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CCCXXIII

NATURE AND THE POET

Suggested by a Picture of Pecle Castle in a Storm,

painted by Sir George Beaumont
I was thy neighbour once, thou rugged Pile !
Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of thee :
I saw thee every day; and all the while
Thy Form was sleeping on a glassy sea.
So pure the sky, so quiet was the air !
So like, so very like, was day to day !
Whene'er I look'd, thy image still was there ;
It trembled, but it never pass'd away.
How perfect was the calm! It seem'd no sleep,
No mood, which season takes away, or brings :
I could have fancied that the mighty Deep
Was even the gentlest of all gentle things.

Ah! then-if mine had been the painter's hand
To express what then I saw ; and add the gleam,

;
The light that never was on sea or land,
The consecration, and the Poet's dream,-
I would have planted thee, thou hoary pile,
Amid a world how different from this !
Beside a sea that could not cease to smile ;
On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss.
Thou shouldst have seem'd a treasure-house divine
Of peaceful years ; a chronicle of heaven ;-
Of all the sunbeams that did ever shine
The very sweetest had to thee been given.
A picture had it been of lasting ease,
Elysian quiet, without toil or strife ;
No motion but the moving tide ; a breeze ;
Or merely silent Nature's breathing life.

This sea

in

Such, in the fond illusion of my heart,
Such picture would I at that time have made;
And seen the soul of truth in every part,
A steadfast peace that might not be betray’d.
So once it would have been, —’tis so no more ;
I have submitted to a new control :
A power is gone, which nothing can restore ;
A deep distress hath humanized my soul.
Not for a moment could I now behold
A smiling sea, and be what I have been :
The feeling of my loss will ne'er be old ;
This, which I know, I speak with mind serene.
Then, Beaumont, Friend ! who would have been the

friend
If he had lived, of Him whom I deplore,
This work of thine I blame not, but commend ;

anger, and that dismal shore.
() 'tis a passionate work !-yet wise and well,
Well chosen is the spirit that is here ;
That hulk which labours in the deadly swell,
This rueful sky, this pageantry of fear !
And this huge Castle, standing here sublime,
I love to see the look with which it braves,
-Cased in the unfeeling armour of old time-
The lightning, the fierce wind, and trampling waves.

-Farewell, farewell the heart that lives alone,
Housed in a dream, at distance from the Kind!
Such happiness, wherever it be known,
Is to be pitied; for 'tis surely blind.
But welcome fortitude, and patient cheer,
And frequent sights of what is to be borne !
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here :--
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn.

W. Wordsworth

CCCXXIV

THE POET'S DREANI

On a Poet's lips I slept
Dreaming like a love-adept
In the sound his breathing kept ;
Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses,
But feeds on the aërial kisses
Of shapes that haunt Thought's wildernesses.
He will watch from dawn to gloom
The lake-reflected sun illume
The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom,

Nor heed nor see what things they be-
But from these create he can
Forms more real than living Man,
Nurslings of Immortality !

1. B. Shelley

CCCXXV

GLEN-ALMAIN, THE NARR'OIV GLEN
In this still place, remote from men,
Sleeps Ossian, in the Narrow Glen ;
In this still place, where murmurs on
But one meek streamlet, only one :
He sang of battles, and the breath
Of stormy war, and violent death;
And should, methinks, when all was past,
Hlave rightfully been laid at last
Where rocks were rudely heap'd, and rent
As by a spirit turbulent;
Where sights were rough, and sounds were wild,
And everything unreconciled ;
In some complaining, dim retreat,
For fear and melancholy meet ;
But this is calm ; there cannot be
A more entire tranquillity.

Does then the Bard sleep here indeed ?
Or is it but a groundless creed?
What matters it?-I blame them not
Whose fancy in this lonely spot
Was moved; and in such way express'd
Their notion of its perfect rest.
A convent, even a hermit's cell,
Would break the silence of this Dell :
It is not quiet, is not ease ;
But something deeper far than these :
The separation that is here
Is of the grave; and of austere
Yet happy feelings of the dead :
And, therefore, was it rightly said
That Ossian, last of all his race !
Lies buried in this lonely place.

W. Wordsworth

CCCXXVI

The World is too much with us ; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers ;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours
And are up-gather'd now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for every thing, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.-Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn,
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn ;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathéd horn.

W. IVordsworth.

CCCXXVII

WITHIN KING'S COLLEGE CHAPEL,

CAMBRIDGE

Tax not the royal Saint with vain expense,
With ill-match'd aims the Architect who plann'd
(Albeit labouring for a scanty band
Of white-robed Scholars only) this immense
And glorious work of fine intelligence !
-Give all thou canst ; high Heaven rejects the lore
Of nicely.calculated less or more :-
So deem'd the man who fashion’d for the sense
These lofty pillars, spread that branching roof
Self-poised, and scoop'd into ten thousand cells
Where light and shade repose, where music dwells
Lingering—and wandering on as loth to die;
Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof
That they were born for immortality.

W. IVordsworth

CCCXXVIII

ODE ON A GRECIAN URN

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,

Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express

A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme : What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both,

In Tempé or the dales of Arcady? What men or gods are these ? What maidens loth ? What mad pursuit ? What struggle to escape ?

What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on ; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,

Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone :

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