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As fair before me shall behold
As I do now, 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,
Among 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 ;--
Į 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.
THE REVERIE OF POOR SUSAN At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears, Hangs a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three
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 of Cheapside. Green pastures she views in the midst of 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 eyes !
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.
For by permission and command Of thine own Prince Ferdinand, Poor Ariel sends this silent token Of more than ever can be spoken ; Your guardian spirit, Ariel, who From life to life must still pursue Your happiness, for thus alone Can Ariel ever find his own. From Prospero's enchanted cell, As the mighty verses tell, To the throne of Naples he Lit you o'er the trackless sea, Flitting on, your prow before, Like a living meteor. When you die, the silent Moon In her interlunar swoon Is not sadder in her cell Than deserted Ariel :When you live again on earth, Like an unseen Star of birth Ariel guides you o'er the sea Of life from your nativity :Many changes have been run Sincé Ferdinand and you begun Your course of love, and Ariel still Has track'd your steps and served your will. Now in humbler, happier lot, This is all remember'd not ; And now, alas ! the poor Sprite is Imprison'd for some fault of his In a body like a graveFrom you he only dares to crave, For his service and his sorrow A smile to day, a song to morrow.
The artist who this idol wrought
To echo all harmonious thought,
Fell'd a tree, while on the steep
The woods were in their winter sleep,
Rock'd in that repose divine
On the wind-swept Apennine ;
And dreaming, some of Autumn past,
And some of Spring approaching fast,
And some of April buds and showers,
And some of songs in July bowers,
And all of love: And so ihis tree,
Oh that such our death may be ! -
Died in sleep, and felt no pain,
To live in happier form again :
From which, beneath heaven's fairest star,
The artist wrought this loved Guitar ;
And taught it justly to reply
To all who question skilfully
In language gentle as thine own ;
Whispering in enamour'd tone
Sweet oracles of woods and dells,
And summer winds in sylvan cells :
-For it had learnt all harmonies
Of the plains and of the skies,
Of the forests and the mountains,
And the many-voicéd fountains;
The clearest echoes of the hills,
The softest notes of falling rills,
The melodies of birds and bees,
The murmuring of summer seas,
And pattering rain, and breathing dew,
And airs of evening; and it knew
That seldom-heard mysterious sound
Which, driven on its diurnal round,
As it floats through boundless day,
Our world enkindles on its way :
-All this it knows, but will not tell
To those who cannot question well
The Spirit that inhabits it ;
It talks according to the wit
Of its companions; and no more
Is heard than has been felt before
By those who tempt it to betray
These secrets of an elder day.
But, sweetly as its answers will
Flatter hands of perfect skill,
It keeps its highest holiest tone
For our beloved Friend alone.
P. B. Shelley
I wander'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee :---
A Poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company!
I gazed-and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought ;
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude ;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
With little here to do or see
Of things that in the great world be,
Sweet Daisy ! oft I talk to thee
For thou art worthy,
Thou unassuming Common-place
Of Nature, with that homely face,
And yet with something of a grace
Which Love makes for thee!