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Written in my pocket copy of Thomson's "Castle of
WITHIN our happy castle there dwelt one
Whom without blame I may not overlook ;
For never sun on living creature shone
Whom more devout enjoyment with us took :
Here on his hours he hung as on a book ;
On his own time here would he float away,
As doth a fly upon a summer brook ;
But go to-morrow-or belike to-day-
Seek for him,-he is fled ; and whither none can say.
Thus often would he leave our peaceful home,
And find elsewhere his business or delight;
Out of our valley's limits did he roam :
Full many a time, upon a stormy night,
His voice came to us from the neighbouring height :
Oft did we see him driving full in view,
At mid-day, when the sun was shining bright;
What ill was on him, what he had to do,
A mighty wonder bred among our quiet crew.
Ah ! piteous sight it was to see this man
When he came back to us, a wither'd flower,
Or like a sinful creature, pale and wan.
Down would he sit; and without strength or power
Look at the common grass from hour to hour :
And oftentimes, how long I fear to say,
Where apple-trees in blossom made a bower,
Retired in that sunshiny shade he lay ;
And, like a naked Indian, slept himself away.
Great wonder to our gentle tribe it was
Whenever from our valley he withdrew;
For happier soul no living creature has
Than he had, being here the long day through.
Some thought he was a lover, and did woo :
Some thought far worse of him, and judged him wrong :
But verse was what he had been wedded to;
And his own mind did like a tempest strong
Come to him thus, and drove the weary wight along.
With him there often walked in friendly guise,
Or lay upon the moss by brook or tree,
A noticable man with large gray eyes,
And a pale face that seemed undoubtedly
As if a blooming face it ought to be ;
Heavy his low-hung lip did oft appear,
Depressed by weight of musing phantasy ;
Profound his forehead was, though not severe ;
Yet some did think that he had little business here :
Sweet heaven forefend ! his was a lawful right ;
Noisy he was, and gamesome as a boy;
His limbs would toss about him with delight
Like branches when strong winds the trees annoy.
Nor lacked his calmer hours device or toy
To banish listlessness and irksome care ;
He would have taught you how you might employ
Yourself; and many did to him repair,-
And, certes, not in vain ; he had inventions rare.
Expedients, too, of simplest sort he tried :
Long blades of grass, plucked round him as he lay,
Made-to his ear attentively applied
A pipe on which the wind would deftly play-
Glasses he had, that little things display,
The beetle with his radiance manifold,
A mailèd angel on a battle-day ;
And cups of flowers, and herbage green and gold :
And all the gorgeous sights which fairies do behold.
He would entice that other man to hear
His music and to view his imagery :
And, sooth, these two did love each other dear
As far as love in such a place could be ;
There did they dwell—from earthly labour free,
As happy spirits as were ever seen :
If but a bird, to keep them company,
Or butterfly sate down, they were, I ween,
As pleased as if the same had been a maiden queen.
“STRANGE FITS OF PASSION I HAVE KNOWN.”
STRANGE fits of passion I have known :
And I will dare to tell,
But in the lover's ear alone,
What once to me befell.
When she I loved was strong and gay,
And like a rose in June,
I to her cottage bent my way,
Beneath the evening moon.
Upon the moon I fixed my eye,
All over the wide lea :
My horse trudged on-and we drew nigh
Those paths so dear to me.
And now we reached the orchard plot ;
And, as we climbed the hill,
Towards the roof of Lucy's cot
The moon descended still.
In one of those sweet dreams I slept,
Kind Nature's gentlest boon !
And, all the while, my eyes I kept
On the descending moon.
My horse moved on; hoof after hoof
He raised and never stopped :
When down behind the cottage roof,
At once the bright moon dropped.
What fond and wayward thoughts will slide Into a lover's head ! “O mercy !” to myself I cried, “If Lucy should be dead !"