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Would be too short for him to utter forth
His love-chant, and disburden his full soul
Of all its music!
And I know a grove Of large extent, hard by a castle huge, Which the great lord inhabits not; and so This grove is wild with tangling underwood, And the trim walks are broken up, and grass, Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths. But never elsewhere in one place I knew So many Nightingales; and far and near, In wood and thicket, over the wide grove, They answer and provoke each other's songs, With skirmish and capricious passagings, And murmurs musical and swift jug-jug; And one, low piping, sounds more sweet than all, Stirring the air with such an harmony, That should you close your eyes, you might almost Forget it was not day! On moonlight bushes, Whose dewy leafits are but half disclosed, You may perchance behold them on the twigs, Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright and full,
Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the shade Lights up her love-torch.
A most gentle Maid,
Who dwelleth in her hospitable home
Hard by the castle, and at latest eve
(Even like a lady vowed and dedicate
To something more than nature in the grove)
Glides thro' the pathways; she knows all their notes,
That gentle Maid! and oft a moment's space,
What time the Moon was lost behind a cloud,
Hath heard a pause of silence; till the Moon
Emerging, hath awakened earth and sky
With one sensation, and these wakeful birds
Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
As if one quick and sudden gale had swept
An hundred airy harps! And she hath watch'd
Many a Nightingale perch'd giddily,
On blos'my twig still swinging from the breeze,
And to that motion tune his wanton song,
Like tipsy joy that reels with tossing head
Farewell, O Warbler! till to-morrow eve,
And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell!
We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
And now for our dear homes.-That strain again?
Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe,
Who, capable of no articulate sound,
Mars all things with his imitative lisp,
How he would place his hand beside his ear
His little hand, the small fore-finger up,
And bid us listen! And I deem it wise
To make him Nature's playmate. He knows well
The evening-star; and once, when he awoke
In most distressful mood, (some inward pain
Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream)
I hurried with him to our orchard-plot
And he beheld the Moon, and, hush'd at once,
Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
While his fair eyes, that swam with undropt tears,
Did glitter in the yellow moonbeam! Well!-
It is a father's tale: but if that Heaven
Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up
Familiar with these songs, that with the night
He may associate joy! Once more, farewell,
Sweet Nightingale! Once more, my friends, farewell.
AN ITALIAN SUNSET.
The Moon is up, and yet it is not night-
Sunset divides the sky with her-a sea
Of glory streams along the Alpine height
Of blue Friuli's mountains; Heaven is free
From clouds, but of all colours seem to be
Melted to one vast Iris of the West, Where the day joins the past eternity; While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest Floats through the azure air-an island of the blest!
A single star is at her side, and reigns With her o'er half the lovely heaven; but still Yon sunny sea heaves brightly, and remains Roll'd o'er the peak of the far Rhætian hill, As day and night contending were, until Nature reclaim'd her order :-gently flows The deep-dyed Brenta, where their hues instil The odorous purple of a new-born rose, Which streams upon her stream, and glass'd within it
Fill'd with the face of heaven, which, from afar,
Comes down upon the waters; all its hues,
From the rich sunset to the rising star,
Their magical variety diffuse:
And now they change; a paler shadow strews
Its mantle o'er the mountains; parting day
Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues With a new colour as it gasps away, The last still loveliest, till-'t is gone-and all is gray.
I WOULD not be
A leaf on yonder aspen tree;
In every fickle breeze to play,
Wildly, weakly, idly gay,
So feebly framed, so lightly hung,
By the wing of an insect stirr'd and swung;
Thrilling even to a redbreast's note,
Drooping if only a light mist float,
Brighten'd and dimm'd like a varying glass,
As shadow or sunbeam chance to pass;-
I would not be
A leaf on yonder aspen tree.
It is not because the autumn sere
Would change my merry guise and cheer,-
That soon, full soon, nor leaf, nor stem,
Sunlight would gladden, or dewdrop gem,
That I, with my fellows, must fall to earth,
Forgotten our beauty and breezy mirth,
Or else on the bough where all had grown,
Must linger on, and linger alone;—
Might life be an endless summer's day,
And I be for ever green and gay,
I would not be, I would not be,
A leaf on yonder aspen tree!
Proudly spoken, heart of mine,
Yet weakness and change perchance are thine,
More, and darker and sadder to see,
Than befall the leaves of yonder tree!
What if they flutter-their life is a dance;
Or toy with the sunbeam-they live in his glance;
To bird, breeze, and insect rustle and thrill,
Never the same, never mute, never still,-
Emblems of all that is fickle and gay,
But leaves in their birth, but leaves in decay-
Chide them not-heed them not-spirit away!
In to thyself, to thine own hidden shrine,
What there dost thou worship? What deem'st thou
Thy hopes, are they steadfast, and holy and high? Are they built on a rock? Are they raised to the sky?—
Thy deep secret yearnings,-oh! whither point they, To the triumphs of earth, to the toys of a day?— Thy friendships and feelings,-doth impulse prevail, To make them, and mar them, as wind swells the
Thy life's ruling passion-thy being's first aimWhat are they? and yield they contentment or shame?
Spirit, proud spirit, ponder thy state;
If thine the leaf's lightness, not thine the leaf's fate:
It may flutter, and glisten, and wither, and die,
And heed not our pity, and ask not our sigh;
But for thee, the immortal, no winter may throw
Eternal repose on thy joy, or thy woe;
Thou must live, and live ever, in glory or gloom,
Beyond the world's precincts, beyond the dark tomb.
Look to thyself then, ere past is Hope's reign,
And looking and longing alike are in vain;
Lest thou deem it a bliss to have been or to be
But a fluttering leaf on yon aspen tree!
SHALL A LIGHT WORD PART US?
WE have been friends together,
In sunshine and in shade;
Since first beneath the chestnut trees
In infancy we play'd.
But coldness dwells within my heart,
A cloud is on my brow;
We have been friends together-
Shall a light word part us now?
We have been gay together;
We have laugh'd at little jests;
For the fount of hope was gushing
Warm and joyous in our breasts.
But laughter now hath fled thy lip,
And sullen glooms thy brow;
We have been gay together-
Shall a light word part us now?
We have been sad together,
We have wept with bitter tears,
O'er the grass-grown graves, where slumber'd
The hopes of early years.