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Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare ;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal-yet, do not grieve; She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! Ah, happy, happy boughs ! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu ;
And, happy melodist, unweariéd,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love !
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young ;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice ?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest ?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn ?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. O Attic shape ! Fair attitude ! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral !
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,'—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
YOUTH AND AGE
Verse, a breeze 'mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee-
Both were mine ! Life went a-maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,
When I was young!
When I was young ?-Ah, woful when !
Ah ! for the change 'twixt Now and Then!
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O’er aery cliffs and glittering sands
How lightly then it flash'd along :
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide !
Nought cared this body for wind or weather
When Youth and I lived in't together.
Flowers are lovely ; Love is flower-like ;
Friendship is a sheltering tree;
O! the joys, that came down shower-like,
Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,
Ere I was old !
Ere I was old? Ah woful Ere,
Which tells me, Youth's no longer here !
O Youth ! for years so many and sweet,
'Tis known that Thou and I were one,
I'll think it but a a fond conceit-
It cannot be, that Thou art gone !
Thy vesper-bell hath not yet tolld :-
And thou wert aye a masker bold !
What strange disguise hast now put on
To make believe that Thou art gone?
I see these locks in silvery slips,
This drooping gait, this alter'd size :
But Springtide blossoms on thy lips,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes !
Life is but Thought : so think I will
That Youth and I are house-mates still.
Dew-drops are the gems of morning,
But the tears of mournful eve!
Where no hope is, life's a warning
That only serves to make us grieve
When we are old :
-That only serves to make us grieve
With oft and tedious taking-leave,
Like some poor nigh-related guest
That may not rudely be dismist,
Yet hath out-stay'd his welcome while,
And tells the jest without the smile.
S. T. Coleridge
We walk'd along, while bright and red
Uprose the morning sun ;
And Matthew stopp'd, he look'd, and said
“The will of God be done !
A village schoolmaster was he,
With hair of glittering gray;
As blithe a man as you could see
On a spring holiday.
And on that morning, through the grass
And by the steaming rills
We traveli'd merrily, to pass
A day among the hills.
• Our work,' said I, was well begun ;
Then, from thy breast what thought,
Beneath so beautiful a sun,
So sad a sigh has brought?'
A second time did Matthew stop;
And fixing still his eye
Upon the eastern mountain-top,
To me he made reply:
'Yon cloud with that long purple cleft
Brings fresh into my mind
A day like this, which I have left
Full thirty years behind.
“And just above yon slope of corn
Such colours, and no other,
Were in the sky that April morn,
Of this the very brother.
• With rod and line I sued the sport
Which that sweet season gave,
And to the church-yard come, stopp'd short
Beside my daughter's grave.
• Nine summers had she scarcely seen,
The pride of all the vale ;
And then she sang, -she would have been
A very nightingale.
"Six feet in earth my Emma lay;
And yet I loved her more-
For so it seem'd, -than till that day
I e'er had loved before.
"And turning from her grave, I met,
Beside the churchyard yew,
A blooming Girl, whose hair was wet
With points of morning dew.
"A basket on her head she bare ;
Her brow was smooth and white :
To see a child so very fair,
It was a pure delight !
No fountain from its rocky cave
E’er tripp'd with foot so free ;
She seem'd as happy as a wave
That dances on the sea.
*There came from me a sigh of pain
Which I could ill confine;
I look'd at her, and look'd again :
And did not wish her mine!
-Matthew is in his grave, yet now
Methinks I see him stand
As at that moment, with a bough
Of wilding in his hand.
We talk'd with open heart, and tongue
Affectionate and true,
A pair of friends, though I was young,
And Matthew seventy-two.
We lay beneath a spreading oak,
Beside a mossy seat ;
And from the turf a fountain broke
And gurgled at our feet.
“Now, Matthew !' said I, 'let us match
This water's pleasant tune
With some old border-song, or catch
That suits a summer's noon ;
Or of the church-clock and the chimes
Sing here beneath the shade
That half-mad thing of witty rhymes
Which you last April made!'
In silence Matthew lay, and eyed
The spring beneath the tree;
And thus the dear old man replied,
The gray-hair'd man of glee :
No check, no stay, this Streamlet fears,
How merrily it goes !
'Twill murmur on a thousand years
And flow as now it flows.