« AnteriorContinuar »
Quiet and calm. Behold him in the school
Of his attainments? no; but with the air
Fanning his temples under heaven's blue arch.
His raiment, whiten’d o'er with cotton flakes,
Or locks of wool, announces whence he comes.
Creeping his gait and cowering—his lip pale-
His respiration quick and audible;
And scarcely could you fancy that a gleam
From out those languid eyes could break, or blush
Mantle upon his cheek. Is this the form,
Is that the countenance, and such the port,
Of no mean being? One who should be clothed
With dignity befitting his proud hope;
Who, in his very childhood, should appear
Sublime—from present purity and joy!
The limbs increase; but liberty of mind
gone for ever; this organic frame,
So joyful in her motions, is become
Dull, to the joy of her own motions dead;
And even the touch, so exquisitely pour'd
Through the whole body, with a languid will
Performs her functions; rarely competent
To impress a vivid feeling on the mind
Of what there is delightful in the breeze,
The gentle visitations of the sun,
Or lapse of liquid element—by hand,
Or foot, or lip, in summer's warmth-perceived.
-Can hope look forward to a manhood raised
On such foundations ?
From that abstraction I was roused,—and how?
Even as a thoughtful shepherd by a flash
Of lightning startled in a gloomy cave
Of these wild hills. For lo! the dread Bastile,
With all the chambers in its horrid towers,
Fell to the ground :—by violence o'erthrown
Of indignation; and with shouts that drown'd
The crash it made in falling! From the wreck
A golden palace rose, or seem'd to rise,
The appointed seat of equitable law
And mild paternal sway. The potent shock
I felt: the transformation I perceived,
As marvellously seized as in that moment
When, from the blind mist issuing, I beheld
Glory-beyond all glory ever seen,
Confusion infinite of heaven and earth,
Dazzling the soul! Meanwhile, prophetic harps
In every grove were ringing, “War shall cease;
Did ye not hear that conquest is abjured ?
Bring garlands, bring forth choicest flowers, to deck
The Tree of Liberty."--My heart rebounded;
My melancholy voice the chorus join'd;
-“ Be joyful, all ye nations! in all lands,
Ye that are capable of joy be glad !
Henceforth, whate'er is wanting to yourselves
In others ye shall promptly find;-and all
Be rich by mutual and reflected wealth.”
Thus was I reconverted to the world;
Society became my glittering bride,
And airy hopes iny children.—From the depths
Of natural passion, seemingly escaped,
My soul diffused herself in wide embrace
of institutions, and the forms of things;
As they exist in mutable array,
Upon life's surface. What, though in my veins
There flow'd no Gallic blood, nor had I breathed
The air of France, not less than Gallic zeal
Kindled and burnt among the sapless twigs
Of my exhausted heart. If busy men
In sober conclave met, to weave a web
Of amity, whose living threads should stretch
Beyond the seas, and to the farthest pole,
There did I sit, assisting. If, with noise
And acclamation, crowds in open air
Express’d the tumult of their minds, my voice
There mingled, heard or not. The powers of song
I left not uninvoked; and, in still groves,
Where mild enthusiasts tuned a pensive lay
Of thanks and expectation, in accord
With their belief, I sang Saturnian rule
Return'd,-a progeny of golden years
Permitted to descend, and bless mankind.
- With promises the Hebrew scriptures teem:
I felt the invitation ; and resumed
A long-suspended office in the house
Of public worship, where, the glowing phrase
Of ancient inspiration serving me,
I promised also,—with undaunted trust
Foretold, and added prayer to prophecy;
The admiration winning of the crowd;
The help desiring of the pure devout. .
Scorn and contempt forbid me to proceed !
But History, Time's slavish scribe, will tell
How rapidly the zealots of the cause
Disbanded-or in hostile ranks appear'd;
Some, tired of honest service; these, outdone,
Disgusted, therefore, or appall’d, by aims
Of fiercer zealots-so confusion reign’d,
And the more faithful were compellid to exclaim,
As Brutus did to Virtue, “ Liberty,
I worshipp'd Thee, and find thee but a Shade!”
COMPOSED AT GRASMERE, DURING A WALK, ONE EVENING, AFTER A STORMY
DAY, THE AUTHOR HAVING JUST READ IN A NEWSPAPER THAT THE DISSOLU. TION OF MR. FOX WAS HOURLY EXPECTED.
Loud is the Vale! the Voice is up
With which she speaks when storms are gone,
A mighty Unison of streams!
Of all her Voices, One!
Loud is the Vale;--this inland Depth
peace is roaring like the Sea;
Yon Star upon the mountain top
Is listening quietly.
Sad was I, even to pain deprest,
Importunate and heavy load!
The Comforter hath found me here,
Upon this lonely road;
And many thousands now are sad-
Wait the fulfilment of their fear;
For he must die who is their stay,
Their glory disappear.
A Power is passing from the earth
To breathless Nature's dark abyss;
But when the Mighty pass away
What is it more than this,
That Man, who is from God sent forth,
Doth yet again to God return?-
Such ebb and flow must ever be;
Then wherefore should we mourn?
A FACT, AND AN IMAGINATION; OR, CANUTE AND ALFRED.
The Danish Conqueror, on his royal chair,
Mustering a face of haughty sovereignty,
To aid a covert purpose, cried—“Oye
Approaching waters of the deep, that share
With this green isle my fortunes, come not where
Your Master's throne is set!''-Absurd decree!
A mandate utter'd to the foaming sea
Is to its motion less than wanton air.
- Then Canute, rising from the invaded throne,
Said to his servile courtiers, “ Poor the reach,
The undisguised extent, of mortal sway!
He only is a king, and he alone
Deserves the name (this truth the billows preach)
Whose everlasting law, sea, earth, and heaven, obey."
This just reproof the prosperous Dane
Drew, from the influx of the main,
For some whose rugged northern mouths would strain
At oriental flattery;
And Canute (truth more worthy to be known)
From that time forth did for his brows disown
The ostentatious symbol of a crown;
Esteeming earthly royalty
Contemptible and vain.
Now hear what one of elder days,
Rich theme of England's fondest praise,
Her darling Alfred, might have spoken;
To cheer the remnant of his host
When he was driven from coast to coast,
Distress'd and harass'd, but with mind unbroken:
“My faithful followers, lo! the tide is spent;
That rose, and steadily advanced to fill
The shores and channels, working Nature's will
Among the mazy streams that backward went,
And in the sluggish pools where ships are pent:
And now, its task perform'd, the flood stands still
At the green base of many an inland hill,
In placid beauty and sublime content!
Such the repose that Sage and Hero find;
Such measured rest the sedulous and good
Of humbler name; whose souls do, like the flood
Of ocean, press right on; or gently wind,
Neither to be diverted nor withstood,
Until they reach the bounds by Heaven assign’d."
I've watch'd you now a full half hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless !--not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!
This plot of orchard ground is ours;
My trees they are, my sister's flowers;
Here rest your wings when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us, on the bough!
We'll talk of sunshine and of song;
And summer days when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.
Bright flower, whose home is every where!
A Pilgrim bold in Nature's care,
And oft, the long year through, the heir
Of joy or sorrow;
Methinks that there abides in thee
Some concord with humanity,
Given to no other flower I see
The forest thorough!
And wherefore? Man is soon deprest;
A thoughtless thing! who, once unblest,
Does little on his memory rest,
Or on his reason;
But thou wouldst teach him how to find
A shelter under every wind,
A hope for times that are unkind