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That Ocean is a mighty harmonist; Thy pinions, universal Air,
Ever waving to and fro,
Are delegates of harmony, and bear
Strains that support the Seasons in their round:
Stern Winter loves a dirge-like sound.
Break forth into thanksgiving,
Ye banded Instruments of wind and chords;
Unite, to magnify the Ever-living,
Your inarticulate notes with the voice of words!
Nor hushed be service from the lowing mead,
Nor mute the forest hum of noon;
Thou too be heard, lone Eagle! freed
From snowy peak and cloud, attune
Thy hungry barkings to the hymn
Of joy, that from her utmost walls
The six-days' Work, by flaming Seraphim,
Transmits to Heaven! As Deep to Deep
Shouting through one valley calls,
HAPPY the feeling from the bosom thrown
In perfect shape, whose beauty Time shall spare
Though a breath made it, like a bubble blown
For summer pastime into wanton air;
Happy the thought best likened to a stone
Of the sea-beach, when, polished with nice care,
Veins it discovers exquisite and rare,
Which for the loss of that moist gleam atone
That tempted first to gather it. O chief
Of Friends! such feelings if I here present,
Such thoughts, with others mixed less fortunate;
Then smile into my heart a fond belief
That thou, if not with partial joy elate,
Receivest the gift for more than mild content!
All worlds, all natures, mood and measure keep For praise and ceaseless gratulation, poured Into the ear of God, their Lord!
NUNS fret not at their convent's narrow room; And Hermits are contented with their cells; And Students with their pensive citadels: Maids at the wheel, the Weaver at his loom, Sit blithe and happy; Bees that soar for bloom,
A Voice to Light gave Being;
To Time, and Man his earth-born Chronicler;
A Voice shall finish doubt and dim foreseeing,
And sweep away life's visionary stir;
The Trumpet (we, intoxicate with pride,
Arm at its blast for deadly wars)
To archangelic lips applied,
The grave shall open, quench the stars.
O Silence! are Man's noisy years
No more than moments of thy life?
Is Harmony, blest Queen of smiles and tears,
With her smooth tones and discords just,
Tempered into rapturous strife,
Thy destined Bond-slave? No! though Earth be dust
And vanish, though the Heavens dissolve, her stay
Is in the WORD, that shall not pass away.
High as the highest Peak of Furness Fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove beils:
In truth, the prison, unto which we doom
Ourselves, no prison is: and hence to me,
In sundry moods, 't was pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground:
Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.
AT APPLETHWAITE, NEAR KESWICK.
BEAUMONT! it was thy wish that I should rear
A scemly Cottage in this sunny Dell,
On favoured ground, thy gift, where I might dwell
In neighbourhood with One to me most dear,
That undivided we from year to year
Might work in our high Calling-a bright hope
To which our fancies, mingling, gave free scope
Till checked by some necessities severe.
And should these slacken, honoured BEAUMONT ! still
Even then we may perhaps in vain implore
Leave of our fate thy wishes to fulfil.
Whether this boon be granted us or not,
Old Skiddaw will look down upon the Spot
With pride, the Muses love it evermore.
"BELOVED Vale!" I said, "when I shall con
Those many records of my childish years,
Remembrance of myself and of my peers
Will press me down: to think of what is gone
Will be an awful thought, if life have one.".
But, when into the Vale I came, no fears
Distressed me; from mine eyes escaped no tears;
Deep thought, or awful vision, had I none.
By doubts and thousand petty fancies crost,
I stood of simple shame the blushing Thrall;
So narrrow seemed the brooks, the fields so small.
A Juggler's balls old Time about him tossed;
I looked, I stared, I smiled, I laughed; and all
The weight of sadness was in wonder lost.
PELION and Ossa flourish side by side,
Together in immortal books enrolled:
His ancient dower Olympus hath not sold;
And that inspiring Hill, which "did divide
Into two ample horns his forehead wide,"
Shines with poetic radiance as of old;
While not an English Mountain we behold
y the celestial Muses glorified.
Yet round our sea-girt shore they rise in crowds;
What was the great Parnassus' self to Thee,
Mount Skiddaw? in his natural sovereignty
Our British Hill is fairer far; he shrouds
His double front among Atlantic clouds,
Aud pours forth streams more sweet than Castaly.
THERE is a little unpretending Rill
Of limpid water, humbler far than aught
That ever among Men or Naiads sought
Notice or name!-it quivers down the hill,
Furrowing its shallow way with dubious will;
Yet to my mind this scanty Stream is brought
Oftener than Ganges or the Nile; a thought
Of private recollection sweet and still!
Months perish with their moons; year treads on year;
But, faithful Emma, thou with me canst say
That, while ten thousand pleasures disappear,
And flies their memory fast almost as they,
The immortal Spirit of one happy day
Lingers beside that Rill, in vision clear.
HER only Pilot the soft breeze, the Boat
Lingers, but Fancy is well satisfied;
With keen-eyed Hope, with Memory, at her side,
And the glad Muse at liberty to note
All that to each is precious, as we float
Gently along; regardless who shall chide
If the Heavens smile, and leave us free to glide,
Happy Associates breathing air remote
From trivial cares. But, Fancy and the Muse,
Why have I crowded this small Bark with you
And others of your kind, Ideal Crew!
While here sits One whose brightness owes its hues
To flesh and blood; no Goddess from above,
No fleeting Spirit, but my own true Love!
THE fairest, brightest hues of ether fade;
The sweetest notes must terminate and die;
O Friend! thy flute has breathed a harmony
Softly resounded through this rocky glade;
Such strains of rapture as* the Genius played
In his still haunt on Bagdad's summit high;
He who stood visible to Mirza's eye,
Never before to human sight betrayed.
Lo, in the vale, the mists of evening spread!
The visionary arches are not there,
Nor the green Islands, nor the shining seas;
Yet sacred is to me this Mountain's head,
From which I have been lifted on the breeze
Of harmony, above all earthly care.
*See the vision of Mirza, in the Spectator.
UPON THE SIGHT OF A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE, PAINTED BY SIR G. H. BEAUMONT, BART. PRAISED be the Art whose subtle power could stay Yon Cloud, and fix it in that glorious shape; Nor would permit the thin smoke to escape, Nor those bright sunbeams to forsake the day; Which stopped that Band of Travellers on their way, Ere they were lost within the shady wood; And showed the Bark upon the glassy flood For ever anchored in her sheltering Bay. Soul-soothing Art! which Morning, Noon-tide, Even, Do serve with all their changeful pageantry; Thou, with ambition modest yet sublime, Here, for the sight of mortal man, hast given To one brief moment caught from fleeting time The appropriate calm of blest eternity.
"WHY, Minstrel, these untuneful murmurings
Dull, flagging notes that with each other jar?
"Think, gentle Lady, of a Harp so far
From its own Country, and forgive the strings."
A simple Answer! but even so forth springs,
From the Castalian fountain of the heart,
The Poetry of Life, and all that Art
Divine of words quickening insensate Things.
From the submissive necks of guiltless Men
Stretched on the block, the glittering axe recoils;
Sun, Moon, and Stars, all struggle in the toils
Of mortal sympathy; what wonder then
If the poor Harp distempered music yields
To its sad Lord, far from his native Fields?
AERIAL Rock-whose solitary brow
From this low threshold daily meets my sight;
When I step forth to hail the morning light;
Or quit the stars with lingering farewell - how
Shall Fancy pay to thee a grateful vow?
How, with the Muse's aid, her love attest?
By planting on thy naked head the crest
Of an imperial Castle, which the plough
Of ruin shall not touch. Innocent scheme!
That doth presume no more than to supply
A grace the sinuous vale and roaring stream
Want, through neglect of hoar Antiquity.
Rise, then, ye votive Towers, and catch a gleam
Of golden sunset, ere it fade and die!
O GENTLE Sleep! do they belong to thee,
These twinklings of oblivion? Thou dost love
To sit in meekness, like the brooding Dove,
A Captive never wishing to be free.
This tiresome night, O Sleep! thou art to me
A Fly, that up and down himself doth shove,
Upon a fretful rivulet, now above,
Now on the water, vexed with mockery.
I have no pain that calls for patience, no;
Hence am I cross and peevish as a child:
Am pleased by fits to have thee for my foe,
Yet ever willing to be reconciled:
O gentle Creature! do not use me so,
But once and deeply let me be beguiled.
A FLOCK of sheep that leisurely pass by,
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;
By turns have all been thought of, yet I lie
Sleepless; and soon the small birds' melodies
Must hear, first uttered from my orchard trees;
And the first Cuckoo's melancholy cry.
Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lav,
And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth:
So do not let me wear to-night away:
Without Thee what is all the morning's wealth?
Come, blessed barrier between day and day,
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health'
FOND words have oft been spoken to thee, Sleep!
And thou hast had thy store of tenderest names;
The very sweetest words that fancy frames,
When thankfulness of heart is strong and deep!
Dear bosom Child we call thee, that dost steep
In rich reward all suffering; Balm that tames
All anguish; Saint that evil thoughts and aims
Takest away, and into souls dost creep,
Like to a breeze from heaven. Shall I alone,
I surely not a man ungently made,
Call thee worst Tyrant by which Flesh is crost?
Perverse, self-willed to own and to disown,
Mere Slave of them who never for thee prayed,
Still last to come where thou art wanted most!
THE WILD DUCK'S NEST.
THE Imperial Consort of the Fairy King
Owns not a sylvan bower; or gorgeous cell
With emerald floored, and with purpureal shell
Ceilinged and roofed; that is so fair a thing
As this low Structure for the tasks of Spring
Prepared by one who loves the buoyant swell
Of the brisk waves, yet here consents to dwell;
And spreads in steadfast peace her brooding wing.
Words cannot paint the o'ershadowing yew-tree bough,
And dimly-gleaming Nest, a hollow crown
Of golden leaves inlaid with silver down,
Fine as the Mother's softest plumes allow :
I gaze and almost wish to lay aside
Humanity, weak slave of cumbrous pride!
WRITTEN UPON A BLANK LEAF IN "THE COM-
WHILE flowing Rivers yield a blameless sport,
Shall live the name of Walton; - Sage benign!
Whose pen, the mysteries of the rod and line
Unfolding, did not fruitlessly exhort
To reverend watching of each still report
That Nature utters from her rural shrine. -
Meek, nobly versed in simple discipline,
He found the longest summer day too short,
To his loved pastime given by sedgy Lee,
Or down the tempting maze of Shawford brook!
Fairer than life itself, in this sweet Book,
The cowslip bank and shady willow-tree,
And the fresh meads; where flowed, from every nook
Of his full bosom, gladsome Piety!
TO THE POET, JOHN DYER.
BARD of the Fleece, whose skilful genius made
That work a living landscape fair and bright;
Nor hallowed less with musical delight
ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED THE
PUBLICATION OF A CERTAIN POEM.
See Milton's Sonnet, beginning
"A Book was writ of late, called "Tetrachordon.""
A Book came forth of late, called "Peter Bell;"
Not negligent the style; - the matter? -good
As aught that song records of Robin Hood;
Or Roy, renowned through many a Scottish dell;
But some (who brook these hacknied themes full well,
Nor heat, at Tam o' Shanter's name, their blood)
Waxed wroth, and with foul claws, a harpy brood,
On Bard and Hero clamorously fell.
Heed not, wild Rover once through heath and glen,
Who madest at length the better life thy choice,
Heed not such onset! nay, if praise of men
To thee appear not an unmeaning voice,
Lift up that gray-haired forehead, and rejoice
In the just tribute of thy Poet's pen!
Those southern Tracts of Cambria, "deep embayed,
With green hills fenced, with Ocean's murmur lulled;"
Though hasty Fame hath many a chaplet culled
For worthless brows, while in the pensive shade
Of cold neglect she leaves thy head ungraced,
Yet pure and powerful minds, hearts meek and still,
A grateful few, shall love thy modest Lay,
Long as the Shepherd's bleating flock shall stray
O'er naked Snowdon's wide aerial waste;
Long as the thrush shall pipe on Grongar Hill!
TO THE RIVER DERWENT.
AMONG the mountains were we nursed, loved Stream!
Thou, near the eagle's nest within brief sail,
I, of his bold wing floating on the gale,
Where thy deep voice could lull me!-Faint the
WITH each recurrence of this glorious morn
That saw the Saviour in his human frame
Than those soft scenes through which thy Childhood Rise from the dead, erewhile the Cottage-damne
Put on fresh raiment - till that hour unworn:
Domestic hands the home-bred wool had shorn,
And she who span it culled the daintiest fleece,
In thoughtful reverence to the Prince of Peace,
Whose temples bled beneath the platted thorn.
A blest estate when piety sublime
These humble props disdained not! O green dales!
Sad may I be who heard your sabbath chime
When Art's abused inventions were unknown;
Kind Nature's various wealth was all your own;
And benefits were weighed in Reason's scales!
GRIEF, thou hast lost an ever-ready Friend,
Now that the cottage spinning-wheel is mute;
And Care a Comforter that best could suit
Her froward mood, and softliest reprehend;
And Love a Charmer's voice, that used to lend,
More efficaciously than aught that flows
From harp or lute, kind influence to compose
The throbbing pulse, else troubled without end:
Even Joy could tell, Joy craving truce and rest
From her own overflow, what power sedate
On those revolving motions did await
Assiduously, to soothe her aching breast-
And to a point of just relief- abate
The mantling triumphs of a day too blest.
XXIII. -TO S. H.
EXCUSE is needless when with love sincere
Of occupation, not by fashion led,
Thou turn'st the Wheel that slept with dust o'erspread; - tho' near,
My nerves from no such murmur shrink,
Soft as the Dorhawk's to a distant ear,
When twilight shades bedim the mountain's head.
She who was feigned to spin our vital thread
Might smile, O Lady! on a task once dear
To household virtues. Venerable Art,
Torn from the Poor! yet will kind Heaven protect
Its own, not left without a guiding chart,
If Rulers, trusting with undue respect
To proud discoveries of the Intellect,
Sanction the pillage of man's ancient heart.
By Christmas snows, by visitation bleak
Of Easter winds, unscared, from Hut or Hall
They came to lowly bench or sculptured Stall,
But with one fervour of devotion meek.
see the places where they once were known, And ask, surrounded even by kneeling crowds, Is ancient Piety for ever flown?
Alas! even then they seemed like fleecy clouds
That, struggling through the western sky, have won
Their pensive light from a departed sun!
COMPOSED ON THE EVE OF THE MARRIAGE OF A
FRIEND IN THE VALE OF GRASMERE.
WHAT need of clamorous bells, or ribands gay,
These humble Nuptials to proclaim or grace?
Angels of Love, look down upon the place,
Shed on the chosen Vale a sun-bright day!
Yet no proud gladness would the Bride display
Even for such promise: — serious is her face,
Modest her mien; and she, whose thoughts keep pace
With gentleness, in that becoming way.
Will thank you. Faultless does the Maid appear;
No disproportion in her soul, no strife:
But, when the closer view of wedded life
Hath shown that nothing human can be clear
From frailty, for that insight may the Wife
To her indulgent Lord become more dear.
DECAY OF PIETY.
FROM THE SAME.
OFT have I seen, ere Time had ploughed my cheek
Matrons and Sires- who, punctual to the call
Of their loved Church, on Fast or Festival
No mortal object did these eyes
When first they met the placid light of thine
Through the long year the House of Prayer would And my Soul felt her destiny divine,
And hope of endless peace in me grew bold:
Heaven-born, the Soul a heavenward course must hold
Beyond the visible world She soars to seek
(For what delights the sense is false and weak)
Ideal Form, the universal mould.
The wise man, I affirm, can find no rest
In that which perishes; nor will he lend
His heart to aught which doth on time depend.
"Tis sense, unbridled will, and not true love,
That kills the soul: love betters what is best,
Even here below, but more in heaven above
FROM THE ITALIAN OF MICHAEL ANGELO.
YES! hope may with my strong desire keep pace,
And I be undeluded, unbetrayed;
For if of our affections none find grace
In sight of Heaven, then, wherefore hath God made
The world which we immabit? Better plea
Love cannot have, than that in loving thee
Glory to that eternal Peace is paid,
Who such divinity to thee imparts
As hallows and makes pure all gentle hearts.
His hope is treacherous only whose love dies
With beauty, which is varying every hour;
But, in chaste hearts uninfluenced by the power
Of outward change, there blooms a deathless flower,
That breathes on earth the air of paradise.