Imatges de pÓgina
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POEMS OF THE IMAGINATION.

I.

THERE WAS A BOY.

THERE was a Boy; ye knew him well, ye cliffs

And islands of Winander!-many a time,

At evening, when the earliest stars began
To move along the edges of the hills,
Rising or setting, would he stand alone,
Beneath the trees, or by the glimmering lake ;
And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands
Pressed closely palm to palm and to his mouth
Uplifted, he, as through an instrument,
Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls,

That they might answer him.-And they would shout
Across the watery vale, and shout again,
Responsive to his call,-with quivering peals,
And long halloos, and screams, and echoes loud
Redoubled and redoubled; concourse wild
Of jocund din! And, when there came a pause
Of silence such as baffled his best skill:
Then, sometimes, in that silence, while he hung
Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise
Has carried far into his heart the voice
Of mountain-torrents; or the visible scene
Would enter unawares into his mind
With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,

Its woods, and that uncertain heaven received
Into the bosom of the steady lake.

This boy was taken from his mates, and died
In childhood, ere he was full twelve years old.
Pre-eminent in beauty is the vale

Where he was born and bred: the church-yard hangs
Upon a slope above the village-school;

And, through that church-yard when my way has led
On summer-evenings, I believe, that there
A long half-hour together I have stood
Mute-looking at the grave in which he lies!

While I am lying on the grass

Thy twofold shout I hear,

From hill to hill it seems to pass,

At once far off, and near.

Though babbling only to the Vale,

Of sunshine and of flowers,
Thou bringest unto me a tale

Of visionary hours.

Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring! Even yet thou art to me

No bird, but an invisible thing,

A voice, a mystery;

The same whom in my school-boy days

I listened to; that Cry

Which made me look a thousand ways In bush, and tree, and sky.

To seek thee did I often rove Through woods and on the green; And thou wert still a hope, a love; Still longed for, never seen.

And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again.

O blessed Bird! the earth we pace
Again appears to be

An unsubstantial, faery place;
That is fit home for Thee!

1804.

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Chequering the ground-from rock, plant, tree, or

tower.

At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam

Startles the pensive traveller while he treads

His lonesome path, with unobserving eye

To Scotland's heaths; or those that crossed the sea
And drew their sounding bows at Azincour,
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers.
Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary Tree! a living thing

Bent earthwards; he looks up-the clouds are split Produced too slowly ever to decay;

Asunder, and above his head he sees

The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black-blue vault she sails along,

Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small

And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives: how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not!-the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent;-still they roll along
Immeasurably distant; and the vault,

Of form and aspect too magnificent

To be destroyed. But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal Four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
Huge trunks! and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine

Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved;
Nor uninformed with Phantasy, and looks
That threaten the profane ;-a pillared shade,

Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds, Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,

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From the brook's margin, wide around, the trees
Are stedfast as the rocks; the brook itself,
Old as the hills that feed it from afar,
Doth rather deepen than disturb the calm
Where all things else are still and motionless.
And yet, even now, a little breeze, perchance
Escaped from boisterous winds that rage without,
Has entered, by the sturdy oaks unfelt,
But to its gentle touch how sensitive

Is the light ash! that, pendent from the brow
Of yon dim cave, in seeming silence makes
A soft eye-music of slow-waving boughs,

Powerful almost as vocal harmony

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To stay the wanderer's steps and soothe his thoughts. Tricked out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds

V.

YEW-TREES.

THERE is a Yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore:
Not loth to furnish weapons for the bands
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched

Which for that service had been husbanded,

By exhortation of my frugal Dame-
Motley accoutrement, of power to smile

At thorns, and brakes, and brambles, and, in truth,
More ragged than need was! O'er pathless rocks,
Through beds of matted fern, and tangled thickets,
Forcing my way, I came to one dear nook
Unvisited, where not a broken bough
Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign
Of devastation; but the hazels rose
Tall and erect, with tempting clusters hung,

A virgin scene !-A little while I stood,
Breathing with such suppression of the heart
As joy delights in; and, with wise restraint
Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed

The banquet ;-or beneath the trees I sate

Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played;
A temper known to those, who, after long
And weary expectation, have been blest
With sudden happiness beyond all hope.
Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves
The violets of five seasons re-appear
And fade, unseen by any human eye;
Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on
For ever; and I saw the sparkling foam,
And-with my cheek on one of those green stones
That, fleeced with moss, under the shady trees,
Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep-
I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,
In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure,
The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,

And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash

And merciless ravage: and the shady nook
Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,
Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up
Their quiet being: and, unless I now
Confound my present feelings with the past;
Ere from the mutilated bower I turned
Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
I felt a sense of pain when I beheld

The silent trees, and saw the intruding sky.-
Then, dearest Maiden, move along these shades
In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand
Touch-for there is a spirit in the woods.

VII.

THE SIMPLON PASS.

-BROOK and road

1799.

Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy Pass,
And with them did we journey several hours
At a slow step. The immeasurable height
Of woods decaying, never to be decayed,
The stationary blasts of waterfalls,
And in the narrow rent, at every turn,
Winds thwarting winds bewildered and forlorn,
The torrents shooting from the clear blue sky,
The rocks that muttered close upon our ears,
Black drizzling crags that spake by the wayside

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They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

XIII.

THE REVERIE OF POOR SUSAN.

1804.

As the Moon brightens round her the clouds of the
night,

So He, where he stands, is a centre of light;
It gleams on the face, there, of dusky-browed Jack,
And the pale-visaged Baker's, with basket on back.

That errand-bound 'Prentice was passing in haste— What matter! he's caught-and his time runs to waste;

The Newsman is stopped, though he stops on the fret;

At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight And the half-breathless Lamplighter-he's in the

appears,

Hangs a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for

three years:

Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard
In the silence of morning the song of the Bird.

"Tisa note of enchantment; what ails her? She sees A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;

net!

The Porter sits down on the weight which he bore;
The Lass with her barrow wheels hither her store ;-
If a thief could be here he might pilfer at ease;
She sees the Musician, 'tis all that she sees!

Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide, He stands, backed by the wall;-he abates not his And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.

Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale,
Down which she so often has tripped with her pail ;
And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's,
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves.

She looks, and her heart is in heaven: but they fade,
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade:
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colours have all passed away from her eyes!

1797.

din;

His hat gives him vigour, with boons dropping in,
From the old and the young, from the poorest;

and there !

The one-pennied Boy has his penny to spare.

O blest are the hearers, and proud be the hand
Of the pleasure it spreads through so thankful a

band;

I am glad for him, blind as he is!—all the while
If they speak 'tis to praise, and they praise with a

smile.

XIV.

POWER OF MUSIC.

That tall Man, a giant in bulk and in height,
Not an inch of his body is free from delight;
Can he keep himself still, if he would ? oh, not he !
The music stirs in him like wind through a tree.

tower

AN Orpheus! an Orpheus! yes, Faith may grow bold, Mark that Cripple who leans on his crutch; like a
And take to herself all the wonders of old ;-
Near the stately Pantheon you'll meet with the same
In the street that from Oxford hath borrowed its

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