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CCCXXIII

NATURE AND THE POET

Suggested by a Picture of Peele 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.

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’ıl.
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 ;
This sea in 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 DREAM

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.
IIe 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!

P. 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,
Have 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. IVortsworth.

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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