Sidor som bilder

His erown of weeds, but could not even sustain
Some casual shout that broke the silent air,
Or th' unimaginable touch of Time.


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!


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
With gradual stealth the lateral windows hide
Their Portraitures, their stone-work glimmers, dyed
In the soft chequerings of a sleepy light.
Martyr, or King, or sainted Eremite,
Whoe'er ye be, that thus, yourselves unseen,
Imbue your prison-bars with solemn sheen,
Shine on, until ye fade with coming Night! —
But, from the arms of silence — list! O list! —
The music bursteth into second life;
The notes luxuriate, every stone is kiss'd
By sound, or ghost of sound, in mazy strife;
Heart-thrilling strains, that cast, before the eye
Of the devout, a veil of ecstasy!


They dreamt not of a perishable home
Who thus could build. Be mine, in hours of fear
Or grovelling thought, to seek a refuge here;
Or through the aisles of Westminster to roam;
Where bubbles burst, and folly's dancing foam
Melts if it eross the threshold ; where the wreath
Of awe-struck wisdom droops: or let my path
Lead to that younger Pile, whose sky-like dome
Hath typified by reach of daring art
Infinity's embrace; whose guardian erest,
The silent Cross, among the stars shall spread
As now, when she hath also seen her breast
Fill'd with mementos, satiate with its part
Of grateful England's overflowing Dead.



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
Listening to nun's faint throb of holy fear,
To sailor's prayer breathed from a darkening sea,
Or widow's cottage-lullaby.

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
Dawns on a kingdom, and for needful haste
Best eloquence avails not, Inspiration
Mounts with a tune, that travels like a blast
Piping through cave and battlemented tower:
Then starts the sluggard, pleased to meet
That voice of Freedom, in its power
Of promises, shrill, wild, and sweet!

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.

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