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TO A FRIEND.
No! those days are gone away,
No, the bugle sounds no more,
On the fairest time of June You may go, with sun or moon, Or the seven stars to light you, Or the polar ray to right you; But you never may behold Little John, or Robin bold; Never one, of all the clan, Thrumming on an empty can Some old hunting ditty, while He doth his green way beguile To fair hostess Merriment, Down beside the pasture Trent; For he left the merry tale, Messenger for spicy ale.
Gone, the merry morris din; Gone, the song of Gamelyn; Gone, the tough-belted outlaw Idling in the “grené shawe;'' All are gone away and past ! And if Robin should be cast Sudden from his tufted grave, And if Marian should have Once again her forest days, She would weep, and he would craze : He would swear, for all his oaks, Fall'n beneath the dock-yard strokes, Have rotted on the briny seas; She would weep that her wild bees Sang not to her-strange! thát honey Can't be got without hard money!
So it is; yet let us sing Honour to the old bow-string ! Honour to the bugle-horn! Honour to the woods unshorn! Honour to the Lincoln green! Honour to the archer keen ! Honour to tight Little John, And the horse he rode upon ! Honour to bold Robin Hood, Sleeping in the underwood ! Honour to Maid Marian, And to all the Sherwood clan! Though their days have hurried by, Let us two a burden try.
TO MY BROTHER GEORGE.
Many the wonders I this day have seen :
The sun, when first he kist away the tears That fill'd the eyes of Morn ;—the laureld peers Who from the feathery gold of evening lean ;The Ocean with its vastness, its blue green,
Its ships, its rocks, its caves, its hopes, its fears,
Its voice mysterious, which whoso hears Must think on what will be, and what has been. E'en now, dear George, while this for you I write,
Cynthia is from her silken curtains peeping So scantly, that it seems her bridal night,
And she her half-discover'd revels keeping. But what, without the social thought of thee, Would be the wonders of the sky and sea ?
Had I a man's fair form, then might my sighs
Be echoed swiftly through that ivory shell
Thine ear, and find thy gentle heart ; so well
No cuirass glistens on my bosom's swell ;
Sweeter by far than Hybla's honey'd roses
And when the moon her pallid face discloses,
O SOLITUDE! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings : climb with me the steep-
May seem a span ; let me thy vigils keep
'Mongst boughs pavilion’d, where the deer's swift leap Startles the wild bee from the foxglove 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,
Is my soul's pleasure ; and it sure must be Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.
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
The songs of birds—the whispering of the leaves-
With solemn sound,—and thousand others more, That distance of recognizance bereaves,
Make pleasing music, and not wild uproar.
TO A FRIEND WHO SENT ME SOME ROSES. As late I rambled in the happy fields,
What time the skylark shakes the tremulous dew
From his lush clover covert ;-when anew Adventurous knights take up their dinted shields : I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields,
A fresh-blown musk-rose; 't was the first that threw
Its sweets upon the summer : graceful it grew As is the wand that queen Titania wields.
And, as I feasted on its fragrancy,
I thought the garden-rose it far excell'd ; But when, o Wells ! thy roses came to me, My sense
with their deliciousness was spellid : Soft voices had they, that with tender plea .Whisper'd of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquell’d.
TO G. A. W.
Nymph of the downward smile and sidelong glance !
In what diviner moments of the day
Art thou most lovely? when gone far astray
Of sober thought? Or when starting away,
With careless robe to meet the morning ray,
And so remain, because thou listenest :
That I can never tell what mood is best,
Trips it before Apollo than the rest.
WRITTEN ON THE DAY THAT MR. LEIGH HUNT LEFT PRISON.
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
Think you he nought but prison-walls did see,
Till, so unwilling, thou unturn’dst the key ?
Culling enchanted flowers ; and he flew
To regions of his own his genius true
When thou art dead, and all thy wretched crew ?