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Late, late yestreen I saw the new Moon,
With the old Moon in her arms;

And I fear, I fear, my Master dear!
We shall have a deadly storm.
Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens.


WELL! If the Bard was weather-wise, who made
The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spence,
This night, so tranquil now, will not go hence
Unroused by winds, that ply a busier trade
Than those which mould yon cloud in lazy flakes,
Or the dull sobbing draught, that moans and rakes
Upon the strings of this Eolian lute,
Which better far were mute.
For lo! the New-moon winter-bright!
And overspread with phantom light,
(With swimming phantom light o'erspread
But rimined and circled by a silver thread)

I see the old Moon in her lap, foretelling

The coming on of rain and squally blast. And oh that even now the gust were swelling,

And the slant night-shower driving loud and fast!

Those sounds which oft have raised me, whilst they awed,

And sent my soul abroad,

Might now perhaps their wonted impulse give,

Might startle this dull pain, and make it move and live!


A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear,
A stifled, drowsy, unimpassion'd grief,
Which finds no natural outlet, no relief,
In word, or sigh, or tear-

O Lady! in this wan and heartless mood,
To other thoughts by yonder throstle woo'd,
All this long eve, so balmy and serene,
Have I been gazing on the western sky,

And its peculiar tint of yellow green :

And still I gaze-and with how blank an eye!
And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars,
That give away their motion to the stars;
Those stars, that glide behind them or between,
Now sparkling, now bedimm'd, but always seen:
Yon crescent Moon, as fix'd as if it grew
In its own cloudless, starless lake of blue;
I see them all so excellently fair,

I see, not feel how beautiful they are!

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Ours is her wedding-garment, ours her shroud!
And would we aught behold, of higher worth,
Than that inanimate cold world allowed
To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd,

Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth,
A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud
Enveloping the Earth-

And from the soul itself must there be sent
A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth,
Of all sweet sounds the life and element!


O pure of heart! thou need'st not ask of me
What this strong music in the soul may be!
What, and wherein it doth exist,

This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist,
This beautiful and beauty-making power.

Joy, virtuous Lady! Joy that ne'er was given,
Save to the pure, and in their purest hour,

Life, and Life's Effluence, Cloud at once and Shower,
Joy, Lady! is the spirit and the power,
Which wedding Nature to us gives in dower
A new Earth and new Heaven,

Undreamt of by the sensual and the proud-
Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud-
We in ourselves rejoice!

And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight,
All melodies the echoes of that voice,
All colours a suffusion from that light.


There was a time when, though my path was rough,
This joy within me dallied with distress,
And all misfortunes were but as the stuff
Whence Fancy made me dreams of happiness:
For hope grew round me, like the twining vine,
And fruits, and foliage, not my own, seemed mine.
But now afflictions bow me down to earth:
Nor care I that they rob me of my mirth,
But oh! each visitation

Suspends what nature gave me at my birth,
My shaping spirit of Imagination.
For not to think of what I needs must feel,
But to be still and patient, all I can ;
And haply by abstruse research to steal

From my own nature all the natural Man-
This was my sole resource, my only plan:
Till that which suits a part infects the whole,
And now is almost grown the habit of my Soul.


Hence, viper thoughts, that coil around my mind,
Reality's dark dream!

I turn from you, and listen to the wind,

Which long has raved unnoticed. What a scream Of agony by torture lengthen'd out

That lute sent forth! Thou Wind, that ravest without,
Bare crag, or mountain-tairn, or blasted tree,

Or pine-grove whither woodman never clomb,
Or lonely house, long held the witches' home,
Methinks were fitter instruments for thee,

1 Tairn is a small lake, generally, if not always, applied to the lakes up in the mountains, and which are the feeders of those in the valleys. This address to the Storm-wind will not appear extravagant to those who have heard it at night, and in a mountainous


Mad Lutanist! who in this month of showers,
Of dark brown gardens, and of peeping flowers,
Makest Devils' yule, with worse than wintry song,
The blossoms, buds, and timorous leaves among.
Thou Actor, perfect in all tragic sounds!

Thou mighty Poet, e'en to Frenzy bold!
What tell'st thou now about?

'T is of the Rushing of an Host in rout,

With groans of trampled men, with smarting wounds-At once they groan with pain, and shudder with the cold!

But hush! there is a pause of deepest silence!
And all that noise, as of a rushing crowd,

With groans, and tremulous shudderings-all is over-
It tells another tale, with sounds less deep and loud!
A tale of less affright,

And temper'd with delight,

As Otway's self had framed the tender lay,

"T is of a little child

Upon a lonesome wild,

Not far from home, but she hath lost her way:

And now moans low in bitter grief and fear,

And now screams loud, and hopes to make her mother hear.


'Tis midnight, but small thoughts have I of sleep: Full seldom may my friend such vigils keep! Visit her, gentle Sleep! with wings of healing,

And may this storm be but a mountain-birth, May all the stars hang bright above her dwelling, Silent as though they watch'd the sleeping Earth! With light heart may she rise,

Gay fancy, cheerful eyes,

Joy lift her spirit, joy attune her voice: To her may all things live, from Pole to Pole, Their life the eddying of her living soul! O simple spirit, guided from above, Dear Lady! friend devoutest of my choice, Thus mayest thou ever, evermore rejoice.



And hail the Chapel! hail the Platform wild!
Where TELL directed the avenging Dart,
With well-strung arm, that first preserved his Child,
Then aim'd the arrow at the Tyrant's heart.

SPLENDOUR'S fondly foster'd child!
And did you hail the Platform wild,
Where once the Austrian fell
Beneath the shaft of Tell?

O Lady, nursed in pomp and pleasure!
Whence learnt you that heroic measure?

Light as a dream your days their circlets ran,
From all that teaches Brotherhood to Man;
Far, far removed! from want, from hope, from fear!
Enchanting music lull'd your infant ear,
Obeisance, praises soothed your infant heart:
Emblazonments and old ancestral crests,
With many a bright obtrusive form of art,
Detain'd your eye from nature: stately vests,

That veiling strove to deck your
charms divine,
Rich viands, and the pleasurable wine,
Were yours unearn'd by toil; nor could you see
The unenjoying toiler's misery.

And yet, free Nature's uncorrupted child,
You hail'd the Chapel and the Platform wild,
Where once the Austrian fell

Beneath the shaft of Tell!

O Lady, nursed in pomp and pleasure!
Whence learnt you that heroic measure?

There crowd your finely-fibred frame,
All living faculties of bliss;
And Genius to your cradle came,

His forehead wreathed with lambent flame,
And bending low, with godlike kiss
Breathed in a more celestial life;
But boasts not many a fair compeer,

A heart as sensitive to joy and fear?

And some, perchance, might wage an equal strife,
Some few, to nobler being wrought,
Co-rivals in the nobler gift of thought.

Yet these delight to celebrate
Laurell'd War and plumy State;
Or in verse and music dress
Tales of rustic happiness-
Pernicious Tales! insidious Strains!
That steel the rich man's breast,
And mock the lot unblest,

The sordid vices and the abject pains,
Which evermore must be

The doom of Ignorance and Penury!
But you, free Nature's uncorrupted child,
You hail'd the chapel and the Platform wild,
Where once the Austrian fell
Beneath the shaft of Tell!

O Lady, nursed in pomp and pleasure!
Where learnt you that heroic measure?

You were a Mother! That most holy name,
Which Heaven and Nature bless,

I may not vilely prostitute to those
Whose Infants owe them less

Than the poor Caterpillar owes

Its gaudy Parent Fly.

You were a Mother! at your bosom fed

The Babes that loved you. You, with laughing eye, Each twilight-thought, each nascent feeling read, Which you yourself created. Oh! delight!

A second time to be a Mother,
Without the Mother's bitter groans:
Another thought, and yet another,

By touch, or taste, by looks or tones

O'er the growing Sense to roll,
The Mother of your infant's Soul!

The Angel of the Earth, who, while he guides
His chariot-planet round the goal of day,
All trembling gazes on the Eye of God,

A moment turn'd his awful face away;
And as he view'd you, from his aspect sweet
New influences in your being rose,
Blest Intuitions and Communions fleet
With living Nature, in her joys and woes!
Thenceforth your soul rejoiced to see
The shrine of social Liberty!

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A MOUNT, not wearisome and bare and steep,
But a green mountain variously up-piled,
Where o'er the jutting rocks soft mosses creep,
Or colour'd lichens with slow oozing weep;

Where cypress and the darker yew start wild;
And 'mid the summer torrent's gentle dash
Dance brighten'd the red clusters of the ash;
Beneath whose boughs, by those still sounds beguiled,
Calm Pensiveness might muse herself to sleep;
Till haply startled by some fleecy dam,
That rustling on the bushy clift above,
With melancholy bleat of anxious love,
Made meek inquiry for her wandering lamb :

Such a green mountain 't were most sweet to climb, E'en while the bosom ached with loneliness→→→ How more than sweet, if some dear friend should bless The adventurous toil, and up the path sublime Now lead, now follow: the glad landscape round, Wide and more wide, increasing without bound!

O then 't were loveliest sympathy, to mark The berries of the half-uprooted ash Dripping and bright; and list the torrent's dash,— Beneath the cypress, or the yew more dark, Seated at ease, on some smooth mossy rock; In social silence now, and now to unlock The treasured heart; arm link'd in friendly arm, Save if the one, his muse's witching charm Muttering brow-bent, at unwatch'd distance lag; Till high o'er head his beckoning friend appears, And from the forehead of the topmost crag Shouts eagerly for haply there uprears That shadowing pine its old romantic limbs, Which latest shall detain the enamour'd sight Seen from below, when eve the valley dims,


Tinged yellow with the rich departing light; And haply, bason'd in some unsunn'd cleft, A beauteous spring, the rock's collected tears, Sleeps shelter'd there, scarce wrinkled by the gale! Together thus, the world's vain turmoil left, Stretch'd on the crag, and shadow'd by the pine, And bending o'er the clear delicious fount, Ah! dearest youth! it were a lot divine To cheat our noons in moralizing mood, While west-winds fann'd our temples toil-bedew'd: Then downwards slope, oft pausing, from the mount, To some lone mansion, in some woody dale, Where smiling with blue eye, domestic bliss Gives this the Husband's, that the Brother's kiss!

Thus rudely versed in allegoric lore, The Hill of Knowledge I essay'd to trace; That verdurous hill with many a resting-place, And many a stream, whose warbling waters pour To glad, and fertilize the subject plains; That hill with secret springs, and nooks untrod, And many a fancy-blest and holy sod,

Where Inspiration, his diviner strains

Low murmuring, lay; and starting from the rocks Stiff evergreens, whose spreading foliage mocks Want's barren soil, and the bleak frosts of age, And Bigotry's mad fire-invoking rage!

O meek retiring spirit! we will climb,
Cheering and cheer'd, this lovely hill sublime;
And from the stirring world up-lifted high
(Whose noises, faintly wafted on the wind,
To quiet musings shall attune the mind,

And oft the melancholy theme supply),
There, while the prospect through the gazing eye
Pours all its healthful greenness on the soul,
We'll smile at wealth, and learn to smile at fame,
Our hopes, our knowledge, and our joys the same,
As neighbouring fountains image, each the whole :
Then when the mind hath drunk its fill of truth
We'll discipline the heart to pure delight,
Rekindling sober joy's domestic flame.
They whom I love shall love thee. Honour'd youth!
Now may Heaven realize this vision bright!


WHILE HE SANG A SONG TO PURCELL'S MUSIC. WHILE my young cheek retains its healthful hues, And I have many friends who hold me dear; L-! methinks, I would not often hear Such melodies as thine, lest I should lose All memory of the wrongs and sore distress, For which my miserable brethren weep! But should uncomforted misfortunes steep My daily bread in tears and bitterness; And if at death's dread moment I should lie With no beloved face at my bed-side, To fix the last glance of my closing eye, Methinks, such strains, breathed by my angel-guide, Would make me pass the cup of anguish by,

Mix with the blest, nor know that I had died!


HENCE that fantastic wantonness of woe,
O Youth to partial Fortune vainly dear!
To plunder'd Want's half-shelter'd hovel go,
Go, and some hunger-bitten Infant hear
Moan haply in a dying Mother's ear:

Or when the cold and dismal fog-damps brood
O'er the rank church-yard with sere elm-leaves strew'd,
Pace round some widow's grave, whose dearer part
Was slaughter'd, where o'er his uncoffin'd limbs
The flocking flesh-birds scream'd! Then, while thy heart
Groans, and thine eye a fiercer sorrow dims,
Know (and the truth shall kindle thy young mind)
What nature makes thee mourn, she bids thee heal!
O abject! if, to sickly dreams resign'd,
All effortless thou leave life's common-weal
A prey to Tyrants, Murderers of Mankind.

SONNET TO THE RIVER OTTER. DEAR native Brook! wild Streamlet of the West! How various-fated years have many past, What happy, and what mournful hours, since last I skimm'd the smooth thin stone along thy breast, Numbering its light leaps! yet so deep imprest Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes I never shut amid the sunny ray,

But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,

Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey, And bedded sand that vein'd with various dyes Gleam'd through thy bright transparence! On my way, Visions of childhood! oft have ye beguiled Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs: Ah! that once more I were a careless child!



OFT o'er my brain does that strange fancy roll

Which makes the present (while the flash doth last)

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