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(Meet emblems they of innocence and love !)
Peep'd at the chamber window. We could hear, The stilly murmur of the distant sea
At silent noon, and eve, and early morn, Tells us of silence.
The sea's faint murmur. In the open air And that simplest lute, Our myrtles blossom’d; and across the porch Placed length-ways in the clasping casement, Thick jasmins twined: the little landscape round bark !
Was green and woody, and refresh'd the eye. How by the desultory breeze caress'd,
It was a spot which you might aptly call Like some coy maid half yielding to her lover,
The Valley of Seclusion! once I saw It pours such sweet upbraiding, as must needs
(Hallowing his Sabbath-day by quietness) Tempt to repeat the wrong! And now, its A wealthy son of commerce saunter by, strings,
Bristowa's citizen: methought, it calm'd Boldlier swept, the long sequacious notes
His thirst of idle gold, and made him muse Over delicious surges sink and rise,
With wiser feelings ; for he paused, and look'd Such a soft floating witchery of sound
With a pleased sadness, and gazed all around, As twilight elfins make, when they at eve
Then eyed our cottage, and gazed round again, Voyage on gentler gales from Fairy-land,
And sigh’d, and said, it was a blessed place. Where melodies round honey-dropping flowers, And we were bless'd. Oft with patient ear Footless and wild, like birds of paradise,
Long listening to the viewless sky-lark's note,
Gleaming on sunny wings,) in whisper'd tones
When the soul seeks to hear; when all is hush'u, Not to love all things in a world so fillid;
And the beart listens !" Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air
But the time, when first Is music slumbering on her instrument.
From that low dell, steep up the stony mount And thus, my love! as on the midway slope I climb’d with perilous toil, and reach'd the top, Of yonder hill I stretch my limbs at noon,
0! what a goodly scene! liere the bleak mount, Whilst through my half-closed eyelids I behold The bare bleak mountain speckled thin with sheer, The sunbeams dance, like diamonds, on the main, Gray clouds, that shadowing spot the sunny fields; And tranquil muse upon tranquillity;
And river, now with bushy rocks o'erbrow'd, Full many a thought uncalld and undetain'd, Now winding bright and full, with naked banks; And many idle, flitting fantasies,
And seats, and lawns, the abbey and the wood, Traverse my indolent and passive brain,
And cots, and hamlets, and faint city spire; As wild and various as the random gales
The channel there, the islands, and white sails, That swell and flutter on this subject lute! Dim coasts, and cloud-like hills, and shore less
And what if all of animated nature Be but organic harps diversely framed,
It seem'd like Omnipresence! God, methought, That tremble into thought, as o'er them sweeps, Had built him there a temple : the whole world Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze,
Seem'd imaged in its vast circumference, At once the soul of each, and God of all ?
No wish profaned my overwhelmed heart. But thy more serious eye a mild reproof Blest hour! It was a luxury,--to be! Darts, 0 beloved woman ! nor such thoughts
Ah! quiet dell; dear cot, and mount sublime! Dim and unhallow'd dost thou not reject,
I was constrain’d to quit you. Was it right, And biddest me walk humbly with my God. While my unnumber'd brethren toil'd and bled, Meek daughter in the family of Christ!
That I should dream away th' intrusted hours Well hast thou said, and holily dispraised
On rose-leaf beds, pampering the coward heart These shapings of th' unregenerate mind!
With feelings all too delicate for use? Bubbles that glitter as they rise and break Sweet is the tear that from some Howard's eye On vain philosophy’s aye-babbling spring. Drops on the cheek of one he lists from earth: For never guiltless may I speak of Him,
And he that works me good with unmoved face, The Incomprehensible ! save when with awe Does it but half: he chills me while he aids, I praise him, and with faith that inly feels; My benefactor, not my brother man! Who with his saving mercies healed me,
Yet even this, this cold beneficence, A sinful and most miserable man,
Praise, praise it, O my soul! oft as thou scann'st Wilder'd and dark, and gave me to possess The sluygard pity's vision-teaving tribe ! Peace, and this cot, and thee, heart-honour'a | Who sigh for wretchedness, yet shun the wretched, maid!
Nursing in some delicious solitude
WITH SOME POEMS.
Their slothful loves and dainty sympathies ! At mine own home and birthplace: chiefly then,
And boding evil, yet still hoping good,
Sorrow'd in silence! He who counts alone
That Being knows, how I have loved thee ever,
To talk of thee and thine: or when the blast
Endears the cleanly hearth and social bowl;
We, in our sweet sequester'd orchard plot,
Sit on the tree crook'd earthward; whose old
Stirr'd by the faint gale of departing May,
Send their loose blossoms slanting o'er our heads !
When with the joy of hope thou gavest thine ear A BLESSED lot hath he, who having pass'd
To my wild firstling-lays ? Since then my son His youth and early manhood in the stir
Hath sounded deeper notes, such as beseem And turmoil of the world, retreats at length,
Or that sad wisdom folly leaves behind, With cares that move, not agitate the heart,
Or such as, tuned to these tumultuous times To the same dwelling where his father duelt;
Cope with the tempest's swell!
These various strains, And haply views his tottering little ones Embrace those aged knees and climb that lap,
Which I have framed in many a various mood, On which first kneeling his own infancy
Accept, my brother! and (for some perchance Lisp'd its brief prayer. Such, O my earliest friend! Will strike discordant on thy milder mind) Thy lot, and such thy brothers too enjoy.
If aught of error or intemperate truth At distance did ye climb life's upland road,
Should meet thine ear, think thou that riper age
Will calm it down, and let thy love forgive it!
A TOMBLESS EPITAPH.
'Tis true, Idoloclastes Satyrane !
And honouring with religious love the great Ruilled the boughs, they on my head at once Of elder times, he hated to excess, Dropp'd the collected shower; and some most false, With an unquiet and intolerant scorn, False and fair-foliaged as the manchineel, The hollow puppets of a hollow age, Have tempted me to slumber in their shade Ever idolatrous, and changing ever E’en 'mid the storm; then breathing subtlest Its worthless idols! Learning, power, and time, damps,
(Too much of all,) thus wasting in vain war Mix'd their own venom with the rain from heaven, of fervid colloquy. Sickness, 'tis true, That I woke poison'd! But, all praise to Him Whole years of weary days, besieged him close, Who gives us all things, more have yielded me E’en to the gates and inlets of his life! Permanent shelter; and beside one friend,
But it is true, no less, that strenuous, firm,
And with a natural gladness, he maintained
Was strong to follow the delightful muse.
Lurk'd undiscover'd by him; not a rill Bright with no fading colours !
There issues from the fount of Hippocrene,
Yet at times But he had traced it upward to its source, My soul is sad, that I have roam'd through life Through open glade, dark glen, and secret dell. Still most a stranger, most with naked heart knew the g?y wild flowers on its banks, and cull'a
Its med'cinable herbs. Yea, oft alone,
Unsunn'd and damp, whose few poor yellow leaves Piercing the long-neglected holy cave,
Ne'er tremble in the gale, yet tremble still, The haunt obscure of old philosophy,
Fann'd by the waterfall! and there my friends He bade with lifted torch its starry walls
Behold the dark green file of long lank weeds,"
That all at once (a most fantastic sight!)
Now, my friends emerge Philosopher! contemning wealth and death, Beneath the wide, wide heaven-and view again Yet docile, childlike, full of life and love!
The many-steepled tract magnificent Here, rather than on monumental stone,
Of hilly fields and meadows, and the sea,
Of purple shadow! Yes, they wander on
My gentle-hearted Charles; for thou hast pined
In the great city pent, winning thy way
With sad yet patient soul, through evil and pain
Behind the western ridge, thou glorious sun!
Shine in the slant beams of the sinking orb, The small round basin, which this jutting stone Keeps pure from falling leaves! Long may the Ye purple heath-flowers! richlier burn, ye clouds!
Live in the yellow light, ye distant groves ! spring,
And kindle, thou blue ocean ! So my friend, Quietly as a sleeping infant's breath,
Struck with deep joy, may stand, as I have stood, Send up cold waters to the traveller
Silent with swimming sense ; yea, gazing round
On the wide landscape, gaze till all doth seem
Less gross than bodily; and of such hues Which at the bottom, like a fairy's page,
As veil th’ Almighty Spirit, when yet he makes As merry and no taller, dances still,
Spirits perceive his presence. Nor wrinkles the smooth surface of the fount.
Comes sudden on my heart, and I am glad
As I myself was there! Nor in this bower,
This little lime-tree bower, have I not mark'd Drink, pilgrim, here! Here rest! and if thy heart
Much that has soothed me. Pale beneath the blaze Be innocent, here too shalt thou refresh Thy spirit, listening to some gentle sound,
Hung the transparent foliage; and I watch'd
Some broad and sunny leaf, and loved to see
The shadow of the leaf and stem above
Was richly tinged, and a deep radiance lay
Full on the ancient ivy, which usurps
Makes their dark branches gleam a lighter hue In the June of 1797, some long-expected friends Through the late twilight: and though now the bat paid a visit to the author's cottage; and on the wheels silent by, and not a swallow twitters, morning of their arrival, he met with an accident, Yet still the solitary humble bee which disabled him from walking during the whole
Sings in the bean-flower ! Henceforth I shall time of their stay. One evening, when they had
know left him for a few hours, he composed the following That nature ne'er deserts the wise and pure: lines in the garden bower.
No plot so narrow, be but nature there,
No waste so vacant, but may well employ
My gentle-hearted Charles ! when the last rook
Homewards, I blest it! deeming its black wing
Had cross'd the mighty orb's dilated glory,
* The asplenium scolopendrium, called in some counWhere its slim trunk the ash from rock to rock
tries the adder's longue, in others the hart's tongue; but
Withering gives the adder's tongue as the trivial name of Flings arching like a bridge ;—that branchless ash, the opliioglossum only.
While thou stood'st gazing; or when all was still, Action and joy !-An orphic song, indeed,
O great bard!
Of e'er-enduring men. The truly great
Have all one age, and from one visible space
Shed influence! They, both in power and act, COMPOSED ON THE NIGHT AFTER HIS RECITATION
Are permanent, and time is not with them, OF A POEM ON THE GROWTH OF AN INDIVIDUAL
Save as it worketh for them, they in it. MIXD.
Nor less a sacred roll, than those of old, Friend of the wise! and teacher of the good! And to be placed, as they, with gradual fame Into my heart have I received that lay
Among the archives of mankind, thy work More than historic, that prophetic lay,
Makes audible a linked lay of truth, Wherein (high theme by thee first sung aright) Of truth profound a sweet continuous lay, Of the foundations and the building up
Not learnt, but native, her own natural notes ! Of a human spirit, thou hast dared to tell
Ah ! as i listend with a heart forlorn, What may be told, to the understanding mind The pulses of my being beat anew : Revealable ; and what within the mind,
And e'en as life returns upon the drown'd, By vital breathings secret as the soul
Life's joy rekindling roused a throng of painsOf vernal growth, oft quickens in the heart Keen pangs of love, awakening as a babe Thoughts all too deep for words !
Turbulent, with an outcry in the heart;
Theme hard as high! And fears self-willid, that shunnid the eye of hope ; Of smiles spontaneous, and mysterious fears, And hope that scarce would know itself from fear, (The first-born they of reason and twin birth,) Sense of past youth, and manhood come in vain, Of tides obedient to external force,
And genius given, and knowledge won in vain; And currents self-determined, as might seem, And all which I had cull'd in wood-walks wild, Or by some inner power; of moments awful, And all which patient toil had rear'd, and all, Now in thy inner life, and now abroad,
Commune with thee had open'd out-but flowers When power stream'd from thee, and thy soul re- Strew'd on my coise, and borne upon my bier, ceived
In the same coffin, for the selfsame grave! The light reflected, as a light bestow'd
That way no more! and ill beseems it me, Of fancies fair, and milder hours of youth, Who came a welcomer in herald's guise, Hyblean murmurs of poetic thought
Singing of glory, and futurity, Industrious in its joy, in vales and glens
To wander back on such unhealthful road,
Plucking the poisons of self-harm! And ill
Nor do thou,
Sage bard ! impair the memory of that hour Distending wide, and man beloved as man, Of my communion with thy nobler mind Where France in all her towns lay vibrating By pity or grief, already felt too long ! Like some becalmed bark beneath the burst Nor let my words import more blame than nceds. Of heaven's immediate thunder, when no cloud The tumult rose and ceased; for peace is nigh Is visible, or shadow on the main.
Where wisdom's voice has found a listening heart. For thou wert there, thine own brows garlanded, Amid the howl of more than wintry storms, Amid the tremor of a realm aglow,
The halcyon hears the voice of vernal hours Amid a mighty nation jubilant,
Already on the wing. When from the general heart of human kind
Eve following eve, Hope sprang forth like a full-born deity;
Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense of home -Of that dear hope afflicted and struck down, Is sweetest! moments for their own sake hail'd So summond homeward, thenceforth calm and sure And more desired, more precious for thy song, From the dread watch-tower of man's absolute self, In silence listening, like a devout child, With light unwaning on her eyes, to look
My soul lay passive, by the various strain
Driren as in surges now beneath the stars,
Fair constellated foam,* still darting off
. Some months after I had written this line, it gave me * "A beautiful white cloud of foam at momentary interpleasure to observe that Bartram had observed the samo vals coursed by the side of the vessel with a roar, and litcircumstance of the Savanna crane. “ When these birds tle stars of flame danced and sparkled and went out in it: move their wings in flight, their strokes are slow, mode- and every now and then light detachments of this white rate, and regular; and even when at a considerable dis- cloud-like foam darted off from the vessel's side, each lance, or high above us, we plainly hear the quill-feathers; with its own small constellation, over the sea, and scoured their shafts and webs upon one another creak as the joints out of sight like a Tartar troop over a wilderness."--The or working of a vessel a teinpestuous sea."
Friend, p. 220.
NO MORE POETRY.
Into the darkness; now a tranquil sea,
A CONVERSATION POEM.
WRITTEN IN APRIL, 1798.
No cloud, no relic of the sunken day Wert still before my eyes, and round us both Distinguishes the west, no long thin slip That happy vision of beloved faces
Of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues. Scarce conscious, and yet conscious of its close Come, we will rest on this old mossy bridge! I sate, my being blended in one thought,
You see the gliinmer of the stream beneath, (Thought was it ? or aspiration ? or resolve ?)
But hear no murmuring: it flows silently, Absorb’d, yet hanging still upon the sound
O’er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
And hark! the nightingale begins its song,
“ Most musical, most melancholy?+ bird! WHO HAD DECLARED HIS INTENTION OF WRITING A melancholy bird ? 0! idle thought!
In nature there is nothing melancholy.
But some night-wandering man, whose heart was Dear Charles ! whilst yet thou wert a babe, I
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong, That genius plunged thee in that wizard fount,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love, Hight Castalie: and (sureties of thy faith)
(And so, poor wretch! fill’d all things with himThat pity and simplicity stood by,
self, And promised for thee, that thou shouldst renounce And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale The world's low cares and lying vanities,
Of his own sorrow,) he, and such as he, Steadfast and rooted in the heavenly muse, First named these notes a melancholy strain. And wash'd and sanctified to poesy.
And many a poet echoes the conceit; Yes, thou wert plunged, but with forgetful hand
Poet who hath been building up the rhyme Held, as by Thetis erst her warrior son:
When he had better far have stretch'd his limbs And with those recreant unbaptized heels
Beside a brook in mossy forest dell, Thou’rt flying from thy bounden ministeries
By sun or moonlight, to the influxes So sore it seems and burthensome a task
Of shapes and sounds and shisting elements To weave unwithering flowers ! But take thou
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song heed:
And of his frame forgetful! so his fame For thou art vulnerable, wild-eyed boy,
Should share in nature's immortality, And I have arrows* mystically dipp'd,
A venerable thing! and so his song Such as may stop thy speed. Is thy Burns dead?
Should make all nature lovelier, and itself And shall be die unwept, and sink to earth
Be loved like nature! But 'twill not be so; "Without the meed of one melodious tear?”
And youths and maidens most poetical, Thy Burns, and nature's own beloved bard,
Who lose the deepening twilights of the spring Who to the “Illustrioust of his native land
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still, So properly did look for patronage.”
Full of meek sympathy, must heave their sighs Ghost of Mæcenas ! hide thy blushing face!
O’er Philomela's pity-pleading strains. They snatch'd him from the sickle and the plough,
My friend, and thou, our sister! we have learnt To gauge ale-firkins.
A different lore: we may not thus profane 0! for shame, return!
Nature's sweet voices, always full of love On a bleak rock, midway th’ Aonian mount,
And joyance! 'Tis the merry nightingale There stands a lone and melancholy tree,
That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates Whose aged branches in the midnight blast
With fast thick warble his delicious notes, Make solemn music: pluck its darkest bough,
As he were fearful that an April night
Would be too short for him to utter forth
His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
Of all its music!
And I know a grove
Of large extent, hard by a castle huge,
* This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far
superior to that of mere description. It is spoken in the 1796.
character of the inelancholy man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The author makes this remark, t
rescue himself froin the charge of having alluded with * Vide Pind. Olymp. iii. 1. 156.
levity to a line in Milton; a charge than which none + Verbatim from Burns's delication of bis Poem to the could be more painful w him, except perhaps that of ha* Nobility and Gentry of the Caledonian Hunt.
ing ridiculed his Bibie.