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I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields,
A fresh-blown musk-rose; 't was the first that threw
Its sweets upon the summer : graceful it grew
I thought the garden-rose it far excelld;
My sense with their deliciousness was spellid:
Keen fitful gusts are whispering here and there
Among the bushes, half leafless and dry;
The stars look very cold about the sky,
Or of the dead leaves rustling drearily,
Or of those silver lamps that burn on high,
That in a little cottage I have found;
And all his love for gentle Lycid' drown'd;
And faithful Petrarch gloriously crown'd.
TO G. A. W.
Nymph of the downward smile, and sidelong glance !
In what diviner moments of the day
Art thou most lovely? when gone far astray
Of sober thought? Or when starting away,
With careless robe to meet the morning ray,
And so remain, because thou listenest :
That I can never tell what mood is best,
Trips it before Apollo than the rest.
To one who has been long in city pent,
'T is very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven,- to breathe a prayer
Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
Catching the notes of Philomel, -an eye
He mourns that day so soon has glided by:
That falls through the clear ether silently.
O SOLITUDE! if I must with thee dwell,
ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER. Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep, Mucu have I travellid in the realms of gold, Nature's observatory-whence the dell,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; Its flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,
Round many western islands have I been May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. 'Mongst bouglis pavilion'd, where the deer's swift leap, loft of one wide expanse hiad I becri told Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne: But though I'll gladly trace these scenes withi ulice, Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind, Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold Whose words are images of thoughts refined,
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
When a new planet swims into his ken; Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific-and all his men
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
TO MY BROTHERS.
ON LEAVING SOME FRIENDS AT AN EARLY HOUR.
Small, busy fames play through the fresh-laid coals,
And their faint cracklings o'er our silence crcep
Like whispers of the household gods that keep
Your eyes are fix'd, as in poetic sleep,
That thus it passes smouthly, quietly,
May we together pass, and calmly try
November 18, 1816.
Give me a golden pen, and let me lean
On heap'd up flowers, in regions clear, and far;
Bring me a tablet whiter than a star,
And let there glide by many a pearly car,
Pink robes, and wavy hair, and diamond jar, And half-discover'd wings, and glances keen. The while let music wander round my ears,
And as it reaches each delicious ending,
Let me write down a line of glorious tone,
For what a height my spirit is contending!
ADDRESSED TO HAYDON.
It tells me too, that on a happy day,
When some good spirit walks upon the earth,
Thy name with Alfred's, and the great of yore, Gently commingling, gives tremendous birth To a loud hymn, that sounds far, far away
To where the great God lives for evermore.
HIGH-MINDEDNESS, a jealousy for good,
A loving-kindness for the great man's fame,
Dwells here and there with people of no name, Jo noisome alley, and in pathless wood: And where we think the truth least understood.
Oft may be found a « singleness of aim,"
That ought to frighten into hooded shame
Of sted fast genius, toiling gallantly!
Envy, and malice to their native sty? Unnumber'd souls breathe out a still applause,
Proud to bebold him in his country's cye.
Happy is England! I could be content
To see no other verdure than its own ;
To feel no other breezes than are blown Through its tall woods with high romances blent: Yet do I sometimes fell a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
Enough their simple loveliness for me,
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing, And float with them about the summer waters.
ADDRESSED TO THE SAME.
THE HUMAN SEASONS.
Great spirits now on earth are sojourning:
He of the cloud, the cataract, the lake,
Who on llelvellyn's summit, wide awake, Catches his freshness from Archangel's wing: He of the rose, the violet, the spring,
The social smile, the chain for Freedom's sake:
And lo! whose stedfastness would never take A meaner sound than Raphael's wliispering. And other spirits there are standing apart
Upon the forehead of the age to come; These, these will give the world another heart,
And other pulses. Hear ye not the hum Of mighty workings?—
Listen awhile ye nations, and be dumb.
Four Seasons fill the measure of the year;
ON THE GRASSHOPPER AND CRICKET.
ON A PICTURE OF LEANDER.
The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead: That is the grasshopper's-- he takes the lead
In summer luxury,-- he has never done
With his delights, for when tired out with fun,
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills The Cricket's song, in warınth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
December 30, 1816.
Come hither all sweet maidens soberly,
TO AJLSA ROCK.
Goop Kosciusko! thy great name alone
Is a full harvest whence to reap high feeling;
It comes upon us like the glorious pealing
The names of beroes, burst from clouds concealing,
And changed to harmonies, for ever stealing Through cloudless blue, and round each silver throne.
HEARken, thou cragey ocean pyramid !
How long is 't since the mighty power bid
Where on one side are covert branches hung,
Among the rest a shepherd (though but young
TO GEORGE FELTON MATHEW.
Sweet are the pleasures that to verse belong, And doubly sweet a brotherhood in song; Nor can remembrance, Mathew! bring to view A fate more pleasing, a delight more true Than that in which the brother poets joy'd, Who, with combined powers, their wit employ'd To raise a trophy to the drama's muses. The thought of this great partnership diffuses Over the genius-loving heart, a feeling Of all that's high, and great, and good, and healing. Too partial friend! fain would I follow thee Past each horizon of fine poesy; Fain would I echo back each .pleasant note As o'er Sicilian seas, clear anthems float 'Mong the light skimming gondolas far parted, Just when the sun his farewell beam has darted : But 't is impossible; far different cares Beckon me sternly from soft « Lydian airs, And hold my faculties so long in thrall, That I am oft in doubt whether at all I shall again see Phæbus in the morning : Or flush'd Aurora in the roseate dawning! Or a white Naiad in a rippling stream; Or a rapt seraph in a moonlight beam; Or again witness what with thee I 've seen, The dew by fairy feet swept from the green, After a night of some quaint jubilee Which every elf and fay had come to see : When bright processions took their airy march Beneath the curved moon's triumphal arch.
Yet this is vain-O Mathew ! lend thy aid To find a place where I may greet the maidWhere we may soft humanity put on, And sit, and rhyme, and think on Chatterton ; And that warm-hearted Shakespeare sent to meet him Four laurell’d spirits, heavenward to entreat him. With reverence would we speak of all the sages Who have left streaks of light athwart their ages : And thou shouldst moralize on Milton's blindness, And mourn the fearful dearth of human kindness To those who strove with the bright golden wing Of genius, to flap away each sting Thrown by the pitiless world. We next could tell Of those who in the cause of freedom fell; Of our own Alfred, of Helvetian Tell; Of him whose name to every heart 's a solace, High-minded and unbending William Wallace. While to the rugged north our musing turns We well might drop a tear for him, and Burns. Fellon! without incitements such as these, How vain for me the niggard Muse to tease! For thee, she will thy every dwelling grace, And make a sun-shine in a shady place:» For thou wast once a flowret blooming wild, Close to the source, bright, pure, and undefiled, Whence gush the streams of song: in happy hour Came chaste Diana from her shady bower, Just as the sun was from the east uprising; And, as for him some gift she was devising, Beheld thee, pluck'd thee, cast thee in the stream To meet her glorious brother's greeting beam. I marvel much that thou hast never told How, from a flower, into a fish of gold Apollo changed thee: how thou next didst seem A black-eyed swan upon the widening stream; And when thou first didst in that mirror trace The placid features of a human face: That thou hast never told thy travels strange, And all the wonders of the mazy range O'er pebbly chrystal, and o'er golden sands; Kissing thy daily food from Naiad's pearly hands.
TO MY BROTHER GEORGE.
But might I now each passing moment give
Full many a dreary hour have I past,
The purple west, and, two bright streaks between, With after times. The patriot shall feel
My stern alarum, and unsheath his steel;
Or in the senate thunder out my numbers, Would never teach a rural song to me:
To startle princes from their easy slumbers. That the bright glance from beauty's eyelids slanting
sage will mingle with each moral theme Would never make a lay of mine enchanting,
My happy thoughts sententious: he will teem Or warm my breast with ardour to unfold
With lofty periods when my verses fire him, Some tale of love and arms in time of old.
And then I 'll stoop from heaven to inspire him.
Lays have I left of such a dear delight But there are times, when those that love the bay,
That maids will sing them on their bridal-night. Fly from all sorrowing far, far away;
Gay villagers, upon a morn of May, A sudden glow comes on them, nought they see
When they have tired their gentle limbs with play, In water, earth, or air, but poesy.
And form'd a snowy circle on the grass, It has been said, dear George, and true I hold it,
And placed in midst of all that lovely lass (For knightly Spenser to Libertas told it),
Who chosen is their queen,- with her fine head That when a Poet is in such a trance,
Crown'd with flowers purple, white, and red : In air he sees white coursers paw and prance,
For there the lily, and the musk-rose, sighing, Bestridden of gay knights, in gay apparel,
Are emblems true of hapless lovers dying: Who at each other tilt in playful quarrel;
Between her breasts, that never yet felt trouble, And what we, ignorantly, sheet-lightning call,
A bunch of violets full blown, and double, Is the swift opening of their wide portal,
Serenely sleep:-she from a casket takes When the bright warder blows his trumpet clear,
A little book,-and then a joy awakes Whose tones reach nought on earth but poet's ear.
About each youthful heart, - with stifled cries, When these enchanted portals open wide,
And rubbing of white bands, and sparkling eyes : And through the light the horsemen swiftly glide,
For she's to read a tale of hopes, and fears; The Poet's eye can reach those golden halls,
One that I foster'd in my youthful years : And view the glory of their festivals:
The pearls, that on each glistening circlet sleep, Their ladies fair, that in the distance seem
Gush ever and anon with silent creep, Fit for the silv'ring of a seraph's dream;
Lured by the innocent dimples. To sweet rest Their rich brimm'd goblets, that incessant run,
Shall the dear babe, upon its mother's breast, Like the bright spots that move about the sun;
Be lull'd with songs of mine. Fair world, adieu! And when upheld, the wine from each bright jar
Thy dales, and hills, are fading from my
view: Pours with the lustre of a falling star.
Swiftly I mount, upon wide-spreading pinions, Yet further off, are dimly seen their bowers,
Far from the narrow bounds of thy dominions. Of which no mortal eye can reach the flowers;
Full joy I feel, while thus I cleave the air, And 't is right just, for well Apollo knows
That my soft verse will charm thy daughters fair, "T would make the Poet quarrel with the rose.
And warm thy sons!. Ah, my dear friend and brother, All that's reveald from that far seat of blisses,
Could I, at once, my mad ambition smother, Is, the clear fountains' interchanging kisses,
For tasting joys like these, sure I should be As gracefully descending, light and thin,
Happier, and dearer to society. Like silver streaks across a dolphin's fin,
At times, 't is true, I've felt relief from pain When he upswimmeth from the coral caves,
When some bright thought has darted through my brain: And sports with half his tail above the waves.
Through all that day I 've felt a greater pleasure
As to my sonnets, though none else should heed them, These wonders strange he sees, and many more,
I feel delighted, still, that you should read them. Whose head is pregnant with poetic lore:
Of late, too, I have had much calm enjoyment, Should he upon an evening ramble fare
Stretch'd on the grass at my best loved employment With forehead to the soothing breezes bare,
Of scribbling lines for you. These things I thought Would he nought see but the dark, silent blue, With all its diamonds trembling through and through? E'en now, I am pillow'd on a bed of tlowers
While, in my face, the freshest breeze I caught. Or the coy moon, when in the waviness
That crowns a lofty cliff, which proudly towers Of whitest clouds she does her beauty dress,
Above the ocean waves. The stalks, and blades, And staidly paces higher up, and higher,
Chequer my tablet with their quivering shades.
On one side is a field of drooping oats,
Through which the poppies show their scarlet coats, And should I ever see them, I will tell
So pert and useless, that they bring to mind
The scarlet coats that pester humav-kind.
Ocean's blue mantle, streak’d with purple and green; These aye the living pleasures of the bard :
Now 't is I see a canvass'd ship, and now But richer far posterity's award.
Mark the bright silver curling round her prow.
I see the lark down-dropping to his nest,
His breast is dancing on the restless sea.
Now I direct my eyes into the West,
Spenserian vowels that elope with ease, Which at this moment is in sun-beams drest :
And float along like birds o'er summer seas: Why westward turp? 'T was but to say adieu !
Miltonian storms, and more, Miltonian tenderness: 'T was but to kiss my hand, dear George, to you! Michael in arms, and more, meek Eve's fair slenderness. August, 1816.
Who read for me the sonnet swelling loudly
Growing, like Atlas, stronger from its load?
Who let me taste that more than cordial dram,
The sharp, the rapier-pointed epigram? And with proud breast his own white shadow crowning; Show'd me that epic was of all the king, He slants his neck beneath the waters bright
Round, vast, and spanning all, like Saturn's ring? So silently, it seems a beam of light
You too upheld the veil from Clio's beauty, Come from the galaxy: anon he sports, –
And pointed out the patriot's stern duty; With outspread wings the Naiad Zephyr courts, The might of Alfred, and the shaft of Tell; Or ruffles all the surface of the lake
The hand of Brutus, that so grandly fell In striving from its crystal face to take
Upon a tyrant's head. Ah! had I never seen, Some diamond water-drops, and them to treasure Or known your kindness, what might I have been ? In milky nest, and sip them off at leisure.
What my enjoyments in my youthful years, But not a moment can he there ensure them,
Bereft of all that now my life endears?
And can I e'er these benefits forget?
No, doubly no;-yet should these rhymings please, Just like that bird am I in loss of time,
I shall roll on the grass with two-fold ease; Whene'er I venture on the stream of rhyme ;
For I have long time been my fancy feeding With shatter'd boat, oar snapt, and canvass rent, With hopes that you would one day think the reading I slowly sail, scarce knowing my intent;
Of my rough verses not an hour mispent; Still scooping up the water with my fingers,
Should it e'er be so, what a rich content! In which a trembling diamond never lingers.
Some weeks have pass'd since last I saw the spires
In lucent Thames reflected :-warm desires By this, friend Charles, you may full plainly see
To see the sun o'er-peep the eastern dimness, Why I have never penn'd a line to thee:
And morning-shadows streaking into slimness Because my thoughts were never free, and clear, Across the lawny fields, and pebbly water; And little fit to please a classic car;
To mark the time as they grow broad and shorter; Because my wine was of too poor a savour
To feel the air that plays about the bills, For one whose palate gladdens in the flavour
And sips its freshness from the little rills; Of sparkling Helicon :-small good it were
To see high, golden corn wave in the light To take him to a desert rude and bare,
When Cynthia smiles upon a summer's night, Who had on Baia's shore reclined at ease,
And peers among the cloudlets, jet and white, While Tasso's page was floating in a breeze
As though she were reclining in a bed That gave soft music from Armida's bowers,
Of bean-blossoms, in heaven freshly shed. Mingled with fragrance from her rarest flowers : No sooner had I stepp'd into these pleasures, Small good to one who had by Mulla's stream
Than I began to think of rhymes and measures ; Fondled the maidens with the breasts of cream;
The air that floated by me seem'd to say Who had beheld Belphæbe in a brook,
• Write! thou wilt never have a better day.
And so I did. When And lovely Una in a leafy nook,
many lines I'd written, And Archimago leaning o'er his book :
Though with their grace I was not oversmitten, Who had of all that's sweet tasted, and seen,
Yet, as my hand was warm, I thought I'd better From silv'ry ripple, up to beauty's queen ;
Trust to my feelings, and write you a letter. From the sequester'd haunts of gay Titania,
Such an attempt required an inspiration To the blue dwelling of divine Urania :
Of a peculiar sort,-a consummation ;One, who, of late had ta'en sweet forest walks
Which, had I felt, these scribblings might have been With him who elegantly chats and talks
Verses from which the soul would never wean; The wrong'd Libertas—who has told you stories But many days have past since last my
heart Of laurel chaplets, and Apollo's glories;
Was warm'd luxuriously by divine Mozart; Of troops chivalrous prancing through a city,
By Arne delighted, or by Handel madden'd; And tearful ladies, made for love and pity:
Or by the song of Erin pierced and sadden'd: With many else which I have never known.
What time you were before the music sitting, Thus have I thought; and days on days have flown And the rich notes to each sensation fitting. Slowly, or rapidly-unwilling still
Since I have walk'd with you through shady lanes For you to try my dull, unlearned quill.
That freshly terminate in open plains,