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What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody:
Like a poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:
Like a high-born maiden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love which overflows her bower
Like a glow-worm golden
Its aërial hue
Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view:
Like a rose embowered
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves.
Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
All that ever was,
Joyous and clear and fresh,-thy music doth surpass.
Teach us, sprite or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine:
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
Or triumphal chant,
Matched with thine, would be all
But an empty vaunt
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.
What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?
With thy clear keen joyance
Languor cannot be:
Never came near thee:
Thou lovest, but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.
Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Yet, if we could scorn
Hate and pride and fear,
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.
Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!
Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know;
The world should listen then as I am listening now.
P. B. SHELLEY.
DEATH'S FINAL CONQUEST.
THE glories of our blood and state
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field,
Early or late,
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath,
The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
Upon Death's purple altar now,
See, where the victor-victim bleeds:
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb,
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.
HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM GHENT TO AIX.
I SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris, and he;
I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;
"Good speed!" cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew; Speed!" echoed the wall to us galloping through;
Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,
And into the midnight we galloped abreast.
Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace
'Twas moonset at starting; but while we drew near
And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the half chime,
At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back
By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, "Stay spur! "Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her,
We'll remember at Aix"-for one heard the quick wheeze Of her chest, saw the stretched neck and staggering knees, And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank,
As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.
So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Loos, and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
'Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubble like chaff;
"How they'll greet us!"—and all in a moment his roan
Then I cast loose my buffcoat, each holster let fall,
And all I remember is, friends flocking round
As I sate with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground,