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At thorns, and brakes, and brambles,—and, in truth, More ragged than need was! Among the woods, And o'er the pathless rocks, I forced my way Until, at length, I came to one dear nook Unvisited, where not a broken bough Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign of devastation, but the hazels rose Tall and erect, with milk-white clusters hung, A virgin scene!—A little while I stood, Breathing with such suppression of the heart As joy delights in ; and, with wise restraint Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed The banquet, or beneath the trees I sate Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played; A temper, known to those, who, after long And weary expectation, have been blest With sudden happiness beyond all hope.— Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves The violets of five seasons re-appear And fade, unseen by any human eye; where fairy water-breaks do murmur on For ever, and I saw the sparkling foam, And with my cheek on one of those green stones that, fleeced with moss, beneath the shady trees, Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep, I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound, In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure, The heart luxuriates with indifferent things, Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones, And on the vacant air. Then up I rose, And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash And merciless ravage; and the shady nook Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower, Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up Their quiet being : and, unless I now Confound my present feelings with the past, Even then, when from the bower I turned away Exalting, rich beyond the wealth of kings, I felt a sense of pain when I beheld The silent trees and the intruding sky.— Then, dearest Maiden! move along these shades In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand Touch—for there is a spirit in the woods.
She was a Phantom of delight
when first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely Apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament;
Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair;
Like Twilight's, too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful Dawn;
A dancing Shape, an Image tay,
To haunt, to startle, and way-lay.
I saw her upon nearer view,
A Spirit, yet a Woman too!
lier household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A Creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A Being breathing thoughtful breath,
A Traveller betwixt life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill,
A perfect Woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a Spirit still, and bright
With something of an angel light.
O Nighting Ale' thou surely art
A Creature of a fiery heart:—
These notes of thine—they pierce and pierce;
Tumultuous harmony and fierce!
Thou singst as if the God of wine
Had helped thee to a Valentine;
A song in mockery and despite
Of shades, and dews, and silent Night;
And steady bliss, and all the loves
Now sleeping in these peaceful Groves.
I heard a Stock-dove sing or say
His homely tale, this very day;
His voice was buried among trees,
Yet to be come at by the breeze :
He did not cease; but cooed—and cooed;
And somewhat pensively he wooed :
He sang of love with quiet blending,
Slow to begin, and never ending;
Of serious faith and inward glee;
That was the Song—the Song for me!
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 hers shall be the breathing balm,
And hers 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 motions of the Storm
Grace that shall mould the Maiden's form
By silent sympathy.
That tall Man, a Giant in bulk and in height,
Not an inch of his body is free from delight;
Can he keep himself still, if he would oh, not he
The music stirs in him like wind through a tree.
Mark that Cripple who leans on his Crutch; like a Tower
That long has leaned forward, leans hour after hour!—
That Mother, whole Spirit in fetters is bound,
While she dandles the babe in her arms to the sound.
Now, Coaches and Chariots! roar on like a stream;
liere are twenty souls happy as Souls in a dream:
They are deaf to your murmurs—they care not for you,
Nor what ye are flying, nor what ye pursue !
STAR-GAZERS. What crowd is this? what have we here ! we must not pass it by ; A Telescope upon its frame, and pointed to the sky: Long is it as a Barber's Pole, or Mast of little Boat, Soule little Pleasure-skiff, that doll, on Thames's waters float.
The Show-man chooses well his place, "t is Leicester's busy Square;
And is as happy in his night, for the heavens are blue and fair;
Calm, though impatient, is the Crowd; each stands ready with the fee,
Impatient till his moment comes—what an insight must it be .
Yet, Showman, where can lie the cause Shall thy Implement have blame,
A Boaster, that when he is tried, fails, and is put to shame 2
Or is it good as others are, and be their eyes in fault 1
Their eyes, or minds? or, finally, is this resplendent Vault 1
is nothing of that radiant pomp so good as we have here?
Or gives a thing but small delight that never can be dear?
The silver Moon with all her Wales, and Hills of mightiest fame,
Doth she betray us when they're seen or are they but a nanne :
Or is it rather that Conceit rapacious is and strong,
And bounty never yields so much but it seems to do her wrong
Or is it, that when human Souls a journey long have had,
And are returned into themselves, they cannot but be sad Î
Or must we be constrained to think that these Spectators rude,
Poor in estate, of manners base, men of the multitude,
Have souls which never yet have risen, and therefore prostrate lie?
No, no, this cannot be—Men thirst for power and majesty |
Those silver clouds collected round the sun
His mid-day warmth abate not, seeming less
To overshade than multiply his beams
By soft reflection—grateful to the sky,
To rocks, fields, woods. Nor doth our human sense
Ask, for its pleasure, screen or canopy
More ample than the time-dismantled Oak
Spreads o'er this tuft of heath, which now, attired
In the whole fulness of its bloom, affords
Couch beautiful as eer for earthly use
Was fashioned; whether by the hand of Art,
That Eastern Sultan, amid flowers enwrought
On silken tissue, might diffuse his limbs
In languor; or, by Nature, for repose
Of panting Wood-nymph wearied by the chase.
O Lady! fairer in thy Poet's sight
Than fairest spiritual Creature of the groves,
Approach—and, thus invited, crown with rest
The noon-tide hour:—though truly some there are
Whose footsteps superstitiously avoid
This venerable Tree; for, when the wind
Blows keenly, it sends forth a creaking sound
(Above the general roar of woods and crags)
Distinctly heard from far—a doleful note :
As if (so Grecian shepherds would have deemed)
The Hamadriad, pent within, bewailed
Some bitter wrong. Nor is it unbelieved,
By ruder fancy, that a troubled Ghost
Haunts this old Trunk; lamenting deeds of which
The flowery ground is conscious. But no wind
Sweeps now along this elevated ridge;
Not even a zephyr stirs;–the obnoxious Tree
ls mute,_and, in his silence, would look down,
O lovely Wanderer of the trackless hills,
on thy reclining form with more delight
Than his Coevals, in the sheltered vale
seem to participate, the whilst they view
Their own far-stretching arms and leafy heads
Vividly pictured in some glassy pool,
That, for a brief space, checks the hurrying stream !
WRITTEN IN MARCH, while RESTING on the BRIDGE AT THE FOOT OF Baothen's water.
The cock is crowing, The stream is flowing,