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Thrice twenty summers I have seen
The sky grow bright, the forest green ;
And many a wintry wind have stood
In bloomless, fruitless solitude,
Since childhood in my pleasant bower
First spent its sweet and sportive hour ;
Since youthful lovers in my shade
Their vows of truth and rapture made,
And on my trunk's surviving frame
Carved many a long-forgotten name.
Oh! by the sighs of gentle sound,
First breathed upon this sacred ground;
By all that Love has whispe;", here,
Or Beauty heard with ravish'l ear ;
As Love's own altar honour me :
Spare, woodman, spare the beechen tree !
ADMONITION TO A TRAVELLER
Yes, there is holy pleasure in thine eye !
-The lovely Cottage in the guardian nook
Hath stirr'd thee deeply; with its own dear brook,
Its own small pasture, almost its own sky!
But covet not the abode ; forbear to sigh
As many do, repining while they look ;
Intruders—who would tear from Nature's book
This precious leaf with harsh impiety.
- Think what the home must be if it were thine,
Even thine, though few thy wants !-- Roof, rindow.
The very flowers are sacred to the Poor,
The roses to the porch which they entwine :
Yea, all that now enchants thee, from the day
On which it should be touch'd, would melt away!
TO THE HIGHLAND GIRL OF
Sweet Highland Girl, a very shower
Of beauty is thy earthly dower !
Twice seven consenting years have shed
Their utmost bounty on thy head :
And these gray rocks, that household lawn,
I hose trees--a veil just half withdrawn,
This fall of water that doth make
A murmur near the silent lake,
This little bay, a quiet road
That holds in shelter thy abode ;
In truth together ye do seem
Like something fashion'd in a dream ;
Such forms as from their covert peep
When earthly cares are laid asleep!
But O fair Creature ! in the light
Of common day, so heavenly bright,
I bless Thee, Vision as thou art,
I bless thee with a human heart :
God shield thee to thy latest years!
Thee neither know I nor thy peers :
And yet my eyes are fill’d with tears.
With earnest feeling I shall pray
For thee when I am far away ;
For never saw I mien or face
In which more plainly I could trace
Benignity and home-bred sense
Ripening in perfect innocence.
Here scatter'd, like a random seed,
Remote from men, Thou dost not need
The embarrass'd look of shy distress,
And maidenly shamefacédness :
Thou wear'st upon thy forehead clear
The freedom of a Mountaineer :
A face with gladness overspread;
Soft smiles, by human kindness bred ;
And seemliness complete, that sways
Thy courtesies, about thee plays;
With no restraint, but such as springs
From quick and eager visitings
Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach
Of thy few words of English speech :
A bondage sweetly brook'd, a strife
That gives thy gestures grace and life !
So have I, not unmoved in mind,
Seen birds of tempest-loving kind-
Thus beating up against the wind.
What hand but would a garland cull
For thee who art so beautiful ?
O happy pleasure ! here to dwell
Beside thee in some heathy dell ;
Adopt your homely ways, and dress,
A shepherd, thou a shepherdess !
But I could frame a wish for thee
More like a grave reality :
Thou art to me but as a wave
Of the wild sea : and I would have
Some claim upon thee, if I could,
Though but of common neighbourhood.
What joy to hear thee, and to see !
Thy elder brother I would be,
Thy father-anything to thee.
Now thanks to Heaven ! that of its grace
Hath led me to this lonely place :
Joy have I had ; and going hence
Í bear away my recompence.
In spots like these it is we prize
Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes :
Then why should I be loth to stir ?
I feel this place was made for her ;
To give new pleasure like the past,
Continued long as life shall last.
Nor am I loth, though pleased at heart,
Sweet Highland Girl ! from thee to part;
For I, methinks, till I grow old
As fair before me shall behold
As I do the cabin small,
The lake, the bay, the waterfall ;
And Thee, the Spirit of them all !
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass !
Reaping and singing by herself ;
Stop here, or gently pass !
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen ! for the vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Ainong Arabian sands :
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the cuckoo bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago :
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again!
Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending ;-
I listen'd, motionless and still ;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore
Long after it was heard no more.
CCXCIX THE REVERIE OF POOR SUSAN At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears, Hangs a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for threr
years : Poor Susan has pass’d by the spot, and has heard In the silence of morning the song of the bird. 'Tis a note of enchantment ; what ails her? She sees A mountain ascending, a vision of trees ; Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide, And a river flows on through the vale cf Cheapside. Green pastures she views in the midst nf the dale Down which she so often has tripp'd with her pail; And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's, The one only dwelling on earth that she loves. She looks, and her heart is in heaven : but they fade, The mist and the river, the hill and the shade ; The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise, And the colours have all pass'd away from her yes !
TO A LADY, WITH A GUITAR
Ariel to Miranda :-Take
This slave of music, for the sake
Of him, who is the slave of thee;
And teach it all the harmony
In which thou canst, and only thou,
Make the delighted spirit glow,
Till joy denies itself again
And, too intense, is turn'd to pain.