Imatges de pÓgina
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Where it had stood even now thou didst

prefer

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.

I.

THE wind has swept from the wide atmosphere

Each vapour that obscured the sunset's

ray,

And pallid Evening twines its beaming hair In duskier braids around the languid eyes of

Day:

Silence and Twilight, unbeloved of men, Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen.

2.

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.

3.

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.

4.

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.

5.

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.

1815.

LINES.

I.

THE cold earth slept below;
Above, the cold sky shone;
And all around,

With a chilling sound,

From caves of ice and fields of snow
The breath of night like death did flow
Beneath the sinking moon.

2.

The wintry hedge was black;
The green grass was not seen;

The birds did rest

On the bare thorn's breast,

Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
Had bound their folds o'er many a crack
Which the frost had made between.

4.

Thine eyes glowed in the glare
Of the moon's dying light.

As a fen-fire's beam

On a sluggish stream

Gleams dimly, so the moon shone there;
And it yellowed the strings of thy tangled hair,
That shook in the wind of night.

3.

The moon made thy lips pale, beloved;
The wind made thy bosom chill;

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.

November 1815.

POEMS WRITTEN IN 1816.

THE SUNSET.

THERE late was one within whose subtle being,

As light and wind within some delicate cloud
That fades amid the blue moon's burning sky,
Genius and death contended. None may know
The sweetness of the joy which made his
breath

Fail like the trances of the summer air,
When, with the lady of his love, who then
First knew the unreserve of mingled being,
He walked along the pathway of a field,
Which to the east a hoar wood shadowed o'er,
But to the west was open to the sky.

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,

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