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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 oer 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 more
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.
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.
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 1 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.
sonnets. To - another Grotter.
Many the wonders I this day have seen :
The sun, when first he kist away the tears
that filrd the eyes of Morn;-the laurel'd peers
who from the feathery gold of evening lean;–
The ocean with its vastne-, its blue green,
It-ships, its rocks, its caves, its hopes, its fears,
Its voice mysterious, which whoso hears
Mu-tank on what will be, and what has been.
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, not 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 slights, who shall his fame impair
when thou art dead, and all thy wretched crew?
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 whispring of the leaves-
The 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.
Nymph of the downward smile, and sidelong glance:
In what diviner moments of the day
Art thou most lovely; when gone far astray
Into the labyrinths of sweet utterance?
Or when serenely wand'ring in a trance
Of sober thought? Or when starting away,
With careless robe to meet the morning ray,
Thou sparest the flowers in thy many dance? -
Haply "t is when thy ruby lips part sweetly,
And so remain, because thou listenest:
But thou to please wert nurtured so completely
That I can never tell what mood is best,
I shall as soon pronounce which Grace more neatly
Trips it before Apollo than the rest.
O Solitude : if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep,
Nature's observatory—whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
'Mongst boughs pavilion'd, where the deer's swiftleap,
Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refined,
ls my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.
SMAll, busy flames play through the fresh-laid coals,
And their faint cracklings o'er our silence creep
Like whispers of the household gods that keep
A gentle empire o'er fraternal souls.
And while, for rhymes, I search around the poles,
Your eyes are fix'd, as in poetic sleep,
Upon the lore so voluble and deep,
That aye at fail of night our care condoles.
This is your birth-day, Tom, and I rejoice
That thus it passes smoothly, quietly,
Many such eves of gently whisp ring noise
May we together pass, and calmly try
What are this world's true joys, ere the great Voice,
From its fair face shall bid our spirits sly.
Keen fitful gusts are whispering here and there
Among the bushes, half leafless and dry;
The stars look very cold about the sky,
And I have many miles on foot to fare.
Yet feel 1 little of the cool bleak air,
Or of the dead leaves rustling drearily.
Or of those silver lamps that burn on high,
Or of the distance from home's pleasant lair:
For I am brimfull of the friendliness
That in a little cottage I have found;
Of fair-hair'd Milton's eloquent distress,
And all his love for gentle Lycid drown'd;
Of lovely Laura in her light green dress,
And faithful Petrarch gloriously crown'd.
To one who has been long in city pent,
'T is very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven, to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
Who is more happy, when, with heart's content,
Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
And gentle tale of love and languishment?
Returning home at evening, with an ear
Catching the notes of Philomel, -an eye
Watching the sailing cloudlet's bright career,
He mourns that day so soon has glided by :
Een like the passage of an angel's tear
That falls through the clear ether silently.
oN first Lookixg INTo chapviaN's howra
Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold.
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had Î been told
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne:
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold :
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eves
He stared at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
Give me a golden pen, and let me lean
On heap'd up towers, in regions clear, and far;
Bring me a tablet whiter than a star,
Or hand of hymning angel, when 't is seen
The silver strings of heavenly harp atween:
And let there glide by many a pearly car,
Pink robes, and wavy hair, and diamond jar,
And half-discover'd wings, and glances keen.
The while let music wander round my ears,
And as it reaches each delicious ending,
Let me write down a line of glorious tone,
And full of unany wonders of the spheres:
For what a height my spirit is contending !
T is not content so soon to be alone.
Tur poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead:
That is the grasshopper's—he takes the lead
In summer luxury, -he has never done
With his delights, for when tired out with fun,
Ile rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warinth increasing ever,
And seerns to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.
It tells me too, that on a happy day,
When some good spirit walks upon the earth,
Thy name with Alfred's, and the great of yore,
Gently commingling, gives tremendous birth
To a loud hymn, that sounds far, far away
To where the great God lives for evermore.
II appy is England! I could be content
To see no other verdure than its own ;
To feel no other breezes than are blown
Through its tall woods with high romances blent:
Yet do I sometimes fell a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
And half forget what world or worldling meant.
Ilappy is England, sweet her artless daughters;
Enough their simple loveliness for me,
Fnough their whitest arms in silence clinging:
Yet do I often warmly burn to see
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing,
And float with them about the summer waters.
Four Seasons fill the measure of the year;
There are four seasons in the mind of man :
He has his lustv Spring, when fancy clear
Takes in all beauty with an easy span:
He has his Summer, when luxuriously
Spring's honev'd cud of youthful thought he loves
To ruminate, and by such dreaming nigh
Is nearest unto heaven: quiet coves
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
Ile furleth close; contented so to look
On mists in idleness—to let fair things
Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.
He has his Winter too of pale misfeature,
Or else he would forego his mortal nature.
ox. A picturne of LeANdran.
Cows hither all sweet maidens soberly,
Down-looking aye, and with a chasten’d light,
hid in the fringes of your eye-lids white,
And meekly let your fair hands joined be,
As if so gentle that ye could not see,
Untouch'd, a victim of your beauty bright,
Sinking away to his young spirits night,
Sinking bewilder'd 'mid the dreary sea:
'T is young Leander toiling to his death:
Nich swooning, he doth purse his weary lips
For Hero's check, and smiles against her simile.
0 horrid dream! see how his body dips
Dead-heavy; arms and shoulders gleam awhile.
he's gone; up bubbles all his amorous breath!
Swser are the pleasures that to verse belong, And doubly sweet a brotherhood in song; Nor can remembrance, Mathew! bring to view A fate more pleasing, a delight more true Than that in which the brother poets joy'd, Who, with combined powers, their wit employ'd To raise a trophy to the drama's muses. The thought of this great partnership diffuses Over the genius-loving heart, a feeling Of all that's high, and great, and good, and healing. Too partial friend! fain would I follow thee Past each horizon of fine poesy; Fain would I echo back each pleasant note As o'er Sicilian seas, clear anthems float 'Mong the light skimming gondolas far parted, Just when the sun his farewell beam has darted: But 'tis impossible; far different cares Beckon me sternly from soft «Lydian airs,” And hold my faculties so long in thrall, That I am oft in doubt whether at all I shall again see Phoebus in the morning: Or slush’d Aurora in the roseate dawning! Or a white Naiad in a rippling stream; or a rapt seraph in a moonlight beam; Or again witness what with thee I've seen, The dew by fairy feet swept from the green, After a night of some quaint jubilee which every elf and fay had come to see: When bright processions took their airy march Beneath the curved moon's triumphal arch.
But might I now each passing moment give
To the coy muse, with me she would not live
In this dark city, nor would condescend
"Mid contradictions her delights to lend.
Should e'er the fine-eyed maid to me be kind,
Ah! surely it must be whene'er I find
Some flowery spot, sequesterd, wild, romantic,
That often must have seen a poet frantic;
Where oaks, that erst the Druid knew, are growing,
And flowers, the glory of one day, are blowing;
Where the dark-leaved laburnum's drooping clusters
Reflect athwart the stream their yellow lustres,
And intertwined the cassia's arms unite,
With its own drooping buds, but very white.
where on one side are covert branches hung.
'Mong which the nightingales have always sung
In leafy quiet; where to pry, aloof
Atween the pillars of the sylvan roof,
Would be to find where violet beds were nestling.
And where the bee with cowslip bells was wrestline.
There must be too a ruin dark, and gloomy.
To say “joy not too much in all that's bloomy-
Yet this is vain—O Mathew! lend thy aid to find a place where I may greet the maidWhere we may soft humanity put on, And sit, and rhyme, and think on Chatterton; And that warm-hearted Shakespeare sent to meet him Four laurell'd spirits, heavenward to entreat him. With reverence would we speak of all the sages Who have left streaks of light athwart their ages A. thou shouldst moralize on Milton's blindness, nd mourn the fearful dearth of human kindness To those who strove with the bright golden wing Of genius, to flap away each sting Thrown by the pitiless world. We next could te: Of those who in the cause of freedom fell; Of our own Alfred, of Helvetian Tell; Of him whose name to every heart's a solace, High-minded and unbending William Wallace. While to the rugged north our musing turns We well might drop a tear for him, and Burns. Felton! without incitements such as these, How vain for me the niggard Muse to tease: For thee, she will thy every dwelling grace, And make - a sun-shine in a shady place:For thou wast once a slowret blooming wild. Close to the source, bright, pure, and undefiled Whence gush the streams of song: in happy hour Came chaste Diana from her shady bower, Just as the sun was from the east uprising: And, as for him some gift she was devising, Beheld thee, pluck'd thee, cast thee in the stream To meet her glorious brother's greeting beam I marvel much that thou hast never told How, from a flower, into a fish of gold Apollo changed thee: how thou next didst seen A black-eyed swan upon the widening stream; And when thou first didst in that mirror trace The placid features of a human face: That thou hast never told thy travels strange, And all the wonders of the mary range O'er pebbly chrystal, and o'er golden sands; Kissing thy daily food from Naiad's pearly hands. November, 1815.
Full many a dreary hour have I past,
My brain bewilder'd, and my mind o'ercast
With heaviness; in seasons when I’ve thought
No sphery strains by me could eer be caught
From the blue dome, though I to dimness gaze
On the far depth where sheeted lightning plays;
Or, on the wavy grass outstretch'd supinely,
Pry 'mong the stars, to strive to think divinely:
That I should never hear Apollo's song, -
Though feathery clouds were floating all along
| The purple west, and, two bright streaks between, The golden lyre itself were dimly seen:
| That the still murmur of the honey-bee
Would never teach a rural song to me:
That the bright glance from beauty's eyelids slanting
Would never make a lay of mine enchanting,
! 0r warm my breast with ardour to unfold
Some tale of love and arms in time of old.
But there are times, when those that love the bay, Fly from all sorrowing far, far away; | A sudden glow comes on them, nought they see | In water, earth, or air, but poesy. | lt has been said, dear George, and true I hold it, (For knightly Spenser to Libertas told it), | That when a Poet is in such a trance, In air he sees white coursers paw and prance, Bestridden of gay knights, in tay apparel, who at each other tilt in playful quarrel; And what we, ignorantly, sheet-lightning call, Is the swift opening of their wide portal, when the bright warder blows his trumpet clear, Whose tones reach nought on earth but poet's ear. when these enchanted portals open wide, And through the light the horsemen swiftly glide, | The Poet's eye can reach those golden halls, And view the glory of their festivals: Their ladies fair, that in the distance seem Fit for the silv ring of a seraph's dream; Their rich brimm'd goblets, that incessant run, Like the bright spots that move about the sun; And when upheld, the wine from each bright jar Pours with the lustre of a falling star. Yet further off, are dimly seen their bowers, of which no mortal eve can reach the flowers; And t is right just, for well Apollo knows T would make the Poet quarrel with the rose. All that 's reveal d from that far seat of blisses, ls, the clear fountains interchanging kisses, As gracefully descending, light and thin, Like silver streaks across a dolphin's fin, When he upswimmeth from the coral caves, And sports with half his tail above the waves.
These wonders strange he sees, and many more, whose head is pregnant with poetic lore: Should he upon an evening ramble fare With forehead to the soothing breezes bare, would he nought see but the dark, silent blue, With all its diamonds trembling through and through or the coy moon, when in the waviness of whitest clouds she does her beauty dress, And staidly paces higher up, and higher, Like a sweet nun in holidav attire? Ah, yes! much more would start into his sight— The revelries, and nysteries of night:
And should I ever see them, I will tell you
Such tales as needs must with amazement spell you.
These aye the living pleasures of the bard: but richer far posterity's award. What does he murmur with his latest breath, While his proud eye looks through the film of death." • What though I leave this dull, and earthly mould, Yet shall my spirit lofty converse hold
With after times.—The patriot shall feel My stern alarum, and unsheath his steel; | Or in the senate thunder out my numbers, To startle princes from their easy slumbers. The sage will mingle with each moral theme My happy thoughts sententious: he will teem with lofty periods when my verses fire him, | And then I ll stoop from heaven to inspire him. Lays have I left of such a dear delight That maids will sing them on their bridal-night. | Gay villagers, upon a morn of May, when they have tired their gentle limbs with play, | And form'd a snowy circle on the grass, | And placed in midst of all that lovely lass Who chosen is their queen, with her fine head Crown'd with flowers purple, white, and red: For there the lily, and the musk-rose, sighing, Are emblems true of hapless lovers dying: Between her breasts, that never yet felt trouble, A bunch of violets full blown, and double, Serenely sleep:-she from a casket takes A little book, -and then a joy awakes About each youthful heart, -with stilled cries, And rubbing of white hands, and sparkling eyes: For she's to read a tale of hopes, and fears, One that I foster'd in mv Youthful years: The pearls, that on each glistening circlet sleep, Gush ever and anon with silent creep, Lured by the innocent dimples. To sweet rest Shall the dear babe, upon its mother's breast, Be lull'd with songs of mine. Fair world, adieu ! Thy dales, and hills, are fading from my view: Swiftly I mount, upon wide-spreading pinions, Far from the narrow bounds of thy dominions. Fulljoy I feel, while thus I cleave the air, That my soft verse will charm thv daughters fair,
Could I, at once, my mad ambition smother,
For tasting joys like these, sure I should be
Happier, and dearer to society.
At times, "t is true, I've felt relief from pain
When some bright thought has darted through my brain.
Through all that day I've felt a greater pleasure
Than if I had brought to light a hidden treasure.
As to my sonnets, though none else should heed them,
I feel delighted, still, that you should read them.
Of late, too, I have had much calm enjoyment,
Stretch'd on the grass at my best loved employment
Of scribbling lines for you. These things I thought
while, in my face, the freshest breeze I caught.
Fen now, I am pollow'd on a bed of flowers
That crowns a lofty cliff, which proudly towers
Above the ocean waves. The stalks, and blades,
Chequer my tablet with their quivering shades
On one side is a field of drooping oats,
Through which the poppies show their scarlet coats,
So pert and useless, that they bring to mind
The scarlet coats that pester human-kind.
And on the other side, outspread, is seen
Ocean's blue mantle, streak'd with purple and green;
Now 'tis I see a canvass'd ship, and now
Mark the bright silver curling round her prow.
I see the lark down-dropping to his nest.
And the broad-wing'd sea-gull never at rest;
For when no more he spreads his feathers free,
His breast is dancing on the restless sea.
And warm thy sons'. Ah, my dear friend and brother,