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Now I direct my eyes into the West,
Which at this moment is in sun-beams drest:
Why westward turn? T was but to say adieu !
‘Twas but to kiss my hand, dear George, to you! August, 1816.
to chatairs Cowdex clanke.
Oft have you seen a swan superbly frowning,
By this, friend Charles, you may full plainly see Why I have never pennd a line to thee: Because my thoughts were never free, and clear, And little fit to please a classic ear; Because my wine was of too poor a savour For one whose palate gladdens in the flavour Of sparkling l'elicon :-small good it were To take him to a desert rude and bare, Who had on Baiae's shore reclined at ease, While Tasso's page was floating in a breeze That gave soft music from Armida's bowers, Mingled with fragrance from her rarest flowers: Small good to one who had by Mulla's stream Fondled the maidens with the breasts of cream; who had beheld Belphoebe in a brook, And lovely Una in a leafy nook, And Archimago leaning o'er his book: Who had of all that 's sweet tasted, and seen, From silv’ry ripple, up to beauty's queen; From the sequester'd haunts of gay Titania, to the blue dwelling of divine Urania: One, who, of late had ta'en sweet forest walks with him who elegantly chats and talks— The wrong'd Libertas—who has told you stories Of laurel chaplets, and Apollo's glories; Of troops chivalrous prancing through a city, And tearful ladies, made for love and pity: With many else which I have never known. Thus have I thought; and days on days have flown Slowly, or rapidly—unwilling still For you to try my dull, unlearned quill. Nor should I now, but that I've known you long; That you first taught me all the sweets of song: The grand, the sweet, the terse, the free, the fine: What swell'd with pathos, and what right divine:
, Spenserian vowels that elope with ease, And toat along like birds o'er summer seas:
Miltonian storms, and more, Miltonian tendermes: Michael in arms, and more, meek Eve's fair sleddons Who read for me the sonnet swelling loudly Up to its climax, and then dying proudly: Who found for me the grandeur of the ode, Growing, like Atlas, stronger from its load: Who let me taste that more than cordial dram, The sharp, the rapier-pointed epigram? Showd me that epic was of all the king, itound, vast, and spanning all, like Saturn's ring' You too upheld the veil from Clio’s beauty, And pointed out the patriot's stern duty; The might of Alfred, and the shaft of Tell; The hand of Brutus, that so grandly fell Upon a tyrant's head. Ah! had I never seen, Or known your kindness, what might I have bea’ What my enjoyments in my youthful years, Bereft of all that now my life endears? And can I eer these benefits forget: And can I eer repay the friendly debt? No, doubly no;—yet should these rhymings please, I shall roll on the grass with two-fold ease; For I have long time been my fancy feeding With hopes that you would one day think the rain; Of my rough verses not an hour mispent; Should it e'er be so, what a rich content! Some weeks have pass'd since last I saw the spires In lucent Thames reflected:—warm desires To see the sun o'er-peep the eastern dimness, And morning-shadows streaking into slimness Across the lawny fields, and pebbly water; To mark the time as they grow broad and shorter: To feel the air that plays about the hills, And sips its freshness from the little rills; To see high, golden corn wave in the light When Cynthia smiles upon a summer's night, And peers among the cloudlets, jet and white, As though she were reclining in a bed Of bean-blossoms, in heaven freshly shed. No sooner had I stepp'd into these pleasures Than 1 began to think of rhymes and measures; The air that floated by me seem'd to say • Writes thou wilt never have a better day." And so I did. When many lines I d written, Though with their grace I was not oversmitten, Yet, as my hand was warm, I thought I'd beuer Trust to my feelings, and write you a letter. Such an attempt required an inspiration Of a peculiar sort, a consummation — Which, had I felt, these scribblings might have be" Verses from which the soul would never wean; But many days have past since last my heart Was warm'd luxuriously by divine Mozart; By Arne delighted, or by Handel maddend; Or by the song of Erin pierced and sadden'd: What time you were before the music sitting, And the rich notes to each sensation fitting. Since I have walk'd with you through shady lanés That freshly terminate in open plains, And revell'd in a chat that ceased not, When, at night-fall, among your books we got; No, nor when supper came, nor after that... Nor when reluctantly I took my hat;
Catch the white-handed nymphs in shady places,
And can I ever bid these joys farewell?
Lo! how they murmur, laugh, and smile, and weep:
Some with upholden hand and mouth severe;
The visions all are fled—the car is fled
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 her steeds, Paw up against the light, and do strange deeds
Upon the clouds? Has she not shown us all?
Could all this be forgotten? Yes, a scism
O ye whose charge It is to hover round our pleasant hills! Whose contregated 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 mournful 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 In 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 are ye and glad.
On this scroll thou seest written in characters fair
And, warrior, it nurtures the property rare
This canopy mark: "t is the work of a fay;
When lovely Titania was far, far away,
There, oft would he bring from his soft-sighing lute Wild strains to which, spell-bound, the nightingales listen’d 1 The wondering spirits of Heaven were mute, And tears 'mong the dew-drops of morning oft glisten’d.
In this little dome, all those melodies strange,
Noreer will the notes from their tenderness change,
So when I am in a voluptuous vein,
And list to the tale of the wreath, and the chain,
Adieu! valiant Erics with joy thou art crown'd,
I too have my blisses, which richly abound
TO -. o HAost thou lived in days of old, O what wonders had been told Of thy lively countenance, And thy humid eyes, that dance In the midst of their own brightness, In the very fane of lightness; Over which thine eyebrows, leaning, Picture out each lovely meaning: In a dainty bend they lie, Like to streaks across the sky, Or the feathers from a crow, Fallen on a bed of snow. Of thy dark hair, that extends Into many graceful bends: As the leaves of hellebore Turn to whence they sprung before. And behind each ample curl Peeps the richness of a pearl. Downward too flows many a tress With a glossy waviness, Full, and round like globes that rise From the censer to the skies Through sunny air. Add too, the sweetness Of thy honied voice; the neatness Of thine ancle lightly turn'd : With those beauties scarce discern'd, Kept with such sweet privacy, That they seldom meet the eye Of the little Loves that fly Round about with eager pry. Saving when with freshening lave, Thou dipp'st them in the taintless wave;
Like twin water-lilies, born
When by my solitary hearth I sit,
Whene'er I wander, at the fall of night,
Should Disappointment, parent of Despair, Strive for her son to seize my careless heart When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air, Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart : Chase him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright, And fright him, as the morning frightens night!
Whene'er the fate of those I hold most dear
Should e'er unhappy love my bosom pain,
In the long vista of the years to roll,
Let me not see the patriot's high bequest,
And as, in sparkling majesty, a star
IMITATION OF SPENSER.
Now Morning from her orient chamber came, And her first footsteps touch'd a verdant hill: Crowning its lawny crest with amber flame, Silvering the untainted gushes of its rill ; Which, pure from mossy beds, did down distil, And, after parting beds of simple flowers, By many streams a little lake did fill, which round its marge reflected woven bowers, And, in its middle space, a sky that never lowers.
There the kingfisher saw his plumage bright, Vyeing with fish of brilliant dye below ; Whose silken fins' and golden scales' light Cast upward, through the waves, a ruby glow: There saw the swan his neck of arched snow, And oar'd himself along with majesty; Sparkled his jetty eyes; his feet did show Beneath the waves like Afric's ebony, And on his back a fay reclined voluptuously.
Ah! could I tell the wonders of an isle That in that fairest lake had placed been, I could een Dido of her grief beguile; Or rob from aged Lear his bitter teen : For sure so fair a place was never seen Of all that ever charm'd romantic eye: It seem’d an emerald in the silver sheen Of the bright waters; or as when on high, Through clouds of fleecy white, laughs the coerulean sky.
And all around it dipp'd luxuriously Slopings of verdure through the glossy tide, which, as it were in gentle amity, Rippled delighted up the flowery side;
As if to glean the ruddy tears it tried, Which fell profusely from the rose-tree stem? Haply it was the workings of its pride, • In strife to throw upon the shore a gem
Outvyeing all the buds in Flora's diadem. - - - -
-Wom AN' when I behold thee slippant, vain, Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies; Without that modest softening that enhances The downcast eye, repentant of the pain That its mild light creates to heal again; Een then, elate, my spirit leaps and prances, Een then my soul with exultation dances For that to love, so long, I've dormant lain: But when I see thee meek, and kind, and tender, Heavens' how desperately do I adore Thy winning graces;–to be thy defender I hotly burn—to be a Calidore— A very Red Cross Knight—a stout Leander— Might I be loved by thee like these of yore.
Light feet, dark violet eyes, and parted hair;
Ah! who can e'er forget so fair a being?
ODE TO A NIGHTING ALE.
I . My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 'T is not through envy of thy happy lot, But being too happy in thy happiness, That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees, In some melodious plot Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, Singest of summer in full-throated ease.