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ls emptied of this folk, this pious morn? And, little town, thy streets for evermore Will silent be; and not a soul to tell Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.
5. O Attic shapel Fair attitude! with brede Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed; Thou, silent form ' dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, • Beauty is truth, truth beauty,”—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
O Gonness! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung
By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear,
And pardon that thy secrets should be sung,
Even into thine own soft-couched ear:
Surely I dream t to-day, or did I see
The winged Psyche with awaken'd eyes?
I wander'd in a forest thoughtlessly,
And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise,
Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side
In deepest grass, beneath the whisp'ring roof
Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran
A brooklet, scarce espied :
"Mid hush'd, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed,
Blue, silver--white, and budded Tyrian,
They lay calm-breathing on the bedded grass;
Their arms e-mbraced, and their pinions too;
Their lips to-uch'd not, but had not bade adieu,
As if disjoined by soft-handed slumber,
And ready still past kisses to outnumber
At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love :
The winged boy I knew ;
But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove
His Psyche true !
O latest-born and loveliest vision far
Of all Olympus’ faded hierarchy!
Fairer than Phoebe's sapphire-region'd star,
Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;
Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,
Nor altar heap'd with flowers;
Nor virgin-choir to make delicious moan
Upon the midnight hours;
No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet
From chain-swung censer teeming;
No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.
O brightest! though too late for antique vows,
Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
When holy were the haunted forest boughs,
Holy the air, the water, and the fire;
Yet even in these days so far retired
From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,
Fluttering among the faint Olympians,
I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspired.
So let me be thy choir, and make a moan
Upon the midnight hours;
Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet
From swinged censer teeming;
Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.
Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane
In some untrodden region of my mind,
Where branched thoughts, new-grown with pleasant
Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind:
Far, far around shall those dark-cluster'd trees
Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep;
And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,
The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull'd to sleep;
And in the midst of this wide quietness -
A rosy sanctuary will I dress
With the wreath'd trellis of a working brain,
With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,
With all the gardener Fancy e'er could feign,
Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same:
And there shall be for thee all soft delight
That shadowy thought can win,
A bright torch, and a casement ope at night,
To let the warm Love in
Even let the Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home:
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;
Then let winged Fancy wander
Through the thought still spread beyond her:
Open wide the mind's cage-door,
She 'll dart forth, and cloudward soar.
O sweet Fancy' let her loose;
Summer's joys are spoilt by use,
And the enjoying of the Spring
Fades as does its blossoming;
Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too,
Blushing through the mist and dew,
Cloys with tasting: What do then
Sit thee by the ingle, when
The scar faggot blazes bright,
Spirit of a winter's night;
When the soundless earth is muffled,
And the caked snow is shuffled
From the ploughboy's heavy shoon;
When the Night doth meet the Noon
In a dark conspiracy
Tobanish Even from her sky.
Sit thee there, and send abroad,
With a mind self-overawed,
Fancy, high-commission'd :-send her!
She has vassals to attend her :
She will bring, in spite of frost,
Beauties that the earth hath lest;
She will bring thee, all together,
All delights of summer weather;
All the buds and bells of May,
From dewy sward or thorny spray;
All the heaped Autumn's wealth,
With a still, mysterious stealth:
She will mix these pleasures up
Like three fit wines in a cup,
And thou shalt quaff it:—thou shalt hear Distant harvest-carols clear; Rustle of the reaped corn; Sweet birds antheming the morn: And, in the same moment—hark! "T is the early April lark, Or the rooks, with busy caw, Foraging for sticks and straw. Thou shalt, at one glance, behold The daisy and the marigold; White-plumed lilies, and the first Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst; Shaded hyacinth, alway Sapphire queen of the mid-May; And every leaf, and every slower Pearl'd with the self-same shower. Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep Meagre from its celled sleep; And the snake all winter-thin Cast on sunny bank its skin; Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt sce Hatching in the hawthorn-tree, When the hen-bird's wing doth rest Quiet on her mossy nest; Then the hurry and alarm When the bee-hive casts its swarm ; Acorns ripe down-pattering, While the autumn breezes sing.
Oh, sweet Fancy! let her loose; Every thing is spoilt by use : Where's the cheek that doth not fade, Too much gazed at Where's the maid Whose lip mature is ever new : Where's the eye, however blue, Doth not weary Where's the face One would meet in every place? Where 's the voice, however soft, One would hear so very ost? At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth Like to bubbles when rain pelteth. Let, then, winged Fancy find Thee a mistress to thy mind: Dulcet-eyed as Ceres' daughter, Ere the God of Torment taught her How to frown and how to chide; With a waist and with a side White as Hebe's, when her zone Slipt its golden clasp, and down Fell her kirtle to her feet, While she held the goblet sweet, And Jove grew languid.—Break the mesh Of the Fancy's silken leash; Quickly break her prison-string, And such joys as these she'll bring.— Let the winged Fancy roam, Pleasure never is at home.
BARDs of Passion and of Alirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Have ye souls in heaven too,
Double-lived in regions new *
Yes, and those of heaven commune
With the spheres of sun and moon;
What is more gentle than a wind in summer?
What is more soothing than the pretty hummer
That stays one moment in an open flower,
And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?
What is more tranquil than a musk-rose blowing
In a green island, far from all men's knowing
More healthful than the leafiness of dales 1
More secret than a nest of nightingales?
More serene than Cordelia's countenance?
More full of visions than a high romance?
What, but thee, Sleep? Soft closer of our eyes!
Low murmurer of tender lullabies!
Light hoverer around our happy pillows!
Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows!
Silent entangler of a beauty's tresses!
Most happy listener! when the morning blesses
Thee for enlivening all the cheerful eyes
That glance so brightly at the new sun-rise.
But what is higher beyond thought than thee?
Fresher than berries of a mountain-tree?
More strange, more beautiful, more smooth, more regal,
Than wings of swans, than doves, than dim-seen eagle?
What is it? And to what shall I compare it?
It has a glory, and nought else can share it:
The thought thereof is awful, sweet, and holy,
Chasing away all worldliness and folly:
Coming sometimes like fearful claps of thunder;
Or the low rumblings earth's regions under;
And sometimes like a gentle whispering
Of all the secrets of some wondrous thing
That breathes about us in the vacant air;
So that we look around with prying stare,
Perhaps to see shapes of light, aerial lymnings
And catch soft floatings from a faint-heard hymning;
To see the laurel wreath, on high suspended,
That is to crown our name when life is ended.
Sometimes it gives a glory to the voice,
And from the heart up-springs, rejoice! rejoice!
Sounds which will reach the Framer of all things,
And die away in ardent mutterings.
No one who once the glorious sun has seen, And all the clouds, and felt his bosom clean
For his great Maker's presence, but must know
What "t is I mean, and feel his being glow:
Therefore no insult will I give his spirit,
By telling what he sees from native merit.
0 Poesy' for thee I hold my pen,
That am not yet a glorious denizen
Of thy wide heaven—should I rather kneel
Upon some mountain-top until I feel
A glowing splendour round about me 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
Of flowering bays, that I may die a death
Of luxury, and my young spirit follow
The morning sun-beams to the great Apollo,
Like a fresh sacrifice; or, if I can bear
The o'erwhelming sweets, 't will bring to me the fir
Visions of all places: a bowery nook
Will be elysium—an eternal book
Whence 1 may copy many a lovely saving
About the leaves, and flowers—about the plavior
Of nymphs in woods, and fountains; and the sho
Keeping a silence round a sleeping maid;
And many a verse from so strange influence
That we must ever wonder how, and whence
It came. Also imaginings will hover
Round my fire-side, and haply there discover
Vistas of solemn beauty, where I'd wander
In happy silence, like the clear Meander
Through its lone vales; and where 1 found a pot
Of awfuller shade, or an enchanted grot,
Or a green hill o'erspread with chequer'd drew
Of flowers, and fearful from its loveliness,
Write on my tablets all that was permitted,
All that was for our human senses fitted.
Then the events of this wide world I'd seize
Like a strong giant, and my spirit tease
Till at its shoulders it should proudly see
Wings to find out an immortality.
Catch the white-handed nymphs in shady places,
To woo sweet kisses from averted faces,—
Play with their fingers, touch their shoulders white
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 lame dove how it best
May fan the cool air gently oer 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 cinnamon;
Till in the bosom of a leafy world
We rest in silence, like two gems upcurl’d
In the recesses of a pearly shell.
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 lightly
Along a huge cloud's ridge; and now with sprightly
Wheel downward come they into fresher skies,
Tipt round with silver from the sun's bright eyes.
Still downward with capacious whirl they glide;
And now I see them on a green-hill side
In breezy rest among the 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: O that I might know
All that he writes with such a hurrying glow!
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 to nothingness: but I will strive
Against all doubtings, and will keep alive
The thought of that same chariot, and the strange
Journey it went.
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?
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 meadows? Here her altar shone,
Een 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 cloyd
With honours; nor had any other care
Than to sing out and soothe their wavy hair.
Could all this be forgotten? Yes, a scism
Nurtured by foppery and barbarism,
Made great Apollo blush for this his 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 eternal 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
And 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 inottos, and in large
The name of one Boileau!
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 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 : Butlet 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.