To the distempered Intellect refuse
Ilis gracious help, or give what we abuse.
(BY THE SIDE OF RYDAL MERE.)
THE Linnet's warble, sinking towards a close,
Hints to the Thrush 't is time for their repose;
The shrill-voiced Thrush is heedless, and again
The Monitor revives his own sweet strain;
But both will soon be mastered, and the copse
Be left as silent as the mountain-tops,
Ere some commanding Star dismiss to rest
The throng of Rooks, that now, from twig or nest,
(After a steady flight on home-bound wings,
And a last game of mazy hoverings
Around their ancient grove) with cawing noise
Disturb the liquid music's equipoise.
O Nightingale! Who ever heard thy song
Might here be moved, till Fancy grows so strong
That listening sense is pardonably cheated
Where wood or stream by thee was never greeted.
Surely, from fairest spots of favoured lands,
Were not some gifts withheld by jealous hands,
This hour of deepening darkness here would be, As a fresh morning for new harmony;
And Lays as prompt would hail the dawn of night;
A dawn she has both beautiful and bright,
When the East kindles with the full moon's light.
Wanderer by spring with gradual progress led, For sway profoundly felt as widely spread; To king, to peasant, to rough sailor, dear, And to the soldier's trumpet-wearied ear; How welcome wouldst thou be to this green Vale Fairer than Tempe! Yet, sweet Nightingale! From the warm breeze that bears thee on alight At will, and stay thy migratory flight; Build, at thy choice, or sing, by pool or fount, Who shall complain, or call thee to account? The wisest, happiest, of our kind are they That ever walk content with Nature's way, God's goodness measuring bounty as it may; For whom the gravest thought of what they miss, Chastening the fulness of a present bliss, Is with that wholesome office satisfied, While unrepining sadness is allied In thankful bosoms to a modest pride.
SOFT as a cloud is yon blue Ridge - the mere
Seems firm as solid crystal, breathless, clear,
And motionless; and, to the gazer's eye,
Deeper than Ocean, in the immensity
Of its vague mountains and unreal sky!
But, from the process in that still retreat,
Turn to minuter changes at our feet;
Observe how dewy Twilight has withdrawn
The crowd of daisies from the shaven lawn,
And has restored to view its tender green,
That, while the sun rode high, was lost beneath their
An emblem this of what the sober Hour
Can do for minds disposed to feel its power!
"Thus oft, when we in vain have wished away
The petty pleasures of the garish day,
Meek Eve shuts up the whole usurping host
(Unbashful dwarfs each glittering at his post)
And leaves the disencumbered spirit free
To reassume a staid simplicity.
"T is well-but what are helps of time and place,
When wisdom stands in need of nature's grace;
Why do good thoughts, invoked or not, descend,
Like Angels from their bowers, our virtues to befriend;
If yet To-morrow, unbelied, may say,
"I come to open out, for fresh display,
The elastic vanities of yesterday?"
THE leaves that rustled on this oak-crowned hill,
And sky that danced among those leaves, are still;
Rest smooths the way for sleep; in field and bower
Soft shades and dews have shed their blended power
On drooping eyelid and the closing flower;
Sound is there none at which the faintest heart
Might leap, the weakest nerve of superstition start;
Save when the Owlet's unexpected scream
Pierces the ethereal vault; and 'mid the gleam
Of unsubstantial imagery — the dream,
From the hushed vale's realities, transferred
To the still lake, the imaginative Bird
Seems, 'mid inverted mountains, not unheard.
Grave Creature! whether, while the moon shines bright
On thy wings opened wide for smoothest flight,
Thou art discovered in a roofless tower,
Rising from what may once have been a Lady's bower:
Or spied where thou sit'st moping in thy mew
At the dim centre of a churchyard yew;
Or, from a rifted crag or ivy tod
Deep in a forest, thy secure abode,
Thou giv'st, for pastime's sake, by shriek or shout,
A puzzling notice of thy whereabout;
May the night never come, the day be seen,
When I shall scorn thy voice or mock thy mien !
In classic ages men perceived a soul
Of sapience in thy aspect, headless Owl!
Thee Athens reverenced in the studious grove;
And, near the golden sceptre grasped by Jove,
His Eagle's favourite perch, while round him sate
The Gods revolving the decrees of Fate,
Thou, too, wert present at Minerva's side-
Hark to that second larum! far and wide
The elements have heard, and rock and cave replied.
THE Sun, that seemed so mildly to retire,
Flung back from distant climes a streaming fire,
Whose blaze is now subdued to tender gleams,
Prelude of night's approach with soothing dreams.
Look round; - of all the clouds not one is moving
'Tis the still hour of thinking, feeling, loving.
Silent, and steadfast as the vaulted sky,
The boundless plain of waters seems to lie:
Comes that low sound from breezes rustling o'er
The grass-crowned headland that conceals the shore!
No: 't is the earth-voice of the mighty sea,
Whispering how meek and gentle he can be!
Thou Power supreme! who, arming to rebuke Offenders, dost put off the gracious look,
And clothe thyself with terrors like the flood
Of ocean roused into his fiercest mood,
Whatever discipline thy will ordain
For the brief course that must for me remain;
Teach me with quick-eared spirit to rejoice
In admonitions of thy softest voice!
Whate'er the path these mortal feet may trace,
Breathe through my soul the blessing of thy grace,
Glad, through a perfect love, a faith sincere
Drawn from the wisdom that begins with fear;
Glad to expand, and, for a season, free
From finite cares, to rest absorbed in Thee!
(BY THE SEA SIDE.)
THE sun is couched, the sea-fowl gone to rest, And the wild storm hath somewhere found a nest; Air slumbers — wave with wave no longer strives, Only a heaving of the deep survives, A tell-tale motion! soon will it be laid, And by the tide alone the water swayed. Stealthy withdrawings, interminglings mild Of light with shade in beauty reconciled Such is the prospect far as sight can range, The soothing recompense, the welcome change. Where now the ships that drove before the blast, Threatened by angry breakers as they passed; And by a train of flying clouds bemocked; Or, in the hollow surge, at anchor rocked As on a bed of Death? Some lodge in peace, Saved by His care who bade the tempest cease; And some, too heedless of past danger, court Fresh gales to waft them to the far-off port; But ne, or hanging sea and sky between, Not one of all those winged Powers is seen, Seen in her course nor 'mid this quiet heard; Yet oh! how gladly would the air be stirred By some acknowledgment of thanks and praise, Soft in its temper as those vesper lays Sung to the virgin while accordant oars Urge the slow bark along Calabrian shores; A sea-born service through the mountains felt, Till into one loved vision all things melt: Or like those hymns that soothe with graver sound The gulfy coast of Norway iron-bound; And, from the wide and open Baltic, rise With punctual care, Lutherian harmonies. Hush, not a voice is here! but why repine, Now when the star of eve comes forth to shine On British waters with that look benign? Ye mariners, that plough your onward way, Or in the haven rest, or sheltering bay,
May silent thanks at least to God be given
With a full heart, our thoughts are heard in heaven!"
[The former of the two following Pieces appeared, many years ago, among the Author's poems, from which, in subsequent editions, it was excluded. It is here reprinted, at the request of a friend who was present when the lines were thrown off as an impromptu.
For printing the latter, some reason should be given, as not a word of it is original: it is simply a fine stanza of Akenside connected with a still finer from Beattie, by a couplet of Thomson. This practice, in which the author sometimes indulges, of linking together, in his own mind, favourite passages from dif ferent authors, seems in itself unobjectionable: but, as the publishing such compilations might lead to confusion in litera. ture, he should deem himself inexcusable in giving this speci men, were it not from a hope that it might open to others a harmless source of private gratification.]
THE sun has long been set,
The stars are out by twos and threes, The little birds are piping yet
Among the bushes and trees;
There's a cuckoo, and one or two thrushes,
And a far-off wind that rushes,
And a sound of water that gushes,
And the Cuckoo's sovereign cry
Fills all the hollow of the sky.
Who would 'go parading"
In London, "and masquerading,"
On such a night of June
With that beautiful soft half-moon,
And all these innocent blisses,
On such a night as this is?
THRONED in the Sun's descending car
What Power unseen diffuses far
This tenderness of mind?
What Genius smiles on yonder flood?
What God in whispers from the wood
Bids every thought be kind?
O ever pleasing Solitude,
Companion of the wise and good,
Thy shades, thy silence, now be mine,
Thy charms my only theme;
My haunt the hollow cliff whose Pine
Waves o'er the gloomy stream;
Whence the scared Owl on pinions gray
Breaks from the rustling boughs,
And down the lone vale sails away
To more profound repose!
! An idolizing dreamer as of yore!
I slight them all; and, on this sea-beat shore
Sole sitting, only can to thoughts attend
That bid me hail thee as the SAILOR'S FRIEND;
So call thee for heaven's grace through thee made known
X. COMPOSED BY THE SEA-SHORE. WHAT mischief cleaves to unsubdued regret, How fancy sickens by vague hopes beset; How Daffled projects on the spirit prey, And fruitless wishes eat the heart away, The Sailor knows; he best, whose lot is cast On the relentless sea that holds him fast On chance dependent, and the fickle star Of power, through long and melancholy war. O sad it is, in sight of foreign shores, Daily to think on old familiar doors, Hearths loved in childhood, and ancestral floors; Or, tossed about along a waste of foam,
To ruminate on that delightful home
Which with the dear betrothed was to come; Or came, and was, and is, yet meets the eye Never but in the world of memory;
Or in a dream recalled, whose smoothest range
Is crossed by knowledge, or by dread, of change,
And if not so, whose perfect joy makes sleep
A thing too bright for breathing man to keep.
Hail to the virtues which that perilous life
Extracts from Nature's elemental strife;
And welcome glory won in battles fought
As bravely as the foe was keenly sought.
But to each gallant Captain and his crew
A less imperious sympathy is due,
Such as my verse now yields, while moonbeams play
On the mute sea in this unruffled bay;
Such as will promptly flow from every breast,
Where good men disappointed in the quest
Of wealth and power and honours, long for rest;
Or, having known the splendours of success,
Sigh for the obscurities of happiness.
The aspiring mountains and the winding streams, Empress of Night! are gladdened by thy beams; A look of thine the wilderness pervades, And penetrates the forest's inmost shades; Thou, chequering peaceably the minster's gloom, Guid'st the pale mourner to the lost one's tomb; Canst reach the prisoner - to his grated cell Welcome, though silent and intangible! — And lives there one, of all that come and go On the great waters toiling to and fro, One, who has watched thee at some quiet hour Enthroned aloft in undisputed power,
Or crossed by vapoury streaks and clouds that move,
Catching the lustre they in part reprove-
Nor sometimes felt a fitness in thy sway
To call up thoughts that shun the glare of day, And make the serious happier than the gay?
Yes, lovely Moon! if thou so mildly bright Dost rouse, yet surely in thy own despite, To fiercer mood the phrenzy-stricken brain, Let me a compensating faith maintain; That there's a sensitive, a tender, part Which thou canst touch in every human heart, For healing and composure. - But, as least And mightiest billows ever have confessed Thy domination; as the whole vast sea Feels through her lowest depths thy sovereignty; So shines that countenance with especial grace On them who urge the keel her plains to trace Furrowing its way right onward. The most rude, Cut off from home and country, may have stood – Even till long gazing hath bedimmed his eye, Or the mute rapture ended in a sighTouched by accordance of thy placid cheer, With some internal lights to memory dear, Or fancies stealing forth to soothe the breast Tired with its daily share of earth's unrest, Gentle awakenings, visitations meek;
A kindly influence whereof few will speak, Though it can wet with tears the hardiest cheek.
And when thy beauty in the shadowy cave
Is hidden, buried in its monthly grave;