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This riddling tale, to what does it belong ?
Is't history ? vision ? or an idle song?
Or rather say at once, within what space
Of time this wild disastrous change took place ?
Call it a moment's work, (and such it seems)
This tale's a fragment from the life of dreams;
But say, that years matur'd the silent strife,
And 'tis a record from the dream of life.
All look and likeness caught from earth,
All accident of kin and birth,
Had pass'd away. There was no trace
Of aught on that illumined face,
Uprais'd beneath the rifted stone
But of one spirit all her own ;-
She, she herself, and only she,
Shone thro’ her body visibly.
LINES COMPOSED 21ST FEBRUARY, 1827.
All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair-
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, por pair, nor build, nor sing.
Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And hope without an object cannot live,
VERSE, a breeze mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee-
Both were mine! Life went a maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,
When I was young!
When I was young?-Ah, woful when!
Ah! for the change 'twixt now and then !
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O'er aery cliffs and glittering sands,
How lightly then it flashed along :-
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Nought cared this body for wind or weather
When Youth and I liv'd in't together.
Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree;
0! the joys, that came down shower-like,
Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,
Ere I was old!
Ere I was old ?Ah woful ere,
Which tells me, Youth's no longer here!
O Youth! for years so many and sweet,
Tis known, that thou and I were one ;
I'll think it but a fond conceit-
It cannot be, that thou art gone!
Thy vesper-bell hath not yet toll'd :-
And thou wert aye a masker bold !
What strange disguise hast now put on,
To make believe, that thou art gone ?
I see these locks in silvery slips,
This drooping gait, this altered size:
But springtide blossoms on thy lips,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes !
Life is but thought: so think I will
That Youth and I are house-mates still.
Dew-drops are the gems of morning,
But the tears of mournful eve!
Where no hope is, life's a warning
That only serves to make us grieve,
When we are old :
That only serves to make us grieve
With oft and tedious taking-leave,
Like some poor nigh-related guest,
That may not rudely be dismist,
Yet hath outstay'd bis welcome while,
And tells the jest without the smile.
My eyes make pictures, when they are shut:
I see a fountain, large and fair,
A willow and a ruined hut,
And thee, and me and Mary there.
O Mary! make thy gentle lap our pillow!
Bend o'er us, like a bower, my beautiful green
A wild-rose roofs the ruined shed,
And that and summer well agree : And lo! where Mary leans her head,
Two dear names carved upon the tree! And Mary's tears, they are not tears of sorrow: Our sister and our friend will both be here to-morrow
'Twas day! But now few, large, and bright
The stars are round the crescent moon ! And now it is a dark warm night,
The balmiest of the month of June ! A glow-worm fallen, and on the marge remounting, Shines and its shadow shines, fit stars for our sweet
O ever-ever be thou blest !
For dearly, Asra, love 1 thee!
This brooding warmth across my breast,
This depth of tranquil bliss—ah me!
Fount, tree and shed are gone, I know not whither,
But in one quiet room we three are still together.
The shadows dance upon the wall,
By the still dancing fire-flames made; And now they slumber, moveless all !
And now they melt to one deep shade! But not from me shall this mild darkness steal thee: I dream thee with mine eyes, and at my heart I feel
Thine eyelash on my cheek doth play
'Tis Mary's hand upon my brow! But let me check this tender lay
Which none may hear but she and thou! Like the still hive at quiet midnight humming, Murmur it to yourselves, ye two beloved women!