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TO A LADY,
WHO SPOKE SLIGHTINGLY OF POETS.
O, CENSURE not the Poet's art,
To love the gentle Muses.
His generous soul infuses;
Can that for social joys impair
All Nature's self embraces ; That in the cold Norwegian main, Or 'mid the tropic hurricane,
Her varied beauty traces;
That in her meanest work can find A fitness and a grace
combined In blest, harmonious union;
That even with the cricket holds,
Mysterious communion ;
Can that with sordid selfishness
Whose consciousness is loving, -
In youthfulness improving?
O Lady, then, fair queen of earth,
Spurn not thy truest lover;
Where naught the world discover;
Whose eye on that bewitching face
Of germinating blisses ;
It fixed with honeyed kisses ;
While some within thy liquid eyes,
Through lucid waters glancing,
Their lustre thus enhancing;
Here some, their little vases filled
From roses newly blowing,
The down of peaches strowing;
There others who from hanging bell
While yet the day was breaking,
Of purple morn partaking;
Here some, that in the petals pressed
From nightly fog defended,
They seem with air so blended ;
While some, in equal clusters knit,
Like bees in April swarming,
Thy laughing dimples forming.
Nor, Lady, think the Poet's eye
Thy form alone adoring.
Ah, Lady, no; though fair they be, Yet he a fairer sight may see,
Thy lovely soul exploring:
And, while from part to part it flies The gentle Spirit he descries,
Through every line pursuing; And feels upon his nature shower That pure, that humanizing power,
Which raises by subduing.
ON A FALLING GROUP IN THE LAST JUDGMENT OF MICHAEL ANGELO,
IN THE CAPPELLA SISTINA.
How vast, how dread, o'erwhelming, is the thought