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Her bosom heaved—she stepped aside ;
As conscious of my look, she stepped
Then suddenly with timorous eye
She fled to me and wept.
She half enclosed me with her arms,
She pressed me with a meek embrace ;
And bending back her head, looked up,
And gazed upon my face.
'Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly 'twas a bashful art,
That I might rather feel than see
The swelling of her heart.
I calmed her fears; and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin pride ;
And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous bride!
No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
Distinguishes the west, no long thin slip
Of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues.
Come, we will rest on this old mossy bridge !
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring : it flows silently
O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
A balmy night! and though the stars be dim,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
That gladden the green earth, and we shall find
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
And hark! the nightingale begins its song,
“ Most musical, most melancholy" bird !
A melancholy bird ? O idle thought!
In nature there is nothing melancholy.
-But some night-wand'ring man, whose heart was pierced
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love,
(And so, poor wretch ! filled all things with himself,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrows,) he and such as he
First named these notes a melancholy strain :
And many a poet echoes the conceit;
Poet, who hath been building up the rhyme
When he had better far have stretched his limbs
Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell,
By sun or moonlight, to the influxes
Of shapes, and sounds, and shifting elements,
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
And of his fame forgetful! so his fame
Should share in nature's immortality,
A venerable thing! and so his song
Should make all nature lovelier, and itself
Be loved, like nature !-But 'twill not be so;
And youths and maidens most poetical,
Who lose the deep’ning twilights of the spring
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.
My friend, and my friend's sister ! we have learnt
A different lore : we may not thus profane
Nature's sweet voices always full of love
And joyance! 'Tis the merry Nightingale
That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates,
With fast thick warble, his delicious notes,
As he were fearful that an April night
Would be too short for him to utter forth
His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
Of all its music! and I know a grove
Of large extent, hard by a castle huge,
Which the great lord inhabits not : and so
This grove is wild with tangling underwood,
And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths.
But never elsewhere in one place I knew
So many Nightingales : and far and near
In wood and thicket over the wide grove
They answer and provoke each other's songs-
With skirmish and capricious passagings,
And murmurs musical, and swift jug-jug,
And one low piping sound more sweet than all-
Stirring the air with such an harmony,
That, should you close your eyes, you might almost
Forget it was not day.
A most gentle maid Who dwelleth in her hospitable home Hard by the castle, and at latest eve (Even like a lady vowed and dedicate To something more than nature in the grove) Glides through the pathways; she knows all their notes, That gentle maid! and oft, a moment's space, What time the moon was lost behind a cloud, Hath heard a pause of silence : till the moon Emerging, hath awakened earth and sky With one sensation, and those wakeful birds Have all burst forth with choral minstrelsy, As if one quick and sudden gale had swept An hundred airy harps! And she hath watched Many a Nightingale perch giddily On bloss’my twig still swinging from the breeze, And to that motion tune his wanton song, Like tipsy joy that reels with tossing head.
Farewell, 0 warbler! till to-morrow eve,
And you, my friends ! farewell, a short farewell !
We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
And now for our dear homes.—That strain again!
Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe,
Who, capable of no articulate sound,
Mars all things with his imitative lisp,
How he would place his hand beside his ear,
His little hand, the small forefinger up,
And bid us listen! and I deem it wise
To make him Nature's playmate. He knows well
The evening star : and once when he awoke
In most distressful mood (some inward pain
Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream)
I hurried with him to our orchard plot,
And he beholds the moon, and hushed at once
Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
While his fair eyes that swam with undropt tears
Did glitter in the yellow moonbeam! Well-
It is a father's tale. But if that Heaven
Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up
Familiar with these songs, that with the night
He may associate joy! Once more farewell,
Sweet Nightingale ! once more, my friends, farewell!
WRITTEN IN THE ALBUM AT ELBINGERODE, IN THE HARTZ FOREST.
I stood on Brocken's sovran height, and saw
Woods crowding upon woods, hills over hills,
A surging scene, and only limited
By the blue distance. Heavily my way
Downward I dragg'd through fir-groves evermore,
Where bright green moss heaves in sepulchral forms
Speckled with sunshine ; and, but seldom heard,
The sweet bird's song became a hollow sound;
And the breeze, murmuring indivisibly,
Preserved its solemn murmur most distinct
From many a note of many a waterfall,
And the brook's chatter; 'mid whose islet stones
The dingy kidling with its tinkling bell
Leap'd frolicsome, or old romantic goat
Sat, his white beard slow waving. I moved on
In low and languid mood : for I had found
That outward forms, the loftiest, still receive
Their finer influence from the life within :
Fair ciphers else : fair, but of import vague
Or unconcerning, where the heart not finds
History or prophecy of friend, or child,
Or gentle maid, our first and early love,
Or father, or the venerable name
Of our adored country! O thou Queen,
Thou delegated Deity of Earth,
O dear, dear England ! how my longing eye
Turn'd westward, shaping in the steady clouds
Thy sands and high white cliffs !
My native land !
Filld with the thought of thee this heart was proud,
Yea, mine eye swam with tears : that all the view
From sovran Brocken, woods and woody hills,
Floated away, like a departing dream,
Feeble and dim! Stranger, these impulses
Blame thou not lightly; nor will I profane,
With hasty judgment or injurious doubt,
That man's sublimer spirit, who can feel
That God is every where! the God who framed
Mankind to be one mighty family,
Himself our Father, and the world our home.
How warm this woodland wild recess!
Love surely hath been breathing here.
And this sweet bed of heath, my dear! Swells up, then sinks with fain caress,
As if to have you yet more near.
Eight springs have flown, since last I lay
On sea-ward Quantock's heathy hills,
Where quiet sounds from hidden rills Float here and there, like things astray,
And high o'er head the sky-lark shrills.
No voice as yet had made the air
Be music with your name; yet why
That asking look ? that yearning sigh ? That sense of promise every where?
Beloved ! flew your spirit by?
As when a mother doth explore
The rose-mark on her long-lost child,
I met, I loved you, maiden mild ! As whom I long had loved before
So deeply had I been beguiled.
You stood before me like a thought,
A dream remember'd in a dream.
But when those meek eyes first did seem To tell me, Love within you wrought
O Greta, dear domestic stream!
Has not, since then, Love's prompture deep,
Has not Love's whisper evermore
Been ceaseless, as thy gentle roar ? Sole voice, when other voices sleep,
Dear under-song in Clamour's hour.