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Then I will pass the countries that I see

In long perspective, and continually

Taste their pure fountains. First the realm I 'll pass

Of Flora, and old Pan: sleep in the grass,

Feed upon apples red, and strawberries,

And choose each pleasure that my fancy sees,

Catch the white-handed nymphs in shady places,

To woo sweet kisses from averted faces,—

Play with their fingers, touch their shoulders white

Into a pretty shrinking with a bite

As hard as lips can make it: till agreed,

A lovely tale of human life we 'll read.

And one will teach a tame dove how it best

May fan the cool air gently o'er my rest:

Another, bending o'er her nimble tread,

Will set a green robe floating round her head,

And still will dance with ever-varied ease,

Smiling upon the flowers and the trees:

Another will entice me on, and on,

Through almond blossoms and rich cinnamon;

Till in the bosom of a leafy world

We rest in silence, like two gems upcurl'd

In the recesses of a pearly shell.

And can I ever bid these joys farewell 1 Yes, I must pass them for a nobler life, Where I may find the agonies, the strife Of human hearts : for lo! I see afar, O'er-sailing the blue cragginess, a car And steeds with streamy manes—the charioteer Looks out upon the winds with glorious fear: And now the numerous tramplings quiver lightly Along a huge cloud's ridge ; and now with sprightlj Wheel downward come they into fresher skies, Tipt round with silver from the sun's bright eyes. Still downward with capacious whirl they glide; And now I see them on a green-hill side In breezy rest among the nodding stalks. The charioteer with wondrous gesture talks

To the trees and mountains; and there soon appear

Shapes of delight, of mystery, and fear,

Passing along before a dusky space

Made by some mighty oaks : as they would chase

Some ever-fleeting music, on they sweep.

Lo! how they murmur, laugh, and smile, and weep:

Some with upholden hand and mouth severe;

Some with their faces muffled to the ear

Between their arms; some clear in youthful bloom,

Go glad and smilingly athwart the gloom;

Some looking back, and some with upward gaze;

Yes, thousands in a thousand different ways

Flit onward—now a lovely wreath of girls

Dancing their sleek hair into tangled curls;

And now broad wings. Most awfully intent

The driver of those steeds is forward bent,

And seems to listen: O that I might know

All that he writes with such a hurrying glow!

The visions all are fled—the car is fled Into the light of heaven, and in their stead A sense of real things comes doubly strong, And, like a muddy stream, would bear along My soul to nothingness: but I will strive Against all doubtings, and will keep alive The thought of that same chariot, and the strange Journey it went.

Is there so small a range In the present strength of manhood, that the high Imagination cannot freely fly As she was wont of old? prepare her steeds, Paw up against the light, and do strange deeds Upon the clouds? Has she not shown us all? From the clear space of ether, to the small Breath of new buds unfolding? From the meaning Of Jove's large eyebrow, to the tender greening Of April meadows? Here her altar shone, E'en in this isle; and who could paragon

The fervid choir that lifted up a noise
Of harmony, to where it aye will poise
Its mighty self of convoluting sound,
Huge as a planet, and like that roll round,
Eternally around a dizzy void 1
Ay, in those days the Muses were nigh cloy'd
With honours; nor had any other care
Than to sing out and soothe their wavy hair.

Could all this be forgotten? Yes, a schism
Nurtured by foppery and barbarism,
Made great Apollo blush for this his land.
Men were thought wise who could not understand
His glories: with a puling infant's force
They sway'd about upon a rocking-horse,
And thought it Pegasus. Ah, dismal-soul'd!
The winds of heaven blew, the ocean roll'd
Its gathering waves—ye felt it not. The blue
Bared its eternal bosom, and the dew
Of summer night collected still to make
The morning precious: Beauty was awake!
Why were ye not awake? But ye were dead
To things ye knew not of,—were closely wed
To musty laws lined out with wretched rule
And compass vile : so that ye taught a school
Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and fit,
Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit,
Their verses tallied. Easy was the task:
A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask
Of Poesy. Ill-fated, impious race!
That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face,
And did not know it,—no, they went about,
Holding a poor, decrepid standard out,
Mark'd with most flimsy mottoes, and in large
The name of one Boileau!

O ye whose charge
It is to hover round our pleasant hills!
Whose congregated majesty so fills

My boundly reverence, that I cannot trace

Your hallow'd names, in this unholy place,

So near those common folk; did not their shames

Affright you? Did our old lamenting Thames

Delight you! did ye never cluster round

Delicious Avon, with a mournful sound,

And weep? Or did ye wholly bid adieu

To regions where no more the laurel grew?

Or did ye stay to give a welcoming

To some lone spirits who could proudly sing

Their youth away, and die? 'Twas even so:

But let me think away those times of woe:

Now 'tis a fairer season; ye have breathed

Rich benedictions o'er us; ye have wreathed

Fresh garlands: for sweet music has been heard

In many places; some has been upstirr'd

From out its crystal dwelling in a lake,

By a swan's ebon bill; from a thick brake,

Nested and quiet in a valley mild,

Bubbles a pipe; fine sounds are floating wild

About the earth: happy are ye and glad.

These things are, doubtless: yet in truth we 've had

Strange thunders from the potency of song;

Mingled indeed with what is sweet and strong,

From majesty: but in clear truth the themes

Are ugly cubs, the Poets' Polyphemes

Disturbing the grand sea. A drainless shower

Of light is poesy; 'tis the supreme of power;

'Tis might half slumbering on its own right arm.

The very archings of her eyelids charm

A thousand willing agents to obey,

And still she governs with the mildest sway:

But strength alone though of the Muses born

Is like a fallen angel: trees uptorn,

Darkness, and worms, and shrouds, and sepulchres

Delight it; for it feeds upon the burrs

And thorns of life; forgetting the great end

Of poesy, that it should be a friend

To soothe the cares, and lift the thoughts of man.

Yet I rejoice: a myrtle fairer than
E'er grew in Paphos, from the bitter weeds
Lifts its sweet heap into the air, and feeds
A silent space with ever-sprouting green.
All tenderest birds there find a pleasant screen,
Creep through the shade with jaunty fluttering,
Nibble the little cupped flowers and sing.
Then let us clear away the choking thorns
From round its gentle stem; let the young fawns,
Yeaned in after-times, when we are flown,
Find a fresh sward beneath it, overgrown
With simple flowers: let there nothing be
More boisterous than a lover's bended knee;
Nought more ungentle than the placid look
Of one who leans upon a closed book;
Nought more untranquil than the grassy slopes
Between two hills. All hail, delightful hopes!
As she was wont, th' imagination
Into most lovely labyrinths will be gone,
And they shall be accounted poet kings
Who simply tell the most heart-easing things.
O may these joys be ripe before I die!

Will not some say that I presumptuously
Have spoken? that from hastening disgrace
'Twere better far to hide my foolish face?
That whining boyhood should with reverence bow
Ere the dread thunderbolt could reach? How!
If I do hide myself, it sure shall be
In the very fane, the light of Poesy:
If I do fall, at least I will be laid
Beneath the silence of a poplar shade;
And over me the grass shall be smooth shaven;
And there shall be a kind memorial graven.
But off, Despondence l miserable bane!
They should not know thee, who athirst to gain
A noble end, are thirsty every hour.
What though I am not wealthy in the dower
Of spanning wisdom; though I do not know


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