Page images
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Hall, Twilight, sovereign of one peaceful hour!
Not dull art Thou as undiscerning Night;
dut studious only to remove from sight
Day's mutable distinctions.—Ancient Power!
Thus did the waters gleam, the mountains lower,
To the rude Briton, when, in wolf-skin vest
Here roving wild, he laid him down to rest
On the bare rock, or through a leafy bower
Looked ere his eyes were closed. By him was seen
The self-same Vision which we now behold,
At thy meek bidding, shadowy Power! brought forth;
These mighty barriers, and the gulf between;
The floods,-the stars, a spectacle as old
As the beginning of the heavens and earth!


with how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the sky,
How silently, and with how wan a face!"
where art thou? Thou whom I have seen on high
Running among the clouds a wood-nymph's race!
Unhappy Nuns, whose common breath 's a sigh
which they would stille, move at such a pace!
The northern Wind, to call thee to the chase,
Must blow to-night his bugle horn. Had I
The power of Merlin, Goddess! this should be:
And the keen Stars, fast as the clouds were riven,
Should sally forth, an emulous Company,
Sparkling, and hurrying through the clear blue heaven;
But, Cynthia' should to thee the palm be given,
Queen both for beauty and for majesty.

Even as a dragon's eye that feels the stress
Of a bedimming sleep, or as a lamp
Suddenly glaring through sepulchral damp,
So burns yon Taper mid a black recess
of mountains, silent, dreary, motionless:
The Lake below reflects it not; the sky
Muffled in clouds affords no company
To mitigate and cheer its loneliness.
Yet round the body of that joyless Thing,
which sends so far its melancholy light,

" From a Sonnet of Sir Philip Sidney.

Perhaps are seated in domestic ring
A gay society with faces bright,
Conversing, reading, laughing;-or they sing,
While hearts and voices in the song unite.

MARK the concentred Hazels that enclose
Yon old grey Stone, protected from the ray
Of noontide suns:—and even the beams that play
And glance, while wantonly the rough wind blows,
Are seldom free to touch the moss that grows
Upon that roof–amid embowering gloom
The very image framing of a Tomb,
In which some ancient Chieftain finds repose
Among the lonely mountains.—Live, ye Trees!
And Thou, grey Stone, the pensive likeness keep
Of a dark chamber where the Mighty sleep:
For more than Fancy to the influence bends
When solitary Nature condescends
To mimic Time's forlorn humanities.


« As the cold aspect of a sunless way
Strikes through the Traveller's frame with deadlier chill,
Oft as appears a grove, or obvious hill,
Glistening with unparticipated ray,
Or shining slope where he must never stray;
So joys, remembered without wish or will,
Sharpen the keenest edge of present ill,—
On the crushed heart a heavier burthen lay.
Just Heaven, contract the compass of my mind
To fit proportion with my altered state'
Quench those felicities whose light I find
Reflected in my boson all too late!—
O be my spirit, like my thraldom, strait;
And, like mine eyes that stream with sorrow, blind!"

Brook! whose society the Poet seeks
Intent his wasted spirits to renew;
And whom the curious Painter doth pursue
Through rocky passes, among flowery creeks,
And tracks thee dancing down thy water-breaks;
If wish were mine some type of thee to view,
Thee,_and not thee thyself, I would not do
Like Grecian Artists, give thee human cheeks,
Channels for tears; no Naiad shouldst thou be,
Have neither limbs, feet, feathers, joints nor hairs;
It seems the Eternal Soul is clothed in thee
With purer robes than those of flesh and blood,
And hath bestowed on thee a better good;
Unwearied joy, and life without its cares.


Dog Matic Teachers, of the snow-white fur'
Ye wrangling Schoolmen, of the scarlet hood
Who, with a keenness not to be withstood,
Press the point home, or falter and demur,
Checked in your course by many a teasing burr;
These natural council-scats your acrid blood
Might cool;-and, as the Genius of the flood

Stoops willingly to animate and spur
Each lighter function slumbering in the brain,
Yon eddying balls of foam—these arrowy gleams,
That o'er the pavement of the surging streams
Welter and flash—a synod might detain
With subtle speculations, haply vain,
But surely less so than your far-fetched themes!


PURE element of waters! wheresoc'er
Thou dost forsake thy subterranean haunts,
Green herbs, bright flowers, and berry-bearing plants,
Rise into life and in thy train appear:
And, through the sunny portion of the year,
Swift insects shine, thy hovering pursuivants:
And, if thy bounty fail, the forest pants;
And hart and hind and hunter with his spear,
Languish and droop together. Nor unfelt
In man's perturbed soul thy sway benign;
And, haply, far within the marble belt
of central earth, where tortured Spirits pine
For grace and goodness lost, thy murmurs melt
Their anguish,_and they blend sweet songs with thine."


was the aim frustrated by force or guile,
When giants scooped from out the rocky ground
—Tier under tier—this semicirque profound?
(Giants—the same who built in Erin's isle
That causeway with incomparable toil!)
(), had this vast theatric structure wound
With finished sweep into a perfect round,
No mightier work had gained the plausive smile
Of all-beholding Phoebus! But, alas,
Vain earth !—false world!—Foundations must be laid
In Heaven; for, mid the wreck of is and was,
Things incomplete and purposes betrayed
\lake sadder transits o'er truth's mystic glass
Than noblest objects utterly decayed.


At early dawn, or rather when the air Glimmers with fading light, and shadowy Eve is busiest to confer and to bereave, Then, pensive Votary! let thy feet repair To Gordale-chasm, terrific as the lair where the young lions couch;-for so, by leave of the propitious hour, thou mayst perceive The local Deity, with oozy hair And mineral crown, beside his jagged urn itecumbent: liim thou mayst behold, who hides His lineaments by day, yet there presides, of aching the docile waters how to turn; or if need be, impediment to “purn, And sorce their passage to the salt-sea tides!

water. (as Mr westall informs us in the letter-press prefixed to his odmirable views) are in variably found to flow through these cavot iis.


A weight of awe not easy to be borne
Fell suddenly upon my Spirit—cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past,
When first I saw that Sisterhood forlorn;
And Her, whose massy strength and stature scorn
The power of years—pre-eminent, and placed
Apart—to overlook the circle vast.
Speak, Giant-mother! tell it to the Morn
While she dispels the cumbrous shades of night;
Let the Moon hear, emerging from a cloud,
At whose behest uprose on British ground
Thy Progeny; in hieroglyphic round
Forth-shadowing, some have deemed, the infinite,
The inviolable God, that tames the proud'



DARK and more dark the shades of evening fell;
The wished-for point was reached, but late the hour;
And little could be gained from all that dower
Of prospect, whereof many thousands tell.
Yet did the glowing west in all its power
Salute us;–There stood Indian Citadel,
Temple of Greece, and Minster with its tower
Substantially expressed—a place for Bell
Or Clock to toll from. Many a tempting Isle,
With Groves that never were imagined, lay
Mid Seas how steadfast! objects all for the eye
Of silent rapture; but we felt the while
We should forget them; they are of the sky,
And from our earthly memory fade away.

—— - they are of the sky, And from our earthly memory fade away.

These words were uttered as in pensive mood
We turned, departing from that solemn sight:
A contrast and reproach to gross delight,
And life's unspiritual pleasures daily wooed
But now upon this thought I cannot brood;
It is unstable as a dream of night;
Nor will I praise a Cloud, however bright,
Disparaging Man's gifts, and proper food.
Grove, Isle, with every shape of sky-built dome,
Though clad in colours beautiful and pure,
Find in the heart of man no natural home:
The immortal Mind craves objects that endure:
These cleave to it; from these it cannot roam,
Nor they from it: their fellowship is secure.

' The Daughters of Long Meg, placed in a perfect circle, ei, by yards in diameter, are seventy-two in number, and from more obse three yards above ground, to less than so many feet: a little osout of the circle stands Long Meg herself, a single Stone, e.gutes feet high. When the Author first saw Monument, as he carrie upon it by surprise, he might overrate its importance as an otject ; but, though it will not bear a comparison with Stonehes, e. he must say, he has not seen any other Relique of those dark aswhich can pretend to rival it in singularity and dignity of arres:ance.


composed UPON west MINSTER BRIDGE, SEPT. 3, 1803.

Fahru has not any thing to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Słups, towers, domes, theatres, aud temples lie
open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will
Dear God the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

OXFORD, MAY 30, 1820.

Ys sacred Nurseries of blooming Youth !
In whose collegiate shelter England's Flowers
Expand—enjoying through their vernal hours
The air of liberty, the light of Truth;
Much have ye suffered from Time's gnawing tooth,
Yet, O ye Spires of Oxford ' Domes and Towers!
Gardens and Groves your presence overpowers
The soberness of Reason; tıll, in sooth,
Transformed, and rushing on a bold exchange,
! slight my own beloved Cam, to range
where silver Isis leads my stripling feet;
Pace the long avenue, or glide adown
The stream-like windings of that glorious street,
–An eager Novice robed in fluttering gown!

OXFORD, MAY 30, 1820.

Suawk on this faithless heart! that could allow
Such transport—though but for a moment's space;
Not while—to aid the spirit of the place–
The crescent moon clove with its glittering prow
The clouds, or night-bird sang from shady bough,
But in plain daylight:—She too, at my side,
who, with her heart's experience satisfied,
Maintains inviolate its slightest vow !
Sweet Fancy other gifts must 1 receive :
Proofs of a higher sovereignty I claim;
Take from her brow the withering flowers of eve,
And to that brow Life's morning wreath restore :
Let her be comprehended in the frame

of these illusions, or they please no more.


Tur imperial Stature, the colossal stride, Are yet before me; yet do I behold The broad full visage, chest of amplest mould, The vestments broidered with barbaric pride: And lo! a poniard, at the Monarch's side, | Hango ready to be grasped in sympathy with the keen threatenings of that fulgent eye, Below the white-rimmed bonnet, far descried. who trembles now at thy capricious mood

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

A Staram, to mingle with your favourite Dee,
Along the WAle of MeditArion flows; "
So styled by those fierce Britons, pleased to see
In Nature's face the expression of repose;
Or haply there some pious Hermit chose
To live and die, the peace of Heaven his aim;
To whom the wild sequestered region owes,
At this late day, its sanctifying name.
Glyn CAFAillo ARoch, in the Cambrian tongue,
In ours the Pale of Friendship, let this spot
Be named ; where, faithful to a low-roofed Cot,
On Deva's banks, ye have abode so long;
Sisters in love—a love allowed to climb,
Even on this Earth, above the reach of Time!


How art thou named ! In search of what strange land

From what huge height, descending 1 Can such force
Of waters issue from a British source,
Or hath not Pindus fed Thee, where the band
Of Patriots scoop their freedom out, with hand
Desperate as thine? Or come the incessant shocks
From that young Stream, that smites the throbbing rocks
Of Viamala 2 There I seem to stand,
As in Life's Morn; permitted to behold,
From the dread chasm, woods climbing above woods
In pomp that fades not, everlasting snows,
And skies that ne'er relinquish their repose:
Such power possess the Family of floods
Over the minds of Poets, young or old!

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Seen the Seven Whistlers in their nightly rounds,
And counted them: and oftentimes will start—
For overhead are sweeping Gabriel's Hounds.
Doomed, with their impious Lord, the flying Hart
To chase for ever, on aerial grounds!

STRANGE visitation! at Jemima's lip
Thus hadst thou pecked, wild Redbreast ! Love might
A half-blown rose had tempted thee to sip
Its glistening dews; but hallowed is the clay
Which the Muse warms; and I, whose head is grey,
Am not unworthy of thy fellowship;
Nor could I let one thought—one motion—slip
That might thy sylvan confidence betray.
For are we not all llis, without whose care
Vouchsafed, no sparrow falleth to the ground !
Who gives his Angels wings to speed through air,
And rolls the planets through the blue profound;
Then peck or perch, fond Flutterer! nor forbear
To trust a Poet in still vision bound.

When Philoctetes in the Lemmian Isle
Lay couched;—upon that breathless Monument,
On him, or on his fearful bow unbent,
Some wild Bird oft might settle, and beguile
The rigid features of a transient smile,
Disperse the tear, or to the sigh give vent,
Slackening the pains of ruthless banishment
From home affections, and heroic toil.
Nor doubt that spiritual Creatures round us move,
Griefs to allay that Reason cannot heal;
And very Reptiles have sufficed to prove
To fettered Wretchedness, that no Bastile
Is deep enough to exclude the light of love,
Though Man for Brother Man has ceased to feel.


While they, her Playmates once, light-hearted tread
The mountain turf and river's flowery marge;
Or float with music in the festal barge;
Rein the proud steed, or through the dance are led;
Is Anna doomed to press a weary bed—
Till of her guardian Angel, to some Charge
More urgent called, will stretch his wings at large,
And Friends too rarely prop the languid head.
Yet Genius is no feeble comforter:
The presence even of a stuffed Owl for her
Can cheat the time; sending her fancy out
To ivied castles and to moonlight skies,
Though he can neither stir a plume, nor shout,
Norveil, with restless film, his staring eyes.

TO The CUCK00.

Not the whole warbling grove in concert heard
When sunshine follows shower, the breast can thrill
Like the first summons, Cuckoo! of thy bill,
With its twin notes inseparably paired.
The Captive, 'mid damp vaults unsunned, unaired,
Measuring the periods of his lonely doom,
That cry can reach; and to the sick man's room

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

By favouring Nature and a saintly Mind
To something purer and more exquisite
Than flesh and blood; whene'er thou meet'st my sight,
When I behold thy blanched unwithered cheek,
Thy temples fringed with locks of gleaming white,
And head that droops because the soul is meek,
Thee with the welcome Snowdrop I compare;
That Child of Winter, prompting thoughts that climb
From desolation tow'rds the genial prime;
Or with the Moon conquering earth's misty air,
And filling more and more with crystal light
As pensive Evening deepens into night.

In my mind's eye a Temple, like a cloud
Slowly surmounting some invidious hill,
Rose out of darkness: the bright Work stood still,
And might of its owu beauty have been proud,
But it was fashioned and to God was vowed
By virtues that diffused, in every part,
Spirit divine through forms of human art:
Faith had her arch—her arch, when winds blow loud,
Into the consciousness of safety thrilled;
And Love her towers of dread foundation laid
Under the grave of things; Hope had her spire
Star-high, and pointing still to something higher;
Trembling I gazed, but heard a voice—it said,
Ilell-gates are powerless Phantoms when we build.

CONCLUSION. TO - - - - - •.

If these brief Records, by the Muses art
Produced as lonely Nature or the strife
That animates the scenes of public life
Inspired, may in thy leisure claim a part;
And if these Transcripts of the private heart
Have gained a sanction from thy falling tears,
Then I repent not; but my soul hath fears
Breathed from eternity; for as a dart
Cleaves the blank air, Life flies: now every day
ls but a glimmering spoke in the swift wheel
Of the revolving week. Away, away,
All fitful cares, all transitory zeal;
so timely Grace the immortal wing may heal,
And honour rest upon the senseless clay.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »