Page images
PDF
EPUB

XIV.

SONNET

ON THE LATE GENERAL FAST,

MARCH 21. 1832.

RELUCTANT call it was, the Rite delayed;
And in the senate some there were, who doffed
The last of their humanity, and scoffed
At providential judgment, — undismayed ,
By their own daring. But the People prayed
As with one voice; their flinty heart grew soft
With penitential sorrow, and aloft
Their spirit mounted, crying, God us aid!
Oh that with soul-aspirings more intense
And heart-humiliations more profound
This People, long so happy, so renowned
For liberty, would seek from God defence
Against far heavier ill — the Pestilence
Of Revolution, impiously unbound !

XV.

ODE.

INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY

CHILDHOOD.

The Child is Father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

See Vol. I. page 3.

THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight,

To me did seem

Apparelled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. It is not now as it hath been of yore;

Turn wheresoe'er I may,

By night or day, The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The Rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the Rose,

The Moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;

Waters on a starry night

Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;

But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the Birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young Lambs bound

As to the tabor's sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,

And I again am strong:
The Cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng,
The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep,

And all the earth is gay;

Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,

And with the heart of May
Doth every Beast keep holiday; —

Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy

Shepherd Boy!

Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call

Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,

My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel I feel it all.

Oh evil day! if I were sullen
While the Earth herself is adorning,

This sweet May-morning,
And the Children are pulling

On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,

Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm, And the Babe leaps up on his mother's arm:

I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!

- But there's a Tree, of many one, A single Field which I have looked upon, Both of them speak of something that is gone :

The Pansy at my feet

Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream ?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting :
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar :
Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home :
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close

Upon the growing Boy,
But He beholds the light, and whence it flows,

He sees it in his joy ;

The Youth, who daily farther from the East

Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,

And by the vision splendid

, Is on his way attended ; At length the Man perceives it die away, And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own; Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind, And, even with something of a Mother's mind,

And no unworthy aim,

The homely Nurse doth all she can To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man,

Forget the glories he hath known, And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years' Darling of a pigmy size!
See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his Mother's kisses,
With light upon him from his Father's eyes !
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learnèd art;

A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral ;

And this hath now his heart,

« PreviousContinue »