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VERSE, a breeze mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee-
Both were mine! Life went a maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,
When I was young!
When I was young ?—Ah, woful when !
Ah! for the change 'twixt now and then !
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O’er aery cliffs and glittering sands,
How lightly then it flashed along:-
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Nought cared this body for wind or weather
When Youth and I liy'd in't together.
Flowers are lovely ; Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree;
0! the joys, that came down shower-like,
Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,
Ere I was old!
Ere I was old ? Ah woful ere,
Which tells me, Youth's no longer here !
O Youth! for years so many and sweet,
'Tis known, that thou and I were one;
I'll think it but a fond conceit-
It cannot be, that thou art gone !
Thy vesper-bell hath not yet toll'd :-
And thou wert aye a masker bold !
What strange disguise hast now put on,
To make believe, that thou art gone?
I see these locks in silvery slips,
This drooping gait, this altered size:
But springtide blossoms on thy lips,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes !
Life but thought : so think I will
That Youth and I are house-mates still.
Dew-drops are the gems of morning,
But the tears of mournful eve!
Where no hope is, life's a warning
That only serves to make us grieve,
When we are old :
That only serves to makes us grieve
With oft and tedious taking-leave,
Like some poor nigh-related guest,
That may not rudely be dismist,
Yet hath outstay'd his welcome while,
And tells the jest without the smile.
THREE YEARS SHE GREW IN SUN AND
(THE EDUCATION OF NATURE.]
THREE years she grew in sun and shower,
Then Nature said, “ A lovelier flower
On earth was never sown;
This Child I to myself will take,
She shall be mine, and I will make
A Lady of my own.
Myself will to my darling be
Both law and impulse : and with me
The Girl, in rock and plain,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power
To kindle or restrain.
She shall be sportive as the fawn
That wild with glee across the lawn
Or up the mountain springs;
And her's shall be the breathing balm,
And her's the silence and the calm
Of mute insensate things.
The floating clouds their state shall lend
To her; for her the willow bend ;
Nor shall she fail to see
Even in the motion of the Storm
Grace that shall mould the Maiden's form
By silent sympathy.
The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face.
And vital feelings of delight
Shall rear her form to stately height,
Her virgin bosom swell;
Such thoughts to Lucy I will give
While she and I together live
Here in this happy dell.”
Thus Nature spake—The work was done-
How soon my Lucy's race was run!
She died, and left to me
This heath, this calm, and quiet scene;
The memory of what has been,
And never more will be.
WRITTEN IN LONDON, SEPTEMBER, 1802.
O FRIEND! I know not which way I must look
For comfort, being, as I am, opprest,
To think that now our life is only drest
For show; mean handy-work of craftsman, cook,
Or groom !- We must run glittering like a brook 5
In the open sunshine, or we are unblest:
The wealthiest man among us is the best :
No grandeur now in nature or in book
Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expense,
This is idolatry : and these we adore :
Plain living and high thinking are no more:
The homely beauty of the good old cause
Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence,
And pure religion breathing household laws.