Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

XL.

THE TRIAD.

SHOW me the noblest Youth of present time,
Whose trembling fancy would to love give birth;
Some God or Hero, from the Olympian clime
Returned, to seek a Consort upon earth;
Or, in no doubtful prospect, let me see
The brightest star of ages yet to be,
And I will mate and match him blissfully.

I will not fetch a Naiad from a flood

Pure as herself (song lacks not mightier power)
Nor leaf-crowned Dryad from a pathless wood,
Nor Sea-nymph glistening from her coral bower;
Mere Mortals bodied forth in vision still,
Shall with Mount Ida's triple lustre fill
The chaster coverts of a British hill.

"Appear!-obey my lyre's command! Come, like the Graces, hand in hand! For ye, though not by birth allied, Are Sisters in the bond of love; Nor shall the tongue of envious pride Presume those interweavings to reprove In you, which that fair progeny of Jove, Learned from the tuneful spheres that glide In endless union, earth and sea above." -I sing in vain ;-the pines have hushed their

waving:

A peerless Youth expectant at my side,
Breathless as they, with unabated craving
Looks to the earth, and to the vacant air;
And, with a wandering eye that seems to chide,
Asks of the clouds what occupants they hide:-
But why solicit more than sight could bear,
By casting on a moment all we dare?
Invoke we those bright Beings one by one;
And what was boldly promised, truly shall be done.

"Fear not a constraining measure! -Yielding to this gentle spell, Lucida! from domes of pleasure,

Or from cottage-sprinkled dell,

Come to regions solitary,

Where the eagle builds her aery,

Above the hermit's long-forsaken cell!"
-She comes!—behold

That Figure, like a ship with snow-white sail!
Nearer she draws; a breeze uplifts her veil ;
Upon her coming wait

As pure a sunshine and as soft a gale

As e'er, on herbage covering earthly mold,
Tempted the bird of Juno to unfold

His richest splendour-when his veering gait
And every motion of his starry train
Seem governed by a strain

Of music, audible to him alone.

"O Lady, worthy of earth's proudest throne!
Nor less, by excellence of nature, fit
Beside an unambitious hearth to sit
Domestic queen, where grandeur is unknown;
What living man could fear

The worst of Fortune's malice, wert Thou near,
Humbling that lily-stem, thy sceptre meek,
That its fair flowers may from his cheek
Brush the too happy tear?

-Queen, and handmaid lowly!

Whose skill can speed the day with lively cares,
And banish melancholy

By all that mind invents or hand prepares ;
O Thou, against whose lip, without its smile
And in its silence even, no heart is proof;
Whose goodness, sinking deep, would reconcile
The softest Nursling of a gorgeous palace
To the bare life beneath the hawthorn-roof
Of Sherwood's Archer, or in caves of Wallace-
Who that hath seen thy beauty could content
His soul with but a glimpse of heavenly day?
Who that hath loved thee, but would lay
His strong hand on the wind, if it were bent
To take thee in thy majesty away?
-Pass onward (even the glancing deer

Till we depart intrude not here ;)

That mossy slope, o'er which the woodbine throws A canopy, is smoothed for thy repose!"

Glad moment is it when the throng
Of warblers in full concert strong
Strive, and not vainly strive, to rout

The lagging shower, and force coy Phoebus out,
Met by the rainbow's form divine,
Issuing from her cloudy shrine;-—
So may the thrillings of the lyre
Prevail to further our desire,

While to these shades a sister Nymph I call.

"Come, if the notes thine ear may pierce, Come, youngest of the lovely Three, Submissive to the might of verse And the dear voice of harmony,

By none more deeply felt than Thee!" --I sang; and lo! from pastimes virginal She hastens to the tents

Of nature, and the lonely elements.

Air sparkles round her with a dazzling sheen; But mark her glowing cheek, her vesture green! And, as if wishful to disarm

Or to repay the potent Charm,

She bears the stringèd lute of old romance,
That cheered the trellised arbour's privacy,
And soothed war-wearied knights in raftered hall.
How vivid, yet how delicate, her glee!

So tripped the Muse, inventress of the dance;
So, truant in waste woods, the blithe Euphrosyne !

But the ringlets of that head
Why are they ungarlanded?
Why bedeck her temples less
Than the simplest shepherdess?
Is it not a brow inviting

Choicest flowers that ever breathed,
Which the myrtle would delight in
With Idalian rose enwreathed?
But her humility is well content

With one wild floweret (call it not forlorn)
FLOWER OF THE WINDS, beneath her bosom worn-
Yet more for love than ornament.

Open, ye thickets! let her fly,

Swift as a Thracian Nymph o'er field and height!
For She, to all but those who love her, shy,
Would gladly vanish from a Stranger's sight;
Though where she is beloved and loves,
Light as the wheeling butterfly she moves;
Her happy spirit as a bird is free,
That rifles blossoms on a tree,

Turning them inside out with arch audacity.
Alas! how little can a moment show
Of an eye where feeling plays

In ten thousand dewy rays;

A face o'er which a thousand shadows go!
-She stops-is fastened to that rivulet's side;
And there (while, with sedater mien,
O'er timid waters that have scarcely left

Their birth-place in the rocky cleft
She bends) at leisure may be seen
Features to old ideal grace allied,
Amid their smiles and dimples dignified-
Fit countenance for the soul of primal truth;
The bland composure of eternal youth!

What more changeful than the sea?
But over his great tides

Fidelity presides;

And this light-hearted Maiden constant is as he.
High is her aim as heaven above,
And wide as ether her good-will;

And, like the lowly reed, her love

Can drink its nurture from the scantiest rill:

Insight as keen as frosty star
Is to her charity no bar,

Nor interrupts her frolic graces
When she is, far from these wild places,
Encircled by familiar faces.

O the charm that manners draw,
Nature, from thy genuine law !
If from what her hand would do,
Her voice would utter, aught ensue
Untoward or unfit ;

She, in benign affections pure,

In self-forgetfulness secure,

Sheds round the transient harm or vague mis

chance

A light unknown to tutored elegance :
Her's is not a cheek shame-stricken,
But her blushes are joy-flushes;
And the fault (if fault it be)
Only ministers to quicken
Laughter-loving gaiety,
And kindle sportive wit-

Leaving this Daughter of the mountains free
As if she knew that Oberon king of Faery
Had crossed her purpose with some quaint vagary,
And heard his viewless bands

Over their mirthful triumph clapping hands.

"Last of the Three, though eldest born, Reveal thyself, like pensive Morn Touched by the skylark's earliest note, Ere humbler gladness be afloat.

But whether in the semblance drest

Of Dawn-or Eve, fair vision of the west,
Come with each anxious hope subdued

By woman's gentle fortitude,

Each grief, through meekness, settling into rest. -Or I would hail thee when some high-wrought

page

Of a closed volume lingering in thy hand
Has raised thy spirit to a peaceful stand
Among the glories of a happier age."

Her brow hath opened on me see it there,
Brightening the umbrage of her hair;
So gleams the crescent moon, that loves
To be descried through shady groves.
Tenderest bloom is on her cheek;
Wish not for a richer streak;

Nor dread the depth of meditative eye;
But let thy love, upon that azure field
Of thoughtfulness and beauty, yield
Its homage offered up in purity.

What would'st thou more? In sunny glade,
Or under leaves of thickest shade,

Was such a stillness e'er diffused

Since earth grew calm while angels mused? Softly she treads, as if her foot were loth

To crush the mountain dew-drops-soon to melt
On the flower's breast; as if she felt
That flowers themselves, whate'er their hue,
With all their fragrance, all their glistening,
Call to the heart for inward listening-

And though for bridal wreaths and tokens true
Welcomed wisely; though a growth
Which the careless shepherd sleeps on,

As fitly spring from turf the mourner weeps on— And without wrong are cropped the marble tomb to strew.

The Charm is over; the mute Phantoms gone,
Nor will return-but droop not, favoured Youth;
The apparition that before thee shone
Obeyed a summons covetous of truth.

From these wild rocks thy footsteps I will guide
To bowers in which thy fortune may be tried,
And one of the bright Three become thy happy
Bride.

XLI.

THE WISHING-GATE.

1828.

In the vale of Grasmere, by the side of the old high-way leading to Ambleside, is a gate, which, time out of mind, has been called the Wishing-gate, from a belief that wishes formed or indulged there have a favourable issue.

HOPE rules a land for ever green :

All powers that serve the bright-eyed Queen
Are confident and gay;

Clouds at her bidding disappear;
Points she to aught ?—the bliss draws near,
And Fancy smooths the way.

Not such the land of Wishes-there
Dwell fruitless day-dreams, lawless prayer,
And thoughts with things at strife;
Yet how forlorn, should ye depart
Ye superstitions of the heart,

How poor, were human life!

When magic lore abjured its might, Ye did not forfeit one dear right,

One tender claim abate; Witness this symbol of your sway, Surviving near the public way,

The rustic Wishing-gate!

Inquire not if the faery race
Shed kindly influence on the place,
Ere northward they retired;
If here a warrior left a spell,
Panting for glory as he fell ;

Or here a saint expired.

Enough that all around is fair,
Composed with Nature's finest care,
And in her fondest love-
Peace to embosom and content-
To overawe the turbulent,

The selfish to reprove.

Yea! even the Stranger from afar,
Reclining on this moss-grown bar,
Unknowing, and unknown,
The infection of the ground partakes,
Longing for his Belov'd-who makes
All happiness her own.

Then why should conscious Spirits fear
The mystic stirrings that are here,
The ancient faith disclaim?
The local Genius ne'er befriends
Desires whose course in folly ends,
Whose just reward is shame.
Smile if thou wilt, but not in scorn,
If some, by ceaseless pains outworn,
Here crave an easier lot;

If some have thirsted to renew
A broken vow, or bind a true,
With firmer, holier knot.

And not in vain, when thoughts are cast Upon the irrevocable past,

Some Penitent sincere

May for a worthier future sigh,
While trickles from his downcast eye

No unavailing tear.

The Worldling, pining to be freed
From turmoil, who would turn or speed
The current of his fate,

Might stop before this favoured scene,
At Nature's call, nor blush to lean
Upon the Wishing-gate.

The Sage, who feels how blind, how weak
Is man, though loth such help to seek,
Yet, passing, here might pause,
And thirst for insight to allay
Misgiving, while the crimson day
In quietness withdraws;

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinua »