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«Some, still more delicate of ear, Have lutes (believe my words)
Whose framework is of gossamer, While sunbeams are the chords.
• Gay Sylphs this Miniature will court, Made vocal by their brushing wings,
And sullen Gnomes will learn to sport Around its polished strings;
“Whence strains to love-sick Maiden dear,
While in her lonely Bower she tries
To cheat the thought she cannot cheer,
By fanciful embroideries.
a Trust, angry Bard! a knowing Sprite, Nor think the Harp her lot deplores;
Though mid the stars the Lyre shines bright, Love stoops as fondly as he soars.”
ADDRESS TO MY INFANT DAUGHTER,
oN being REMINDED, that she was A Month old, on that DAY.
----- HAst thou then survived, Mild Offspring of infirm humanity, Meek Infant! among all forlornest things The most forlorn, one life of that bright Star, The second glory of the heavens?—Thou hast: Already hast survived that great decay; That transformation through the wide earth felt, And by all nations. In that Being's sight From whom the Race of human kind proceed, A thousand years are but as yesterday; And one day's narrow circuit is to him Not less capacious than a thousand years. But what is time? What outward glory? neither A measure is of Thee, whose claims extend Through a heaven's eternal year.”—Yet hail to Thee, Frail, feeble Monthling!—by that name, methinks, Thy scanty breathing-time is portioned out Not idly.—Hadst thou been of Indian birth, Couched on a casual bed of moss and leaves, And rudely canopied by leafy boughs, Or to the churlish elements exposed On the blank plains,—the coldness of the night, Or the night's darkness, or its cheerful face Of beauty, by the changing Moon adorned, Would, with imperious admonition, then Have scored thine age, and punctually timed
Thine infant history, on the minds of those
Who might have wandered with thee.—Mother's love,
Nor less than Mother's love in other breasts,
Will, among us warm clad and warmly housed,
Do for thee what the finger of the heavens
Doth all too often harshly execute
For thy unblest Coevals, amid wilds
Where fancy hath small liberty to grace
The affections, to exalt them or refine;
And the maternal sympathy itself,
Though strong, is, in the main, a joyless tie
Of naked instinct, wound about the heart.
Happier, far happier is thy lot and ours!
Even now—to solemnize thy helpless state,
And to enliven in the mind's regard
Thy passive beauty—parallels have risen,
Resemblances, or contrasts, that connect,
Within the region of a Father's thoughts,
Thee and thy Mate and Sister of the sky.
And first;-thy sinless progress, through a world
By sorrow darkened and by care disturbed,
Apt likeness bears to hers, through gathered clouds,
Moving untouched in silver purity,
And cheering oft-times their reluctant gloom.
Fair are ye both, and both are free from stain:
But thou, how leisurely thou fill'st thy horn
With brightness!—leaving her to post along,
And range about—disquieted in change,
And still impatient of the shape she wears.
Once up, once down the hill, one journey, Babe,
That will suffice thee; and it seems that now
Thou hast fore-knowledge that such task is thine;
Thou travell'st so contentedly, and sleepst
In such a heedless peace. Alas! full soon
Hath this conception, grateful to behold,
Changed countenance, like an object sullied o'er
By breathing mist; and thine appears to be
A mournful labour, while to her is given
Hope—and a renovation without end.
—That smile forbids the thought; –for on thy face
Smiles are beginning, like the beams of dawn,
To shoot and circulate;—smiles have there been seen.-
Tranquil assurances that Heaven supports
The feeble motions of thy life, and cheers
Thy loneliness;–or shall those smiles be called
Feelers of love, put forth as if to explore
This untried world, and to prepare thy way
Through a strait passage intricate and dim
Such are they, and the same are tokens, signs,
Which, when the appointed season hath arrived,
Joy, as her holiest language, shall adopt;
And Reason's godlike Power be proud to own.
Redoubled and redoubled; concourse wild
Of nirth and jocund din! And, when it chanced
That pauses of deep silence mocked his skill,
Then, sometimes, in that silence, while he hung
Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise
llas carried far into his heart the voice
Of mountain torrents; or the visible scene
Would enter unawares into his mind
With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,
lts woods, and that uncertain heaven, received
Into the bosom of the steady lake.
This Boy was taken from his Mates, and died In childhood, ere he was full twelve years old. Fair is the spot, most beautiful the Wale Where he was born: the grassy Church-yard hangs Upon a slope above the village-school; And through that Church-yard when my way has led At evening, I believe, that oftentimes A long half-hour together I have stood Mute-looking at the grave in which he lies!
ow HER FIRST ASCENT TO THE SUMMIT of helvellyN.
In Mars of a mountain Dwelling, Thou hast clomb aloft, and gazed, From the watch-towers of Helvellyn; Awed, delighted, and amazed!
Potent was the spell that bound thee
Not unwilling to obey;
For blue Ether's arms, flung round thee,
Stilled the pantings of dismay.
Lo! the dwindled woods and meadows!
What a vast abyss is there!
Lo! the clouds, the solemn shadows,
And the glistenings—heavenly fair!
And a record of commotion
Which a thousand ridges yield;
Ridge, and gulf, and distant ocean
Gleaming like a silver shield!
—Take thy flight;-possess, inherit Alps or Andes—they are thine! With the morning's roseate Spirit, Sweep their length of snowy line;
Or survey the bright dominions
In the gorgeous colours drest,
Flung from off the purple pinions,
Evening spreads throughout the west!
Thine are all the choral fountains
Warbling in each sparry vault
Of the untrodden lunar mountains;
Listen to their songs!—or halt,
To Niphate's top invited,
Whither spiteful Satan steered;
Or descend where the ark alighted,
When the green earth re-appeared;
For the power of hills is on thee,
As was witnessed through thine eye
Then, when old Helvellyn won thee
To confess their majesty!
O blithe New-comer! I have heard,
I hear thee and rejoice.
O Cuckoo! shall I call thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?
While I am lying on the grass
Thy twofold shout I hear,
That seems to fill the whole air's space,
As loud far off as near.
Though babbling only, to the Wale,
Of sunshine and of flowers,
Thou bringest unto me a tale
Of visionary hours.
Thrice welcome, Darling of the Spring
Even yet thou art to me
No Bird: but an invisible Thing,
A voice, a mystery.
The same whom in my Schoolboy days
I listened to ; that Cry
Which made me look a thousand ways
In bush, and tree, and sky.
To seek thee did I often rove Through woods and on the green; And thou wert still a hope, a love; Still longed for, never seen.
And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again.
O blessed Bird! the earth we pace
Again appears to be
An unsubstantial, faery place;
That is fit home for Thee!
———The sky is overcast
With a continuous cloud of texture close,
Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon,
Which through that veil is indistinctly seen,
A dull, contracted circle, yielding light
So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls,
Checkering the ground — from rock, plant, tree, or
At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
Startles the pensive traveller while he treads
His lonesome path, with unobserving eye
Bent earthwards: he looks up—the clouds are split
Asunder.-and above his head he sees
The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives;–how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not!—the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent;-still they roll along
Immeasurably distant;-and the vault,
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
At length the Vision closes; and the mind,
Not undisturbed by the delight it feels,
which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.
• Let me be allowed the aid of verse to describe the evolutions which these visitants sometimes perform, on a fine day towards the close of winter.” Extract from the Author's Book on the Lakes.
MARK how the feathered tenants of the flood,
With grace of motion that might scarcely seem
Inferior to angelical, prolong
Their curious pastime! shaping in mid air
(And sometimes with ambitious wing that soars
High as the level of the mountain tops)
A circuit ampler than the lake beneath,
Their own domain;—but ever, while intent
On tracing and retracing that large round,
Their jubilant activity evolves
Hundreds of curves and circlets, to and fro,
Upward and downward, progress intricate
Yet unperplexed, as if one spirit swayed
Their indefatigable flight. —T is done—
Ten times, or more, I fancied it had ceased;
But lo! the vanished company again
Ascending;-they approach—I hear their wings
Faint, faint at first; and then an eager sound
Past in a moment—and as faint again!
They tempt the sun to sport amid their plumes;
They tempt the water, or the gleaming ice,
To shew them a fair image;— 't is themselves,
Their own fair forms, upon the glimmering plain,
Painted more soft and fair as they descend
Almost to touch;—then up again aloft,
Up with a sally and a flash of speed,
As if they scorned both resting-place and rest!
Theae is a Yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore,
Not loth to furnish weapons for the Bands
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched
To Scotland's Heaths; or those that crossed the Sea
And drew their sounding bows at Azincour,
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers.
Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary Tree!—a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed. But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal Four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove:
Huge trunks!—and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine
Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved,—
Nor uninformed with Phantasy, and looks
That threaten the profane;—a pillared shade,
Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,
By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged
Perennially—beneath whose sable roof
This Height a ministering Angel might select:
For from the summit of Black Coms (dread name
Derived from clouds and storms ) the amplest range
Of unobstructed prospect may be seen
That British ground commands:—low dusky tracts,
Where Trent is nursed, far southward! Cambrian Hills
To the south-west, a multitudinous show;
And, in a line of eye-sight linked with these,
The hoary Peaks of Scotland that give birth
To Tiviot's Stream, to Annan, Tweed, and Clyde;—
Crowding the quarter whence the sun comes forth
Gigantic Mountains rough with crags; beneath,
Right at the imperial Station's western base,
Main Ocean, breaking audibly, and stretched
Far into silent regions blue and pale;—
And visibly engirding Mona's Isle
That, as we left the Plain, before our sight
Stood like a lofty Mount, uplifting slowly,
(Above the convex of the watery globe)
Into clear view the cultured fields that streak
Her habitable shores; but now appears
A dwindled object, and submits to lie
At the Spectator's feet.—Yon azure Ridge,
Is it a perishable cloud? Or there
Do we behold the frame of Erin's Coast?
Land sometimes by the roving shepherd swain
(Like the bright confines of another world)
Not doubtfully perceived.—Look homeward now!
In depth, in height, in circuit, how serene
The spectacle, how pure!—Of Nature's works,
In earth, and air, and earth-embracing sea,
A revelation infinite it seems;
Display august of man's inheritance,
Of Britain's calm felicity and power.