Imatges de pÓgina


Honour to maid Marian,
And to all the Sherwood clan!
Though their days have hurried by,
Let us two a burden try.


No! those days are gone away,
And their hours are old and grey,
And their minutes buried all
Under the down-trodden pall
Of the leaves of many years :
Many times have Winter's shears,
Frozen North, and chilling East,
Sounded tempests to the feast
Of the foresi's whispering fleeces,
Since men knew nor rent nor leases.

TO AUTUMN. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness !

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel ; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

No, the bugle sounds no more, And the twanging bow no more; Silent is the ivory shrill Past the heath and


the hill; There is no mid-forest laugh, Where lone Echo gives the half To some wight, amazed to hear Jesting, deep in forest drear.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,

Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers; And sometime like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

On the fairest time of June You may go, with sun or moon, Or the seven stars to light you, Or the polar ray to right you; But you never may behold Little John, or Robin bold; Never one, of all the clan, Thrumming on an empty can Some old hunting ditty, while He doth his green way beguile To fair hostess Merriment, Down beside the pasture Trent; For he left the merry

tale Messenger for spicy ale.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies ;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from billy bourn ;

Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft,

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Gone, the merry morris din; Gone, the song of Gamelyn; Gone, the tough-belted outlaw Idling in the • grené shawe ;» All are gone away and past! And if Robin should be cast Sudden from his tufted grave, And if Marian should have Once again her forest days, She would weep, and he would craze: He would swear, for all his oaks, Fall'n beneath the dock-yard strokes, Have rotted on the briny seas; She would weep that her wild bees Sang not to her-strange! that loney Can't be got without hard money!

ODE ON MELANCHOLY. No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist

Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine; Nor suffer thy pale forchead to be kiss'd

By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine ;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be

Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,

And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

So it is; yet let us sing Honour to the old bow-string ! Honour to the bugle-horn! Honour to the woods unshorn! Honour to the Lincoln green! Honour to the archer keen ! Honour to tight little John, And the horse he rode upon! Honour to bold Robin Hood, Sleeping in the underwood !

But when the melancholy fit shall fall

Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud, That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,

And hides the green hill in an April shroud; Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose, Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,

Or on the wealth of globed peopies; Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows, 'Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave, And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

[ocr errors]



She dwells with Beauty-Beauty that must die; For his great Maker's presence, but must know And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips

What 't is I mean, and feel his being glow:
Bidding adieu ; and aching Pleasure nigh,

Therefore no insult will I give bis spirit,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips : By telling what he sees from native merit.
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veild Melancholy has her sovran shrine,

O Poesy! for thee I hold my pen, Though seen of none save him whose strenuous That am not yet a glorious denizen tongue

Of thy wide heaven-should I rather kneel Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;

Upon some mountain-top until I feel His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,

A glowing splendour round about me hung,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

And echo back the voice of thine own tongue?
O Poesy! for thee I grasp my pen

That am not yet a glorious denizen

Of thy wide heaven; yet, to my ardent prayer,
Yield from thy sanctuary some clear air,

Smoothed for intoxication by the breath
As I lay in my bed slepe full unmete
Was unto me, but why that I ne might

Of flowering bays, that I may

die a death Rest I no wist, for there n' as ertbly wight

Of luxury, and my young spirit follow
(As I suppose) bad more of hertis ese

The morning sun-beams to the great Apollo,
Than I, for I n'ad sicknesse nor disese.

Like a fresh sacrifice; or, if I can bear


The o'erwhelming sweets, 't will bring to me the fair What is more gentle than a wind in summer? Visions of all places: a bowery nook What is more soothing than the pretty hummer

Will be elysium-an eternal book That stays one moment in an open flower,

Whence I may copy many a lovely saying And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?

About the leaves, and flowers about the playing What is more tranquil than a musk-rose blowing Of nymphs in woods, and fountains; and the shade In a green island, far from all men’s knowing? Keeping a silence round a sleeping maid; More healthful than the leafiness of dales?

And many a verse from so strange influence More secret than a nest of nightingales ?

That we must ever wonder how, and whence

It carne, More serene than Cordelia's countenance?

Also imaginings will hover More full of visions than a high romance?

Round my fire-side, and haply there discover What, but thee, Sleep? Soft closer of our eyes !

Vistas of solemn beauty, where I'd wander Low murmurer of tender lullabies !

In happy silence, like the clear Meander Light hoverer around our happy pillows !

Through its lone vales; and where I found a spot Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows !

Of awfuller shade, or an enchanted grot, Silent entangler of a beauty's tresses !

Or a green hill o'erspread with chequer'd dress Most happy listener! when the morning blesses

Of flowers, and fearful from its loveliness,

Write on my tablets all that was permitted, Thee for enlivening all the cheerful eyes

All that was for our human senses fitted. That glance so brightly at the new sun-rise.

Then the events of this wide world I'd seize But what is higher beyond thought than thee?

Like a strong giant, and my spirit tease
Fresher than berries of a mountain-tree?

Till at its shoulders it should proudly see
More strange, more beautiful, more smooth, more regal, Wings to find out an immortality.
Than wings of swans, than doves, than dim-seen eagle?
What is it? And to what shall I compare it?

Stop and consider! life is but a day;
It has a glory, and nought else can share it:

A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way The thought thereof is awful, sweet, and holy,

From a tree's summit; a poor Indian's sleep Chasing away all worldliness and folly:

While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep Coming sometimes like fearful claps of thunder;

Of Montmorenci. Why so sad a moan? Or the low rumblings earth's regions under;

Life is the rose's hope while yet unblown; And sometimes like a gentle whispering

The reading of an ever-changing tale; Of all the secrets of some wondrous thing

The light uplifting of a maiden's veil; That breathes about us in the vacant air;

A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air; So that we look around with prying stare,

A laughing school-boy, without grief or care,
Perhaps to see shapes of light, aerial lymnings

Riding the springy branches of an elm.
And catch soft floatings from a faint-heard hymning;
To see the laurel-wreath, on high suspended,

O for ten years, that I may overwhelm
That is to crown our name when life is ended.

Myself in poesy! so I may do the deed Sometimes it gives a glory to the voice,

That my own soul has to itself decreed. And from the heart up-springs, rejoice! rejoice! Then I will pass the countries that I see Sounds which will reach the Framer of all things, In long perspective, and continually And die away in ardent mutterings.

Taste their pure fountains. First the realm I 'll pass

Of Flora, and old Pan: sleep in the grass, No one who once the glorious sun has seen,

Feed upon apples red, and strawberries, And all the clouds, and felt his bosom clean

And chuse each pleasure that my fancy sees;

Catch the white-handed nymphs in shady places,
To woo sweet kisses from averted faces,
Play with their fingers, touch their shoulders while
Into a pretty shrinking with a bite
As hard as lips can make it: till agreed,
A lovely tale of human life we'll read.
And one will teach a tame dove how it best
May fan the cool air gently o'er my rest :
Another, bending o'er her nimble tread,
Will set a green robe floating round her head,
And still will dance with ever-varied ease,
Smiling upon the flowers and the trees :
Another will entice me on, and on
Through almond blossoms and rich cinpainon;
Till in the bosom of a leafy world
We rest in silence, like two gems upcurl'd
In the recesses of a pearly shell.

Upon the clouds? Has she not shown us all?
From the clear space of ether, to the small
Breath of new buds unfolding ? From the meaning
Of Jove's large eye-brow, to the tender greening
Of April mcadows? Here her altar shone,
E'er in this isle; and who could paragon
The fervid choir that lifted up a noise
Of harmony, to where it aye will poise
Its mighty self of convoluting sound,
Huge as a planet, and like that roll round,
Eternally around a dizzy void?
Ay, in those days the Muses were nigh cloy'd
With honours; por had any other care
Than to sing out and soothe their wavy hair.

And can I ever bid these joys farewell ?
Yes, I must pass them for a nobler life,
Where I may find the agonies, the strife
Of human hearts: for lo! I see afar,
O'er-sailing the blue cragginess, a car
And steeds with streamy manes—The charioteer
Looks out upon the winds with glorious fear:
And now the numerous tramplings quiver liglitly
Along a huge cloud's ridge; and now with spriglıtly
Wheel downward come they into fresher skies,
Tipt round with silver from the sun's bright cyes.
Still downward with capacious whirl they glide;
And now I see them on a green-hill side
In breezy rest among

nodding stalks.
The charioteer with wond'rous gesture talks
To the trees and mountains; and there soon appear
Shapes of delight, of mystery, and fear,
Passing along before a dusky space
Made by some mighty oaks: as they would chase
Some ever-flecting music, on they sweep.
Lo! how they murmur, laugh, and smile, and weep:
Some with upholden hand and mouth severe;
Some with their faces muffled to the ear
Between their arms; some clear in youthful bloom,
Go glad and smilingly athwart the gloom ;
Some looking back, and some with upward gaze ;
Yes, thousands in a thousand different ways
Flit onward-now a lovely wreathe of girls
Dancing their sleek hair into tangled curls;
And now broad wings. Most awfully intent
The driver of those steeds is forward bent,
And seems to listen: 0 that I might know
All that he writes with such a hurrying glow!

Could all this be forgotten? Yes, a scism
Nurtured by foppery and barbarism,
Made great Apollo blush for this bis land.
Men were thought wise who could not understand
His glories: with a puling infant's force
They sway'd about upon a rocking-horse,
And thought it Pegasus. Ah, dismal-soul'd!
The winds of Heaven blew, the ocean roll'd
Its gathering waves--ye felt it not. The blue
Bared its elernal bosom, and the dew
Of summer night collected still to make
The morning precious: Beauty was awake!
Why were ye not awake? But ye were dead
To things ye knew not of, -were closely wed
To musty laws lined out with wretched rule

compass vile : so that ye taught a school
Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and fit,
Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit,
Their verses tallied. Easy was the task :
A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask
Of Poesy. Ill-fated, impious race!
That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face,
And did not know it, - no, they went about,
Holding a poor, decrepid standard out,
Mark'd with most flimsy mottos, and in large
The name of one Boileau!

The visions all are fled the car is fled
Into the light of heaven, and in their stead
A sense of real things comes doubly strong,
And, like a muddy stream, would bear along
My soul nothingness: but I will strive
Against all doubtings, and will keep alive
The thought of that same chariot, and the strange
Journey it went.

O ye whose charge It is to hover round our pleasant hills ! Whose congregated majesty so fills My boundly reverence, that I cannot trace Your hallow'd names, in this unholy place, So near those common folk; did not their shames Affright you ? Did our old lamenting Thames Delight you! did ye never cluster round Delicious Avon, with a mouruful sound, And weep? Or did ye wholly bid adieu To regions where no more the laurel grew? Or did ye stay to give a welcoming To some lone spirits who could proudly sing Their youth away, and die? 'T was even so : But let me think away those times of woe : Now 't is a fairer season ; ye have breathed Rich benedictions o'er us; ye have wreathed Fresh garlands: for sweet music has been heard lo many places; some has been upstirr'd From out its crystal dwelling in a lake, By a swan's ebon bill; from a thick brake, Nested and quiet in a valley mild, Bubbles a pipe; fine sounds are floating wild About the earth : happy arc ye and glad.

Is there so small a range In the present strength of manhood, that the high Imagination cannot freely fly As she was wont of old ? prepare lier steeds, Paw up against the light, and do strange deeds

[ocr errors]

These things are, doubtless : yet in truth we've had
Strange thunders from the potency of song;
Mingled indeed with what is sweet and strong,
From majesty: but in clear truth the themes
Are ugly cubs, the Poets' Polyphemes
Disturbing the grand sea. A drainless shower
Of light is poesy; 't is the supreme of power;
'T is might half slumb'ring on its own right arm.
The very archings of her eye-lids charm
A thousand willing agents to obey,
And still she governs with the mildest sway:
But strength alone though of the Muses born
Is like a fallen angel : trees uptorn,
Darkness, and worms, and shrouds, and sepulchres
Delight it; for it feeds upon the burrs
And thorns of life; forgetting the great end
Of poesy, that it should be a friend
To soothe the cares, and lift the thoughts of man.

The end and aim of Poesy. T is clear
As any thing most true ; as that the year
Is made of the four seasons-manifest
As a large cross, some old cathedral's crest,
Lifted to the white clouds. Therefore should I
Be but the essence of deformity,
A coward, did my very eye-lids wink
At speaking out what I have dared to think.
Ah! rather let me like a madman run
Over some precipice; let the hot sun
Melt my Dedalian wings, and drive me down
Convulsed and headlong! Stay! an inward frown
Of conscience bids me be more calm awhile.
An ocean dim, sprinkled with many an isle,
Spreads awfully before me. How much toil !
How many days ! what desperate turmoil !
Ere I can have explored its widenesses.
Ah, what a task! upon my bended knees,
I could unsay those=no, impossible

Yet I rejoice : a myrtle fairer than Eer grew in Paphos, from the bitter weeds Lifts its sweet head into the air, and feeds A silent space with ever-sprouting green. All tenderest birds there find a pleasant screen, Creep through the shade with jaunty fluttering, Nibble the little cupped flowers and sing. Then let us clear away the choking thorns From round its gentle stem; let the young fawns, Yeaned in after-limes, when we are flown, Find a fresh sward beneath it, overgrown With simple flowers : let there nothing be More boisterous than a lover's bended knee; Nought more ungentle than the placid look Of one who leans upon a closed book;, Nought more untranquil than the grassy slopes Between two hills. All hail, delightful hopes! As she was wont, th' imagination Into most lovely labyrinths will be gone, And they shall be accounted poet kings Who simply tell the most heart-easing things. O may these joys be ripe before I die!

For sweet relief I 'll dwell On humbler thoughts, and let this strange assay Begun in gentleness die so away. Een now all-tumult from my bosom fades : I turn full-hearted to the friendly aids That smooth the path of honour ; brotherhood, And friendliness, the nurse of mutual good. The hearty grasp that sends a pleasant sonnet Into the brain ere one can think upon it; The silence when some rhymes are coming out; And when they 're come, the very pleasa nt rout: The message certain to be done to-morrow, 'T is perhaps as well that it should be to borrow Some precious book from out its snug retreat, To cluster round it when we next shall meet. Scarce can I scribble on; for lovely airs Are fluttering round the room like doves in pairs; Many delights of that glad day recalling, When first my senses caught their tender falling. And with these airs come forms of elegance Stooping their shoulders o'er a horse's prance, Careless, and grand--fingers soft and round Parting luxuriant curls;—and the swift bound Of Bacchus from his chariot, when his eye Made Ariadne's cheek look blushingly. Thus I remember all the pleasant flow Of words at opening a portfolio.

Will not some say that I presumptuously Have spoken ? that from hastening disgrace 'T were better far to hide my foolish face? That whining boy-hood should with reverence bow Ere the dread thunderbolt could reach? How! If I do hide myself, it sure shall be In the very fane, the light of Poesy: If I do fall, at least I will be laid Beneath the silence of a poplar shade; And over me the grass shall be smooth shaven; And there shall be a kind memorial graven. But off, Despondence! miserable bane! They should not know thee, who athirst to gain A noble end, are thirsty every hour. What though I am not wealthy in the dower Of spanning wisdom; though I do not know The shiftings of the mighty winds that blow Hither and thither all the changing thoughts Of man: though no great ministring reason sorts Out the dark mysteries of human souls To clear conceiving: yet there ever rolls A vast idea before me, and I glean Therefrom my liberty; thence too I 've seen

Things such as these are ever harbingers
To trains of peaceful images: the stirs
Of a swan's neck unseen among the rushes :
A linnet starting all about the bushes:
A butterfly, with golden wings broad-parted,
Nestling a rose, convulsed as though it smarted
With over-pleasure-many, many more,
Might I indulge at large in all my store
Of luxuries: yet I must not forget
Sleep, quiet with his poppy coronet :
For what there may be worthy in these rhymes
I partly owe to him : and thus, the chimes
Of friendly voices had just given place
To as sweet a silence, when I'gan retrace
The pleasant day, upon a couch at ease.
It was a poet's house who keeps the keys

E’en now, dear George, while this for you I write,

Cynthia is from her silken curtains peeping So scantly, that it seems her bridal night,

And she her half-discover'd revels keeping. But what, without the social thought of thee, Would be the wonders of the sky and sea ?


Of pleasure's temple. - Round about were hung
The glorious features of the bards who sung
In other ages-cold and sacred busts
Smiled at each other. Happy he who trusts
To clear Futurity his darling fame!
Then there were fauns and satyrs taking aim
At swelling apples with a frisky leap
And reaching fingers, 'mid a luscious heap
Of vine-leaves. Then there rose to view a fane
Of liney marble, and thereto a train
Of nymphs approaching fairly o'er the sward :
One, loveliest, holding her white hand toward
The dazzling sun-rise: two sisters sweet
Bending their graceful figures till they meet
Over the trippings of a little child:
And some are hearing, eagerly, the wild
Thrilling liquidity of dewy piping.
See, in another picture, nymphs are wiping
Cherishingly Diana's timorous limbs;-
A fold of lawny mantle dabbling swims
At the bath's edge, and keeps a gentle motion
With the subsiding crystal: as when ocean
Heaves calmly its broad swelling smoothness o'er
Its rocky marge, and balances once rnore
The patient weeds; that now unshent by foam
Feel all about their undulating home.
Sappho's meek head was there half smiling down
At nothing; just as though the earnest frown
Of over-thinking had that moment gone
From off her brow, and left her all alone.

HAD I a man's fair form, then might my sighs

Be echoed swiftly through that ivory shell

Thine ear, and find thy gentle heart; so well Would passion arm me for the enterprise : But ah! I am no knight whose foeman dies;

No cuirass glistens on my bosoni's swell;

I am no happy shepherd of the dell Whose lips have trembled with a maiden's eyes. Yet must I dote upon thee, -call thee sweet,

Sweeter by far than Hybla's honey'd roses

When steep'd in dew rich to intoxication. Ah! I will taste that dew, for me 't is meet,

And when the moon her pallied face discloses, I'll gather some by spells, and incantation.



Great Alfred's too, with anxious, pitying eyes,
As if he always listen'd to the sighs
Of the goaded world; and Kosciusko's, worn
By horrid suffrance-mightily forlorn.

What though, for showing truth to flatter'd state,

Kind Hunt was shut in prison, yet has he,

In his immortal spirit, been as free
As the sky-searching lark, and as elate.
Minion of grandeur! think you he did wait?

Think you he nought but prison-walls did see,

Till, so unwilling, thou unturn’dst the key?
Ah, no! far happier, nobler was his fate!
In Spenser's halls he stray'd, and bowers fair,

Culling enchanted flowers; and he flew
With daring Milton through the fields of air:

To regions of his own his genius true Took happy flights. Who shall his fame impair

When thou art dead, and all thy wretched crew?

Petrarch, outstepping from the shady green,
Starts at the sight of Laura; nor can wean
His eyes from her sweet face. Most happy they!
For over them was seen a free display
Of out-spread wings, and from between them shone
The face of Poesy: from off her throne
She overlook'd things that I scarce could tell,
The very sense of where I was might well
Keep Sleep aloof: but more than that there came
Thought after thought to nourish up the flame
Within my breast; so that the morning light
Surprised me even from a sleepless night;
And up I rose refresh'd, and glad, and gay,
Resolving to begin that very day
These lines; and howsoever they be done,
I leave them as a father does his son.

How many bards gild the lapses of time!

A few of them have ever been the food

Of my delighted fancy,–I could brood Over their beauties, earthly, or sublime: And often, when I sit me down to rhyme,

These will in throngs before my mind intrude :

But no confusion, no disturbance rude
Do they occasion; 't is a pleasing chime.
So the unnumber'd sounds that evening store;

The songs of birds—the whisp'ring of the leavesThe voice of waters—the great bell that heaves

With solemn sound, -and thousand others more, That distance of recognizance bereaves,

Make pleasing music, and not wild uproar.



The sun,


MANY the wonders I this day have seen :

when first he kist away the tears That fill'd the eyes of Morn;--the laureld peers Who from the feathery gold of evening lean;The Ocean with its vastness, its blue green,

Its ships, its rocks, its caves, its hopes, its fears

Its voice mysterious, which whoso hears Must think on what will be, and what has been.

As late I rambled in the happy fields,

What time the sky-lark shakes the tremulous dew

From his lush clover covert;—when anew Adventurous knights take up their dinted shields:

« AnteriorContinua »