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SOWEREIGNTY OF LOVE.
O sover EIGN power of love! O grief! 0 balms All records, saving thine, come cool and calm, And shadowy, through the mist of passed years; For others, good or bad, hatred and tears Have become indolent; but touching thine, One sigh doth echo, one poor sob doth pine, One kiss brings honey-dew from buried days. The woes of Troy, towers smothering o'er their
blaze, Stiff-holden shields, far-piercing spears, keen blades, Struggling, and blood, and shrieks—all dimly fades Into some backward corner of the brain; Yet, in our very souls, we feel amain The close of Troilus and Cressid sweet. Hence, pageant history ! hence, gilded cheat! Swart planet in the universe of deeds! Wide sea, that one continuous murmur breeds
Along the pebbled shore of memory;
Many old rotten-timber'd boats there be
Upon thy vaporous bosom, magnified
To goodly vessels; many a sail of pride,
And golden-keel'd, is left unlaunch'd and dry.
But wherefore this? What care, though owl did
About the great Athenian admiral's mast ! [fly
What care, though striding Alexander past
The Indus with his Macedonian numbers!
Though old Ulysses tortured from his slumbers
The glutted Cyclops, what care 1–Juliet leaning
Amid her window-flowers, sighing, weaning
Tenderly her fancy from its maiden snow,
Doth more avail than these: the silver flow
Of Hero's tears, the swoon of Imogen,
Fair Pastorella in the bandit's den,
Are things to brood on with more ardency
Than the death-day of empires.
The weariness, the fever, and the fret,
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow,
And leaden-eyed despairs;
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards;
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the queen-moon is on her throne,
Cluster'd around by all her starry says;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time,
I have been half in love with easeful death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath.
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain,
To thy high requiem become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird :
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in fairy land forlorn.
Forlorn the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self.
Adieu ! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu ! adieu ! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now ’t is buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision or a waking dream 1
Fled is that music:-Do I wake or sleep?
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new ;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting and for ever young;
AII breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest ?
What little town by river or sea-shore, -
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Wifl silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.
O Attic shape: Fair attitude : with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed ;
Thou, silent form ' dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold pastoral s
When old age shall this generation waste,
Theu shalt remain, in midst of other wo
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,”—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
—o- ON FIRST SEEING CHAPMAN'S HOMER.
Much have I travelPa in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen ; Round many western islands have I been Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. Oft of one wide expanse had I been told That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne: Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken ; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes He stared at the Pacific—and all his men Look'd at each other with a wiki surmise— Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
ON THE GRASSHOPPER AND CRICKET.
The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead:
That is the grasshopper's—he takes the lead
In summer Iuxury, he has never done
With his delights, for when tired out with fun,
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The grasshopper's among some grassy hills.
The RE are who lord it o'er their fellow-men With most prevailing tinsel; who unpen Their baaing vanities, to browse away The comfortable green and juicy hay From human pastures; or, 0 torturing fact! Who, through an idiot blink, will see unpack'd Fire-branded foxes to sear up and singe Our gold and ripe-ear'd hopes. With not one tinge Of sanctuary splendour, nor a sight Able to face an owl's, they still are dight By the blear-eyed nations in empurpled vests, And crowns, and turbans. With unladen breasts, Save of blown self-applause, they proudly mount To their spirit's perch, their being's high account, Their tip-top nothings, their dull skies, their thrones, Amid the fierce, intoxicating tones Of trumpets, shoutings, and belabour'd drums, And sudden cannon. Ah! how all this hums, In wakeful ears, like uproar past and gone— Like thunder-clouds that spake to Babylon, And set those old Chaldeans to their tasks.
A cn AM n En, myrtle-wall'd, embower'd high, , Full of light, incense, tender minstrelsy, And more of beautiful and strange beside: For on a silken couch of rosy pride, In midst of all, there lay a sleeping youth Of fondest beauty; fonder, in fair sooth, Than sighs could fathom, or contentment reach; And coverlids gold-tinted like the peach, Or ripe October's faded marigolds, Fell sleek about him in a thousand folds— Not hiding up an Apollonian curve Of neck and shoulder, nor the tenting swerve Of knee from knee, nor ankles pointing light; But rather, giving them to the fill'd sight Officiously. Sideway his faced reposed On one white arm, and tenderly unclosed, By tenderest pressure, a faint damask mouth To slumbery pout; just as the morning south Disparts a dew-lipp'd rose. Above his head, Four lily stalks did their white honours wed To make a coronal; and round him grew All tendrils green, of every bloom and hue, Together intertwined and transell'd fresh ; The vine of glossy sprout; the ivy mesh Shading its Ethiop berries; and woodbine, Of velvet leaves and bugle-blooms divine; Convolvulus in streaked vases flush; The creeper, mellowing for an autumn blush; And virgin's bower, trailing airily; With others of the sisterhood. Hard by Stood serene Cupids watching silently. One, kneeling to a lyre, touched the strings, Muffling to death the pathos with his wings; And, ever and anon, uprose to look At the youth's slumber; while another took
A willow bough, distilling odorous dew,
And shook it on his hair; another flew
In through the woven roof, and fluttering-wise
Rain’d violets upon his sleeping eyes.
A FAIRY SCENE FROM ENDY MION
PALAcks of mottled ore, Gold dome, and crystal wall, and turquoise floor, Black polish'd porticoes of awful shade, And, at the last, a diamond balustrade, Leading afar past wild magnificence, Spiral through ruggedest loop-holes, and thence Stretching across a void, then guiding o'er Enormous chasms, where, all foam and roar, Streams subterranean tease their granite beds; Then heighten’d just above the silvery heads Of a thousand fountains, so that he could dash The waters with his spear; but at the splash Done heedlessly, those spouting columns rose Sudden a poplar's height, and 'gan to inclose His diamond path with fretwork streaming round A live, and dazzling, and with a sound, Haply, like dolphin tumults, when sweet shells Welcome the float of Thetis. I, ong he dwells On this delight; for, every minute's space, The streams with changed magic interlace; Sometimes like delicatest lattices, Cover'd with crystal vines; then weeping trees, Moving about as in a gentle wind, Which, in a wink, to watery gauze refined, Pour'd into shapes of curtain'd canopies, Spangled, and rich with liquid broideries Of flowers, peacocks, swans, and naiads fair. Swifter than lightning went these wonders rare; And then the water, into stubborn streams Collecting, mimick'd the wrought oaken beams, Pillars, and frieze, and high fantastic roof, Of those dusk places in times far aloof Cathedrals call’d.
I HERE swear,
Eterne Apollo' that thy sister fair
Is of all these the gentlier mightiest.
When thy gold breath is misting in the west,
She unobserved steals unto her throne,
And there she sits most meek and most alone;
As if she had not pomp subservient;
As if thine eye, high poet ! was not bent
Towards her with the muses in thine heart;
As if the ministering stars kept not apart,
Waiting for silver-footed messengers.
O moon' the oldest shades 'mong oldest trees
Feel palpitations when thou lookest in:
O moon' old boughs lisp forth a holier din
The while they feel thine airy fellowship.
Thou dost bless every where, with silver lip,
Kissing dead things to life. The sleeping kine,
Couch'd in thy brightness, dream of fields divine:
Innumerable mountains rise, and rise,
Ambitious for the hallowing of thine eyes,
And yet thy benediction passeth not
One obscure hiding-place, one little spot
Where pleasure may be sent: the nested wren
Has thy fair face within its tranquil ken,
And from beneath a sheltering ivy-leaf
Takes glimpses of thee; thou art a relief
To the poor patient oyster, where it sleeps
Within its pearly house.—The mighty deeps,
The monstrous sea is thine—the myriad sea!
O moon' far-spooming ocean bows to thee,
And Tellus feels his forehead's cumbrous load.......
What is there in thee, moon! that thou should'st
My heart so potently When yet a child [move
I oft have dried my tears when thou hast smiled.
Thou seem'dst my sister; hand in hand we went
From eve to morn across the firmament.
No apples would I gather from the tree,
Till thou hadst cool'd their cheeks deliciously;
No tumbling water ever spake romance,
But when my eyes with thine thereon could dance:
No woods were green enough, no bowers divine,
Until thou liftedst up thine eyelids fine:
In sowing time ne'er would I dibble take,
Or drop a seed, till thou wast wide awake;
And, in the summer-tide of blossoming,
No one but thee hath heard me blithely sing
And mesh my dewy flowers all the night.
No melody was like a passing spright
If it went not to solemnize thy reign.
Yes, in my boyhood, every joy and pain
By thee were fashion'd to the self-same end;
And as I grew in years, still didst thou blend
With all my ardours: thou wast the deep glen;
Thou wast the mountain-top—the sage's pen—
The poet's harp—the voice of friends—the sun;
Thou wast the river—thou wast glory won;
Thou wast my clarion's blast—thou wast mysteed—
My goblet full of wine—my topmost deed:—
Thou wast the charm of women, lovely moon!
O what a wild and harmonized tune
My spirit struck from all the beautiful!
On some bright essence could I lean, and lull
Myself to immortality.
ROBIN HOOD. To A Frtien D.
No! those days are gone away,
And their hours are old and gray,
And their minutes buried all
Under the down-trodden pall
Of the leaves of many years:
Many times have winter's shears,
Frozen north, and chilling east,
Sounded tempests to the feast
Of the forest's whispering fleeces,
Since men knew nor rent nor leases.
No! the bugle sounds no more,
And the twanging bow no more;
Silent is the ivory shrill,
Past the heath and up the hill;
There is no mid-forest laugh,
Where lone echo gives the half
To some wight, amazed to hear
Jesting, deep in forest drear.
On the fairest time of June
You may go, with sun or moon
Or the seven stars to light you,
Or the polar ray to right you;
But you never may behold
little John, or Robin bold;
Never one, of all the clan,
Thrumming on an empty can
Some old hunting ditty, while
He doth his green way beguile
To fair hostess Merriment,
Down beside the pasture Trent;
For he left the merry tale,
Messenger for spicy ale.
Gone, the merry morris din;
Gone, the song of Gamelyn ;
Gone, the tough-belted outlaw
Idling in the “grené shawe;”
All are gone away and past!
And if Robin should be cast
Sudden from his turfed grave,
And if Marian should have
Once again her forest days,
She would weep, and he would craze:
He would swear, for all his oaks,
Fallen beneath the dockyard strokes,
Have rotted on the briny seas;
She would weep that her wild bees
Sang not to her—strange' that honey
Can't be got without hard money!
So it is: yet let us sing,
Honour to the old bow-string!
Honour to the bugle-horn ?
Honour to the woods unshorn ?
Honour to the Lincoln green
Honour to the archer keen
Honour to tight little John,
And the horse he rode upon :
Honour to bold Robin Hood,
Sleeping in the underwood :
Honour to maid Marian,
And to all the Sherwood clan'
Though their days have hurried by,
Let us two a burden ury.
Even let the fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home:
At a touch sweet pleasure melteth,
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;
Then let winged Fancy wander
Through the thoughts still spread beyond her:
Open wide the mind's cage-door,
She'll dart forth, and cloudward soar.
O sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Summer's joys are spoilt by use,
And the enjoying of the spring
Fades as does its blossoming;
Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too,
Blushing through the mist and dew,
Cloys with tasting: what do then?
Sit thee by the ingle, when
The sear faggot blazes bright,
Spirit of a winter's night;
When the soundless earth is muffled,
And the caked snow is shuffled
From the ploughboy's heavy shoon;
When the night doth meet the noon
In a dark conspiracy
To banish even from her sky.
Sit thee there, and send abroad,
With a mind self-overawed,
Fancy, high-commission'd:—send her!
She has vassals to attend her:
She will bring, in spite of frost,
Beauties that the earth hath lost;
She will bring thee, altogether,
All delights of summer weather;
All the buds and bells of May,
From dewy sward or thorny spray;
All the heaped autumn's wealth,
With a still, mysterious stealth:
She will mix these pleasures up
Like three fit wines in a cup,
And thou shalt quaff it:—thou shalt hear
Distant harvest-carols clear;
Rustle of the reaped corn;
Sweet birds antherning the morn:
And, in the same moment—hark'
'Tis the early April lark,
Or the rooks, with busy caw,
Foraging for sticks and straw.
Thou shalt, at one glance. behold
The daisy and the marigold;
White-plumed lilies, and the first
Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst;
Shaled hyacinth, alway
Sapphire queen of the mid-May;
And every leaf and every flower
Pearled with the self-same shower.
Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep
Meager from its celled sleep;
And the snake all winter-thin
Cast on sunny bank its skin;
Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see
Hatching in the hawthorn tree,
When the hen-bird's wing dost rest
Quiet on her mossy nest;
Then the hurry and alarm
When the bee-hive casts its swarm;
Acorns ripe down-pattering,
While the autumn breezes sing.
Oh, sweet Fancy' let her loose;
Every thing is spoilt by use:
Where's the cheek that doth not fade,
Too much gazed at? where's the maid
Whose lip mature is ever new 1
Where's the eye, however blue,
Doth not weary 4 where's the face
One would meet in every place 1
Where's the voice, however soft,
One would hear so very oft?
At a touch sweet pleasure melteth
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth.
Let, then, winged Fancy find
Thee a mistress to thy mind:
Dulcet-eyed as Ceres' daughter,
Ere the god of torment taught her
How to frown and how to chide;
With a waist and with a side
White as Hebe's, when her zone
Slipt its golden clasp, and down
Fell her kirtle to her feet,
While she held the goblet sweet,
And Jove grew languid.—Break the mesh
Of the fancy's silken leash;
Quickly break her prison-string,
And such joys as these she'll bring.—
let the winged fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home.