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TO A LADY,

WHO SPOKE SLIGHTINGLY OF POETS.

O, CENSURE not the Poet's art,
Nor think it chills the feeling heart

To love the gentle Muses.
Can that which in a stone or flower,
As if by transmigrating power,

His generous soul infuses;

Can that for social joys impair
The heart that like the liberal air

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,
As if by sympathy of souls,

Mysterious communion ;

Can that with sordid selfishness
His wide-expanded heart impress,

Whose consciousness is loving, -
Who, giving life to all he spies,
His joyous being multiplies,

In youthfulness improving?

O Lady, then, fair queen of earth,
Thou loveliest of mortal birth,

Spurn not thy truest lover;
Nor censure him whose keener sense
Can feel thy magic influence

Where naught the world discover;

Whose eye on that bewitching face
Can every source unnumbered trace

Of germinating blisses ;
See Sylphids o'er thy forehead weave
The lily-fibred film, and leave

It fixed with honeyed kisses ;

While some within thy liquid eyes,
Like minnows of a thousand dyes

Through lucid waters glancing,
In busy motion to and fro,
The gems of diamond-beetles sow,

Their lustre thus enhancing;

Here some, their little vases filled
With blushes for thy cheek distilled

From roses newly blowing,
Each tiny thirsting pore supply,
And some in quick succession by

The down of peaches strowing;

There others who from hanging bell
Of cowslip caught the dew that fell

While yet the day was breaking,
And o'er thy pouting lips diffuse
The tincture, — still its glowing hues

Of purple morn partaking;

Here some, that in the petals pressed
Of humid honeysuckles rest,

From nightly fog defended,
Flutter their fragrant wings between,
Like humming-birds that scarce are seen,

They seem with air so blended ;

While some, in equal clusters knit,
On either side in circles flit,

Like bees in April swarming,
Their tiny weight each other lend,
And force the yielding cheek to bend,

Thy laughing dimples forming.

Nor, Lady, think the Poet's eye
Can only outward charms espy,

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.

SONNET

ON A FALLING GROUP IN THE LAST JUDGMENT OF MICHAEL ANGELO,

IN THE CAPPELLA SISTINA.

How vast, how dread, o'erwhelming, is the thought
Of space interminable! to the soul
A circling weight that crushes into naught
Her mighty faculties! a wondrous whole,
Without or parts, beginning, or an end!
How fearful, then, on desperate wings to send
The fancy e'en amid the waste profound !
Yet, born as if all daring to astound,
Thy giant hand, O Angelo, hath hurled
E'en human forms, with all their mortal weight,
Down the dread void, — fall endless as their fate!
Already now they seem from world to world
For ages thrown; yet doomed, another past,
Another still to reach, nor e'er to reach the last!

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