« FöregåendeFortsätt »
His erown of weeds, but could not even sustain
Monastic Domes! following my downward way,
Untouch'd by due regret I mark'd your fall 1
Now, ruin, beanty, ancient stillness, all
Dispose to judgments temperate as we lay
On our past selves in life's declining day:
For as, by discipline of Time made wise,
We learn to tolerate th' infirmities
And fanlts of others, — gently as he may,
So with our own the mild Instructor deals,
Teaching us to forget them or forgive.
Perversely curious, then, for hidden ill,
Why should we break Time's charitable seals?
Once ye were holy, ye are holy still;
Your spirit freely let me drink, and livel
Open your gates, ye everlasting Piles!
Types of the spiritual Church which God hath rearM:
Not loth we quit the newly-hallow'd sward
And humble altar, 'mid your sumptuous aisles
To kneel, or thrid your intricate defiles,
Or down the nave to pace in motion slow;
Watching, with upward eye, the tall tower grow
And mount, at every step, with living wiles
Instinct, — to rouse the heart and lead the will
By a bright ladder to the world above.
Open your gates, ye Monuments of love
Divine! thou Lincoln, on thy sovereign hill!
Thou, stately York! and Ye, whose splendours cheer
Isis and Cam, to patient Science dear!
INSIDE OP KING'S COLLEGE CHAPEL, CAMBRIDGE.
Tax not the royal Saint with vain expense,
With ill-match'd aims the Architect who plann'd —
Albeit labouring for a scanty band
Of white-robed Scholars only — this immense
And glorious Work of fine intelligence!
Give all thou canst; high Heaven rejects the lore
Of nicely-calculated less or more :
So deem'd the man who fashion'd for the sense These lofty pillars, spread that branching roof Self-poised, and scoop'd into ten thousand cells, Where light and shade repose, where music dwells Lingering, — and wandering on as loth to die; Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof That they were born for immortality.
What awful perspective ! while from our sight
They dreamt not of a perishable home
ON THE POWER OP SOUND.
The Ear addressed, as Occupied by a spiritual functionary, in communion with sounds, individual, or combined in studied harmony. — Sources and effects of those sounds.— The power of music, whence proceeding, exemplified in the idiot. — Origin of music, ami its efl'cct in early ages. —The mind recalled to sounds acting casually and severally. — Wish uttered that these could be united into a scheme or system for moral interests and intellectual contemplation. — The Pythagorean theory of numbers and music, with their supposed power over the motions of the universe—imaginations consonant with such a theory. — Wish expressed, realised in some degree, by the representation of all sounds under the form of thanksgiving to the Creator. — The destruction of earth and the planetary system — the survival of andible harmony, and its support in the Divine Nature, as revealed in Holy Writ.
Thy functions are ethereal,
As if within thee dwelt a glancing mind,
Organ of vision! And a Spirit aerial
Informs the cell of Hearing, dark and blind;
Intricate labyrinth, more dread for thought
To enter than oracular cave;
Strict passage, through which sighs are brought,
And whispers for the heart, their slave;
And shrieks, that revel in abuse
Of shivering flesh; and warbled air,
Whose piercing sweetness can unloose
The chains of frenzy, or entice a smile
Into the ambush of despair ;
Hosannas pealing down the long-drawn aisle,
And requicms answer'd by the pulse that beats
Devoutly, in life's last retreats!i
The headlong streams and fountains
Serve Thee, invisible Spirit, with untired powers;
Cheering the wakeful tent on Syrian mountains,
They lull perchance ten thousand thousand flowers.
That roar, the prowling lion's Here I am,
IIo\v fearful to the desert wide!
That bleat, how tender! of the dam
Calling a straggler to her side.
Shout, cuckoo! — let the vernal soul
Go with thee to the frozen zone;
Toll from thy lofticst perch, lone bell-bird, toll I
At the still hour to Mercy dear,
Mercy from her twilight throne
Ye Voices, and ye Shadows
And Images of voice, — to hound and horn
From rocky steep and rock-bestudded meadows
Flung back, and in the sky's blue caves reborn, —
On with your pastime! till the church-tower bells
A greeting give of measured glee;
And milder echoes from their cells
Eepeat the bridal symphony.
Then, or far earlier, let us rove
Where mists are breaking np or gone,
And from aloft look down into a cove
Besprinkled with a careless quire,
Happy milk-maids, one by one
Scattering a ditty each to her desire,
A liquid concert matehless by nice Art,
A stream as if from one full heart.
Blest be the song that brightens
The blind man's gloom, exalts the veteran's mirth
Unscorn'd the peasant's whistling breath, that ligh Ob
His duteous toil of furrowing the green earth.
For the tired slave, Song lifts the languid oar,
And bids it aptly fall, with chime
That beautifies the fairest shore,
And mitigates the harshest clime.
You pilgrims see, — in lagging file
They move; but soon th' appointed way
A choral Ave Marie shall beguile,
And to their hope the distant shrine
Glisten with a livelier ray:
Nor friendless he, the prisoner of the mine,
Who from the well-spring of his own clear breast
Can draw, and sing his griefs to rest.
When civic renovation
Who, from a martial pageant, spreads
Incitements of a battle-day,
Thrilling th' unweapon'd erowd with plumeless heads?—
Even She2 whose Lydiau airs inspire
Peaceful striving, gentle play
Of timid hope and innocent desire
Shot from the dancing Graces, as they move
Faun'd by the plausive wings of Love.
How oft along thy mazes,
Regent of sound, have dangerous Passions trod!
O Thou, through whom the temple rings with praises.
And blackening clouds in thunder speak of God,
Betray not by the cozenage of sense
Thy votaries, wooingly resign'd
To a voluptuous influence
That taints the purer, better mind;
But lead sick Fancy to a harp
That hath in noble tasks been tried;
And, if the virtuous feel a pang too sharp,
Soothe it into patience, — stay
Th' uplifted arm of Suicide ;
And let some mood of thine in firm array
Knit every thought th' impending issue needs,
Ere martyr burns, or patriot bleeds!
As Conscience, to the centre
Of being, smites with irresistible pain,
So shall a solemn cadence, if it enter
The mouldy vanlts of the dull idiot's brain,
Transmute him to a wreteh from quiet hurl'd, —
Convulsed as by a jarring din;
And then aghast, as at the world
Of reason partially let in
By concords winding with a sway
Terrible for sense and soul;
Or, awed, he weeps, struggling to quell dismay.
Point not these mysteries to an Art
Lodged above the starry pole;
Pure modulations flowing from the heart
Of divine Love, where Wisdom, Beanty, Truth
With Order dwell, in endless youth?
3 The allusion is to Sappho, the famous Greek poetess, whom Woi !lsworth else where speaks of as " The Lesbian Maid." Her airs are culled L.ndinn with referonct to the ancient Greek modes or keys, which were derived from Lydia, and in whick 'Ve uiusic was of a pathetic ami melting character. See page lid, note 1.