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All this long eve, so balmy and serene, Have I been gazing on the western sky,
And its peculiar tint of yellow green:
I see them all so excellently fair,
I see, not feel how beautiful they are!
My genial spirits fail;
And what can these avail,
To lift the smothering weight from off my breast?
It were a vain endeavour,
Though I should gaze for ever
On that green light that lingers in the west :
I may not hope from outward forms to win
The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.
O Lady! we receive but what we give,
And would we aught behold, of higher worth,
Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth,
And from the soul itself must there be sent
A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth, Of all sweet sounds the life and element.
O pure of heart! thou need'st not ask of me
This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist,
Joy, virtuous Lady! Joy that ne'er was given,
A new Earth and new Heaven,
Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud-
And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight,
All colours a suffusion from that light.
There was a time when, though my path was rough,
Whence Fancy made me dreams of happiness:
And fruits, and foliage, not my own, seemed mine. But now afflictions bow me down to earth: Nor care I that they rob me of my mirth,
But oh! each visitation
Suspends what nature gave me at my birth,
For not to think of what I needs must feel,
From my own nature all the natural manThis was my sole resource, my only plan : Till that which suits a part infects the whole, And now is almost grown the habit of my soui.
Hence, viper thoughts, that coil around my mind,
I turn from you, and listen to the wind,
Which long has raved unnoticed. What a scream
That lute sent forth! Thou Wind, that ravest without,
Thou Actor, perfect in all tragic sounds!
What tell'st thou now about?
'Tis of the rushing of a host in rout,
With groans of trampled men, with smarting wounds— At once they groan with pain, and shudder with the cold! But hush! there is a pause of deepest silence!
And all that noise, as of a rushing crowd,
With groans and tremulous shudderings-all is over-
And tempered with delight,
As Otway's self had framed the tender lay
'Tis of a little child
Upon a lonesome wild,
Not far from home, but she hath lost her way:
And now moans low in bitter grief and fear.
And now screams loud, and hopes to make her mother hear.
'Tis midnight, but small thoughts have I of sleep:
And may this storm be but a mountain-birth,
Gay fancy, cheerful eyes,
Joy lift her spirit, Joy attune her voice:
To her may all things live, from pole to pole,
O simple spirit, guided from above,
Dear Lady! friend devoutest of my choice,
SONNET. COMPOSED ON A JOURNEY HOMEWARD; THE AUTHOR HAVING RECEIVED INTELLIGENCE OF THE BIRTH OF A SON, SEPT. 20, 1796.
Oft o'er my brain does that strange fancy roll
Which makes the present (while the flash doth last)
Thou wert a spirit, to this nether sphere
Did'st scream, then spring to meet Heaven's quick reprieve, While we wept idly o'er thy little bier!
FIRST PART OF CHRISTABEL,
'Tis the middle of night by the castle clock, And the owls have awaken'd the crowing cock, Tu-whit!-Tu-whoo!
And hark, again! the crowing cock,
Sir Leoline, the Baron rich,
Hath a toothless mastiff bitch;
From her kennel beneath the rock
She maketh answer to the clock,
Four for the quarters, and twelve for the hour;
Is the night chilly and dark?
It covers but not hides the sky.
The moon is behind, and at the full;
The lovely lady, Christabel,
Whom her father loves so well,
What makes her in the wood so late,
And she in the midnight wood will pray