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This Striding-place is called THE STRID,
A name which it took of yore:
A thousand years hath it borne that name,
And shall a thousand more.
And hither is young Romilly come,
And what may now forbid
That he, perhaps for the hundredth time, Shall bound across THE STRID?
He sprang in glee,-for what cared he
That the River was strong, and the rocks were steep?
-But the Greyhound in the leash hung back,
And checked him in his leap.
The Boy is in the arms of Wharf,
And strangled by a merciless force;
For never more was young Romilly seen
Till he rose a lifeless Corse.
Now there is stillness in the Vale, And deep unspeaking sorrow: Wharf shall be to pitying hearts A name more sad than Yarrow.
If for a Lover the Lady wept,
A solace she might borrow
From death, and from the passion of death;-
Old Wharf might heal her sorrow.
She weeps not for the wedding-day
Which was to be to-morrow:
Her hope was a farther-looking hope,
And hers is a Mother's sorrow.
He was a Tree that stood alone, And proudly did its branches wave; And the Root of this delightful Tree Was in her Husband's grave!
Long, long in darkness did she sit,
And her first words were, «Let there be
In Bolton, on the Field of Wharf,
A stately Priory!»>
The stately Priory was reared;
And Wharf, as he moved along,
To Matins joined a mournful voice,
Nor failed at Even-song.
And the Lady prayed in heaviness
That looked not for relief!
But slowly did her succour come,
And a patience to her grief.
Oh! there is never sorrow of heart
That shall lack a timely end,
If but to God we turn, and ask
Of Him to be our Friend!
A FACT, AND AN IMAGINATION; OR, CANUTE AND ALFRED.
Tug Danish Conqueror, on his royal chair, Mustering a face of haughty sovereignty,
To aid a covert purpose, cried-« O ye
Approaching waters of the deep, that share
With this green isle my fortunes, come not where
Your Master's throne is set!»-Absurd decree!
A mandate uttered to the foaming sea
Is to its motion less than wanton air.
-Then Canute, rising from the invaded Throne,
Said to his servile Courtiers, «Poor the reach,
The undisguised extent, of mortal sway!
Ile only is a king, and he alone
Deserves the name (this truth the billows preach)
Whose everlasting law, sea, earth, and heaven obey.»
This just reproof the prosperous Dane
Drew, from the influx of the Main,
For some whose rugged northern mouths would strain
At oriental flattery;
And Canute (truth more worthy to be known)
From that time forth did for his brows disown
The ostentatious symbol of a Crown;
Esteeming earthly royalty
Contemptible and vain.
Now hear what one of elder days, Rich theme of England's fondest praise, Iler darling Alfred, might have spoken; To cheer the remnant of his host When he was driven from coast to coast, Distressed and harassed, but with mind unbroken: My faithful Followers, lo! the tide is spent;
That rose, and steadily advanced to fill
The shores and channels, working Nature's will
Among the mazy streams that backward went,
And in the sluggish pools where ships are pent:
And now, its task performed, the Flood stands still
At the green base of many an inland hill,
In placid beauty and sublime content!
Such the repose that Sage and Hero find;
Such measured rest the sedulous and good
Of humbler name; whose souls do, like the flood
Of Ocean, press right on; or gently wind,
Neither to be diverted nor withstood,
Until they reach the bounds by Heaven assigned.»>
To run before him, hath enrolled me yet,
Though not unmenaced, among those who lean
Upon a living staff, with borrowed sight..
-O my Antigone, beloved child!
Should that day come-but hark! the birds salute
The cheerful dawn, brightening for me the east;
For me, thy natural Leader, once again
Impatient to conduct thee, not as erst
A tottering Infant, with compliant stoop
From flower to flower supported; but to curb
Thy nymph-like step swift-bounding o'er the lawn,
Along the loose rocks, or the slippery verge
Of foaming torrent.-From thy orisons
Come forth; and, while the morning air is yet
Transparent as the soul of innocent youth,
Let me, thy happy Guide, now point thy way,
And now precede thee, winding to and fro,
Till we by perseverance gain the top
Of some smooth ridge, whose brink precipitous
Kindles intense desire for powers withheld
From this corporeal frame; whereon who stands,
Is seized with strong incitement to push forth
His arms, as swimmers use, and plunge-dread thought!
For pastime plunge-into the « abrupt abyss,»
Where Ravens spread their plumy vans, at ease!
The anxieties of human love, And earth's precarious days.
And yet more gladly thee would I conduct
Through woods and spacious forests,-to behold
There, how the Original of human art,
Пleaven-prompted Nature, measures and erects
Her temples, fearless for the stately work,
Though waves in every breeze its high-arched roof,
And storms the pillars rock. But we such schools
Of reverential awe will chiefly seek
In the still summer noon, while beams of light,
Reposing here, and in the aisles beyond
Traceably gliding through the dusk, recall
To mind the living presences of Nuns;
A gentle, pensive, white-robed sisterhood,
Whose saintly radiance mitigates the gloom
Of those terrestrial fabrics, where they serve,
To Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, espoused.
Now also shall the page of classic lore, To these glad eyes from bondage freed, again Lie open; and the book of Holy Writ, Again unfolded, passage clear shall yield To heights more glorious still, and into shades More awful, where advancing hand in hand We may be taught, O Darling of my care! To calm the affections, elevate the soul, And consecrate our lives to truth and love.
THE Sylvan slopes with corn-clad fields
Are hung, as if with golden shields,
Bright trophies of the sun!
Like a fair sister of the sky,
Unruffled doth the blue Lake lic,
The Mountains looking on.
And, sooth to say, yon vocal Grove,
Albeit uninspired by love,
By love untaught to ring,
May well afford to mortal ear
An impulse more profoundly dear
Than music of the Spring.
For that from turbulence and heat Proceeds, from some uneasy seat In Nature's struggling frame, Some region of impatient life; And jealousy, and quivering strife, Therein a portion claim.
This, this is holy;-while I hear These vespers of another year, This hymn of thanks and praise, My spirit seems to mount above
But list!-though winter storms be nigh,
Unchecked is that soft harmony:
There lives Who can provide
For all his creatures; and in Him,
Even like the radiant Seraphim,
These Choristers confide.
UPON THE SAME OCCASION. DEPARTING Summer hath assumed An aspect tenderly illumed, The gentlest look of Spring; That calls from yonder leafy shade Unfaded, yet prepared to fade, A timely caroling.
No faint and hesitating trill,
Such tribute as to Winter chill
The lonely redbreast pays!
Clear, loud, and lively is the din,
From social warblers gathering in
Their harvest of sweet lays.
Nor doth the example fail to cheer
Me, conscious that my leaf is sere,
And yellow on the bough:-
Fall, rosy garlands, from head!
Ye myrtle wreaths, your fragrance shed
Around a younger brow!
Yet will I temperately rejoice;
Wide is the range, and free the choice Of undiscordant themes;
Which, haply, kindred souls may prize Not less than vernal ecstasies,
And passion's feverish dreams.
For deathless powers to verse belong,
And they like Demi-gods are strong
On whom the Muses smile;
But some their function have disclaimed,
Best pleased with what is aptliest framed
To enervate and defile.
Not such the initiatory strains Committed to the silent plains In Britain's earliest dawn:
Trembled the groves, the stars grew pale,
While all too-daringly the veil
Of Nature was withdrawn!
Nor such the spirit-stirring note
When the live chords Alcæus smote,
Inflamed by sense of wrong;
Woe! woe to Tyrants! from the lyre
Broke threateningly, in sparkles dire
Of fierce vindictive song.
And not unhallowed was the page
By winged Love inscribed, to assuage
The pangs of vain pursuit;
Love listening while the Lesbian Maid
With finest touch of passion swayed ller own Eolian lute.
O ye who patiently explore
The wreck of Herculanean lore,
What rapture! could ye seize
Some Theban fragment, or unroll
One precious, tender-hearted scroll
That were, indeed, a genuine birth Of poesy; a bursting forth
Of Genius from the dust:
What Horace gloried to behold, What Maro loved, shall we enfold? Can haughty Time be just!
THE PILLAR OF TRAJAN.
WHERE Towers are crushed, and unforbidden weeds
O'er mutilated arches shed their seeds;
And Temples, doomed to milder change, unfold
A new magnificence that vies with old;
Firm in its pristine majesty hath stood
A votive column, spared by fire and flood;-
And, though the passions of Man's fretful race
ilave never ceased to eddy round its base,
Not injured more by touch of meddling hands
Than a lone Obelisk, 'mid Nubian sands,
Or aught in Syrian deserts left to save,
From death the memory of the Good and Brave.
Historic figures round the shaft embost
Ascend, with lineaments in air not lost:
Still as he turns, the charmed Spectator sees
Group winding after group with dream-like ease;
Triumphs in sunbright gratitude displayed,
Or softly stealing into modest shade.
-So, pleased with purple clusters to entwine Some lofty elm-tree, mounts the daring vine; The woodbine so, with spiral grace, and breathes Wide-spreading odours from her flowery wreaths.
Borne by the Muse from rills in shepherds' ears
Murmuring but one smooth story for all years,
I gladly commune with the mind and heart
Of him who thus survives by classic art,
His actions witness, venerate his mien,
And study Trajan as by Pliny seen;
Behold how fought the Chief whose conquering sword
Stretched far as Earth might own a single lord;
In the delight of moral prudence schooled,
How feelingly at home the Sovereign ruled;
Best of the good-in Pagan faith allied
To more than Man, by virtue deified.
Memorial Pillar! 'mid the wrecks of Time Preserve thy charge with confidence sublimeThe exultations, pomps, and cares of Rome, Whence half the breathing world received its doom; Things that recoil from language; that, if shewn by apter pencil, from the light had flown. A Pontiff, Trajan here the Gods implores, There greets an Embassy from Indian shores; Lo! he harangues his cohorts-there the storm Of battle meets him in authentic form'
FAIR is the Swan, whose majesty, prevailing
O'er breezeless water, on Locarno's lake,
Bears him on while proudly sailing
He leaves behind a moon-illumined wake:
Behold the mantling spirit of reserve
Fashions his neck into a goodly curve;
An arch thrown back between luxuriant wings
Of whitest garniture, like fir-tree boughs
To which, on some unruffled morning, clings
A flaky weight of winter's purest snows!
-Behold!-as with a gushing impulse heaves
That downy prow, and softly cleaves
The mirror of the crystal flood,
Vanish inverted hill, and shadowy wood,
And pendant rocks, where'er, in gliding state,
Winds the mute Creature without visible Mate
Or rival, save the Queen of night
Showering down a silver light,
From heaven, upon her chosen favourite!
So pure, so bright, so fitted to embrace,
Where'er he turned, a natural grace
Of haughtiness without pretence,
And to unfold a still magnificence,
Was princely Dion, in the power
And beauty of his happier hour.
Nor less the homage that was seen to wait
On Dion's virtues, when the lunar beam
Of Plato's genius, from its lofty sphere,
Fell round him in the grove of Academe,
Softening their inbred dignity austere ;-
That he, not too elate
With self-sufficing solitude,
But with majestic lowliness endued,
Might in the universal bosom reign, And from affectionate observance gain Help, under every change of adverse fate.
Five thousand warriors-O the rapturous day!
Each crowned with flowers, and armed with spear and
Or ruder weapon which their course might yield,
To Syracuse advance in bright array.
Who leads them on?-The anxious People see
Long-exiled Dion marching at their head,
He also crowned with flowers of Sicily,
And in a white, far-beaming, corslet clad!
Pure transport undisturbed by doubt or fear
The Gazers feel; and, rushing to the plain,
Salute those Strangers as a holy train
Or blest procession (to the Immortals dear)
That brought their precious liberty again.
Lo! when the gates are entered, on each hand,
Down the long street, rich goblets filled with wine
In seemly order stand;
On tables set, as if for rites divine ;
Like Auster whirling to and fro,
His force on Caspian foam to try;
Or Boreas when he scours the snow
That skins the plains of Thessaly,
Or when aloft on Mænalus he stops
His flight, mid eddying pine-tree tops!
Which Dion learned to measure with delight;
But he hath overleaped the eternal bars;
And, following guides whose craft holds no consent
With aught that breathes the ethereal element,
Hath stained the robes of civil power with blood,
Unjustly shed, though for the public good.
Whence doubts that came too late, and wishes vain,
Hollow excuses, and triumphant pain;
And oft his cogitations sink as low
As, through the abysses of a joyless heart,
The heaviest plummet of despair can go ;
But whence that sudden check? that fearful start!
He hears an uncouth sound-
Anon his lifted eyes
Saw at a long-drawn gallery's dusky bound,
A Shape of more than mortal size
And hideous aspect, stalking round and round!
A woman's garb the Phantom wore,
And fiercely swept the marble floor,-
So, but from toil less sign of profit reaping,
The sullen Spectre to her purpose bowed,
pause admitted, no design avowed!
<< Avaunt, inexplicable Guest!-avaunt,a
Exclaimed the Chieftain—« Let me rather see
The coronal that coiling vipers make;
The torch that flames with many a lurid flake,
And the long train of doleful pageantry
Which they behold, whom vengeful Furies haunt,
Who, while they struggle from the scourge to flee,
Move where the blasted soil is not unworn,
And, in their anguish, bear what other minds have borne'
But Shapes that come not at an earthly call,
Will not depart when mortal voices bid;
Lords of the visionary Eye whose lid
Once raised, remains aghast and will not fall!
Ye Gods, thought He, that servile Implement
Obeys a mystical intent!
Your Minister would brush away
The spots that to my soul adhere;
But should she labour night and day,
They will not, cannot disappear;
Whence angry perturbations,—and that look
Which no Philosophy can brook!
Ill-fated Chief! there are whose hopes are built
Upon the ruins of thy glorious name;
Who, through the portal of one moment's guilt,
Pursue thee with their deadly aim!
O matchless perfidy! portentous lust
Of monstrous crime!-that horror-striking blade,
Drawn in defiance of the Gods, hath laid
The noble Syracusan low in dust!
Shudder the walls-the marble city wept-
And sylvan places heaved a pensive sigh;
But in calm peace the appointed Victim slept,
Mourn, hills and groves of Attica! and mourn
Illyssus, bending o'er thy classic urn!
Mourn, and lament for him whose spirit dreads
Your once-sweet memory, studious walks and shades!
For him who to divinity aspired,
Not on the breath of popular applause,
But through dependence on the sacred laws
Framed in the schools where Wisdom dwelt retired,
Intent to trace the ideal path of right
(More fair than heaven's broad causeway paved with As he had fallen in magnanimity:
Of spirit too capacious to require
That Destiny her course should change; too just
To his own native greatness to desire
That wretched boon, days lengthened by mistrust.
So were the hopeless troubles, that involved
The soul of Dion, instantly dissolved,
Released from life and cares of princely state,
He left this moral grafted on his Fate,
<< Him only pleasure leads, and peace attends,
Him, only him, the shield of Jove defends,
Whose means are fair and spotless as his ends.»
A PEN-to register; a key-
That winds through secret wards;
Are well assigned to Memory
By allegoric Bards.