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Afar the Contadino's song is heard,
Rude, but made sweet by distance;-and a bird
Which cannot be a nightingale, and yet
I know none else that sing so sweet as it
At this late hour;-and then all is still :-
Now Italy or London, which you will!
Next winter you must pass with me; I'll have My house by that time turn'd into a grave Of dead despondence and low-thoughted care, And all the dreams which our tormentors are. Oh that H-▬▬▬▬▬▬ and --were there, With every thing belonging to them fair!— We will have books; Spanish, Italian, Greek,
Though we eat little flesh and drink no wine,
Yet let's be merry: we 'll have tea and toast;
Custards for supper, and an endless host
Of syllabubs and jellies and mince-pies,
And other such lady-like luxuries,—
Feasting on which we will philosophise.
And we'll have fires out of the Grand Duke's wood,
To thaw the six weeks' winter in our blood.
And then we'll talk;-what shall we talk about?
Oh! there are themes enough for many a bout
Of thought-entangled descant;-as to nerves,
With cones and parallelograms and curves,
I've sworn to strangle them if once they dare
To bother me,-when you are with me there.
And they shall never more sip laud'num
From Helicon or Himeros; '--we 'll come
And in despite of and of the devil,
Will make our friendly philosophic revel
Outlast the leafless time;-till buds and flowers
Warn the obscure, inevitable hours
Sweet meeting by sad parting to renew;—
To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.»>
A SENSITIVE Plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it open'd its fan-like leaves to the light,
And closed them beneath the kisses of night.
And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt every where;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
But none ever trembled and panted with bliss
In the garden, the field, or the wilderness,
Like a doe in the noon-tide with love's sweet want,
As the companionless Sensitive Plant.
The snow-drop, and then the violet,
Arose from the ground with warm rain wet,
And their breath was mix'd with fresh odour, sent From the turf, like the voice and the instrument.
Then the pied wind-flowers and the tulip tall, And narcissi, the fairest among them all, Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's recess, Till they die of their own dear loveliness;
And the Naiad-like lily of the vale,
Whom youth makes so fair and passion so pale,
That the light of its tremulous bells is seen
Through their pavilions of tender green;
And the hyacinth purple, and white, and blue,
Which flung from its bells a sweet peal anew
Of music so delicate, soft, and intense,
It was felt like an odour within the sense;
And the rose like a nymph to the bath addrest,
Which unveil'd the depth of her glowing breast,
Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air
The soul of her beauty and love lay bare:
And the wand-like lily, which lifted up,
As a Mænad, its moonlight-colour'd cup,
Till the fiery star, which is its eye,
Gazed through clear dew on the tender sky;
And the jessamine faint, and the sweet tuberose,
The sweetest flower for scent that blows;
And all rare blossoms from every clime
Grew in that garden in perfect prime.
And on the stream whose inconstant bosom
Was prank! under boughs of embowering blossom,
With golden and green light, slanting through
Their heaven of many a tangled hue,
Broad water-lilies lay tremulously,
And starry river-buds glimmer'd by,
And around them the soft stream did glide and dance
With a motion of sweet sound and radiance.
And the sinuous paths of lawn and of moss, Which led through the garden along and across, Some open at once to the sun and the breeze, Some lost among bowers of blossoming trees,
Were all paved with daisies and delicate bells
As fair as the fabulous asphodels,
And flowrets which drooping as day droop'd too,
Fell into pavilions, white, purple, and blue,
To roof the glow-worm from the evening dew.
And from this undefiled Paradise
The flowers (as an infant's awakening eyes
Smile on its mother, whose singing sweet
Can first lull, and at last must awaken it),
When Heaven's blithe winds had unfolded them,
As mine-lamps enkindle a hidden gem,
Shone smiling to Heaven, and every one
Shared joy in the light of the gentle sun;
For each one was interpenetrated
With the light and the odour its neighbour shed,
Iuepos, from which the river Himera was named, is, with Like young lovers whom youth and love make dear, some slight shade of difference, a synonyme of Love.
Wrapp'd and fill'd by their mutual atmosphere.
Tended the garden from morn to even:
But the Sensitive Plant which could give small fruit Of the love which it felt from the leaf to the root, Received more than all, it loved more than ever,
And the meteors of that sublunar heaven,
Like the lamps of the air when night walks forth,
Where none wanted but it, could belong to the giver-Laugh'd round her footsteps up from the Earth!
She lifted their heads with her tender hands, And sustain'd them with rods and ozier bands; If the flowers had been her own infants, she
And the beasts, and the birds, and the insects were Could never have nursed them more tenderly.
First there came down a thawing rain,
And its dull drops froze on the boughs again,
Then there steam'd up a freezing dew
Which to the drops of the thaw-rain grew;
And a northern whirlwind, wandering about
Like a wolf that had smelt a dead child out,
Shook the boughs thus laden, and heavy and stiff,
And snapp'd them off with his rigid griff.
When winter had gone and spring came back,
The Sensitive Plant was a leafless wreck;
Dim mirrors of ruin hang gleaming about;
While the surf, like a chaos of stars, like a rout
Of death-flames, like whirlpools of fire-flowing iron,
With splendour and terror the black ship environ;
Or like sulphur-flakes hurl'd from a mine of pale fire,
In fountains spout o'er it. In many a spire
The pyramid-billows, with white points of brine,
In the cope of the lightning inconstantly shine,
As piercing the sky from the floor of the sea.
The great ship seems splitting! it cracks as a tree,
While an earthquake is splintering its root, ere the blast
Of the whirlwind that stript it of branches has past.
But the mandrakes, and toad stools, and docks, and The intense thunder-balls which are raining from heaven
Rose like the dead from their ruin'd charnels.
Whether the Sensitive Plant, or that
Which within its boughs like a spirit sat
Ere its outward form had known decay,
Now felt this change, I cannot say.
Whether that lady's gentle mind,
No longer with the forrn combined
Which scatter'd love, as stars do light,
Found sadness, where it left delight,
'I dare not guess; but in this life
Of error, ignorance, and strife,
Where nothing is, but all things seem,
And we the shadows of the dream,
It is a modest creed, and yet
Pleasant, if one considers it,”
To own that death itself must be,
Like all the rest, a mockery.
That garden sweet, that lady fair,
And all sweet shapes and odours there,
In truth have never pass'd away:
"T is we, 't is ours, are changed; not they.
For love, and beauty, and delight,
There is no death nor change their might
Exceeds our organs, which endure
No light, being themselves obscure.
A VISION OF THE SEA.
'Tis the terror of tempest. The rags of the sail
Are flickering in ribbons within the fierce gale:
From the stark night of vapours the dim rain is driven,
And when lightning is loosed, like a deluge from heaven,
She sees the black trunks of the water-spouts spin,
And bend, as if heaven was mining in,
Which they seem'd to sustain with their terrible mass
As if ocean had sunk from beneath them: they pass
To their graves in the deep with an earthquake of sound,
And the waves and the thunders, made silent around,
Leave the wind to its echo. The vessel, now toss'd
Through the low-trailing rack of the tempest, is lost
In the skirts of the thunder-cloud: now down the sweep
Of the wind-cloven wave to the chasm of the deep
It sinks, and the walls of the watery vale
Have shatter'd its mast, and it stands black and riven.
The chinks suck destruction. The heavy dead hulk
On the living sea rolls an inanimate bulk,
Like a corpse on the clay which is hung'ring to fold
Its corruption around it. Meanwhile, from the hold,
One deck is burst up from the waters below,
And it splits like the ice when the thaw-breezes blow
O'er the lakes of the desert! Who sit on the other?
Is that all the crew that lie burying each other,
Like the dead in a breach, round the foremast? Are those
Twin tigers, who burst, when the waters arose,
In the agony of terror, their chains in the hold
(What now makes them tame, is what then made them
Who crouch, side by side, and have driven, like a crank,
The deep grip of their claws through the vibrating plank?
Are these all? Nine weeks the tall vessel had lain
On the windless expanse of the watery plain,
Where the death-darting sun cast no shadow at noon,
And there seem'd to be fire in the beams of the moon,
Till a lead-colour'd fog gather'd up from the deep,
Whose breath was quick pestilence; then, the cold sleep
Crept, like blight through the ears of a thick field of
O'er the populous vessel. And even and morn,
With their hammocks for coffins the seamen aghast
Like dead men the dead limbs of their comrades cast
Down the deep, which closed on them above and around,
And the sharks and the dog-fish their grave-clothes
And were glutted like Jews with this manna rain'd down
From God on their wilderness. One after one
The mariners died; on the eve of this day,
When the tempest was gathering in cloudy array,
But seven remain'd. Six the thunder had smitten,
And they lie black as mummies on which Time has
His scorn of the embalmer; the seventh, from the deck
An oak splinter pierced through his breast and his back,
And hung out to the tempest, a wreck on the wreck.
No more? At the helm sits a woman more fair
Than heaven, when, unbinding its star-braided hair,
It sinks with the sun on the earth and the sea.
She clasps a bright child on her upgather'd knee,
It laughs at the lightning, it mocks the mix'd thunder
Of the air and the sea, with desire and with wonder
It is beckoning the tigers to rise and come near,
It would play with those eyes where the radiance of
Is outshining the meteors; its bosom beats high,
The heart-fire of pleasure has kindled its eye;
Whilst its mother's is lustreless. Smile not, my child,
Whose depths of dread calm are unmoved by the gale, But sleep deeply and sweetly, and so be beguiled
Of the pang that awaits us, whatever that be,
So dreadful since thou must divide it with me!
Dream, sleep! This pale bosom, thy cradle and bed,
Will it rock thee not, infant? 'T is beating with dread!
Alas! what is life, what is death, what are we,
That when the ship sinks we no longer may be?
What! to see thee no more, and to feel thee no more?
To be after life what we have been before?
Of solid bones crush'd by the infinite stress
Of the snake's adamantine voluminousness;
And the hum of the hot blood that spouts and rains
Where the gripe of the tiger has wounded the veins,
Swollen with rage, strength, and effort; the whirl and
As of some hideous engine whose brazen teeth smash
The thin winds and soft waves into thunder! the screams
Not to touch those sweet hands? Not to look on those And hissings crawl fast o'er the smooth ocean-streams,
Those lips, and that hair, all that'smiling disguise
Thou yet wearest, sweet spirit, which I, day by day,
Have so long call'd my child, but which now fades away
Like a rainbow, and I the fallen shower? Lo! the ship
Is settling, it topples, the leeward ports dip;
The tigers leap up when they feel the slow brine
Each sound like a centipede. Near this commotion,
A blue shark is hanging within the blue ocean,
The fin-winged tomb of the victor. The other
Is winning his way from the fate of his brother,
To his own with the speed of despair. Lo! a boat
Advances; twelve rowers with the impulse of thought
Urge on the keen keel, the brine foams. At the stern
Crawling inch by inch on them; hair, ears, limbs, and Three marksmen stand levelling. Hot bullets burn
Stand rigid with horror; a loud, long, hoarse cry
Burst at once from their vitals tremendously,
In the breast of the tiger, which yet bears him on
To his refuge and ruin. One fragment alone,
'T is dwindling and sinking, 't is now almost gone,
And 't is borne down the mountainous vale of the wave, Of the wreck of the vessel peers out of the sea.
Rebounding, like thunder, from crag to cave,
Mix'd with the clash of the lashing rain,
Hurried on by the might of the hurricane:
The hurricane came from the west, and past on
By the path of the gate of the eastern sun,
Transversely dividing the stream of the storm;
As an arrowy serpent, pursuing the form
Of an elephant, bursts through the brakes of the waste.
Black as a cormorant the screaming blast,
Between ocean and heaven, like an ocean, past,
Till it came to the clouds on the verge of the world
Which, based on the sea and to heaven upcurl'd,
Like columns and walls did surround and sustain
The dome of the tempest; it rent them in twain,
As a flood rends its barriers of mountainous crag:
And the dense clouds in many a ruin and rag,
Like the stones of a temple ere earthquake has past,
Like the dust of its fall, on the whirlwind are cast;
They are scatter'd like foam on the torrent; and where
The wind has burst out through the chasm, from the air
Of clear morning, the beams of the sunrise flow in,
Unimpeded, keen, golden, and crystalline,
Banded armies of light and of air; at one gate
They encounter, but interpenetrate.
And that breach in the tempest is widening away,
And the caverns of cloud are torn up by the day,
And the fierce winds are sinking with weary wings,
Lull'd by the motion and murmurings,
And the long glassy heave of the rocking sea,
And over head glorious, but dreadful to see,
The wrecks of the tempest, like vapours of gold,
Are consuming in sun-rise. The heap'd waves behold
The deep calm of blue heaven dilating above,
And, like passions made still by the presence of Love,
Beneath the clear surface reflecting it slide
Tremulous with soft influence; extending its tide
From the Andes to Atlas, round mountain and isle,
Round sea-birds and wrecks, paved with heaven's azure
The wide world of waters is vibrating. Where
Is the ship? On the verge of the wave where it lay
One tiger is mingled in ghastly affray
With a sea-snake. The foam and the smoke of the battle Stain the clear air with sun-bows; the jar, and the rattle
With her left hand she grasps it impetuously,
With her right she sustains her fair infant. Death, Fear,
Love, Beauty, are mix'd in the atmosphere,
Which trembles and burns with the fervour of dread
Around her wild eyes, her bright hand, and her head,
Like a meteor of light o'er the waters! her child
Is yet smiling, and playing, and murmuring: so smiled
The false deep ere the storm. Like a sister and brother
The child and the ocean still smile on each other,
PALACE-ROOF of cloudless nights!
Paradise of golden lights!
Deep, immeasurable, vast,
Which art now, and which wert then!
Of the present and the past,
Of the eternal where and when,
Presence-chamber, temple, home,
Of acts and ages yet to come!
Glorious shapes have life in thee,
Earth, and all earth's company;
Living globes which ever throng
Thy deep chasms and wildernesses;
And green worlds that glide along ;
And swift stars with flashing tresses;
And icy moons most cold and bright,
And mighty suns beyond the night,
Atoms of intensest light.
Even thy name is as a god,
Heaven! for thou art the abode
Of that power which is the glass
Wherein man his nature sees.
Generations as they pass
Worship thee with bended knees.
Their unremaining gods and they
Like a river roll away:
Thou remainest such alway.