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Where it had stood even now thou didst
A frail and bloody pomp, which Time has swept
In fragments towards oblivion. Massacre, For this, I prayed, would on thy sleep have crept,
Treason, and Slavery, Rapine, Fear, and Lust, And stifled thee their minister. I know Too late, since thou and France are in the dust,
That Virtue owns a more eternal foe Than Force or Fraud: old Custom, Legal Crime,
And bloody Faith, the foulest birth of Time.
A SUMMER-EVENING CHURCHYARD, LECHLADE, GLOUCESTERSHIRE.
THE wind has swept from the wide atmosphere
Each vapour that obscured the sunset's
And pallid Evening twines its beaming hair In duskier braids around the languid eyes of
Silence and Twilight, unbeloved of men, Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen.
They breathe their spells towards the departing day,
Encompassing the earth, air, stars, and sea; Light, sound, and motion, own the potent sway,
Responding to the charm with its own mystery. The winds are still, or the dry church-tower grass
Knows not their gentle motions as they pass.
Thou too, aërial pile, whose pinnacles
Point from one shrine like pyramids of fire, Obey'st in silence their sweet solemn spells, Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire,
Around whose lessening and invisible height Gather among the stars the clouds of night.
The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres: And, mouldering as they sleep, a thrilling sound,
Half sense half thought, among the darkness stirs,
Breathed from their wormy beds all living things around;
And, mingling with the still night and mute sky,
Its awful hush is felt inaudibly.
Thus solemnized and softened, death is mild And terrorless as this serenest night.
Here could I hope, like some inquiring child Sporting on graves, that death did hide from human sight
Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep.
THE cold earth slept below;
With a chilling sound,
From caves of ice and fields of snow
The wintry hedge was black;
The birds did rest
On the bare thorn's breast,
Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
Thine eyes glowed in the glare
As a fen-fire's beam
On a sluggish stream
Gleams dimly, so the moon shone there;
The moon made thy lips pale, beloved;
The night did shed
On thy dear head
Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
Where the bitter breath of the naked sky
Might visit thee at will.
POEMS WRITTEN IN 1816.
THERE late was one within whose subtle being,
As light and wind within some delicate cloud
Fail like the trances of the summer air,
There now the sun had sunk; but lines of gold
Hung on the ashen clouds, and on the points Of the far level grass and nodding flowers, And the old dandelion's hoary beard,