Изображения страниц

Could draw, when we had parted, vain

delight, While tears were thy best pastime, day

and night; “And while my youthful peers before

my eyes (Each hero following his peculiar bent) Prepared themselves for glorious enter

prise By martial sports,-or, seated in the

tent, Chieftains and kings in council were de

tained ; What time the fleet at Aulis lay en


been years ;

The wished-for wind was given :-I

then revolved The oracle, upon the silent sea ; And, if no worthier led the way, re

solved That, of a thousand vessels, mine should

be The foremost prow in pressing to the

strand, Mine the first blood that tinged the Tro

jan sand.

“ Yet bitter, oft-times bitter was the

pang When of thy loss I thought, beloved

Wife! On thee too fondly did my memory

hang, And on the joys we shared in mortal

life, The paths which we had trod-these

fountains, flowers, My new-planned cities, and unfinished


The invisible world with thee hath sym

pathized ; Be thy affections raised and solemnized. “Learn, by a mortal yearning, to as

cendSeeking a higher object. Love was

given, Encouraged, sanctioned, chiefly for that

end ; For this the passion to excess was

drivenThat self might be annulled : her bond

age prove The fetters of a dream, opposed to

love." Aloud she shrieked ! for Hermes reap

pears! Round the dear Shade slie would have

clung-t is vain : The hours are past-too brief had they And him no mortal effort can detain : Swift, toward the realms that know not

earthly day, He througl. the portal takes his silent

way, And on the palace-floor a lifeless corse

she lay. Thus, all in vain exhorted and reproved, She perished ; and, as for a wilful crime, By the just Gods whom no weak pity

moved, Was doomed to wear out her appointed

time, Apart from happy Ghosts, that gather

flowers Of blissful quiet 'mid unfading bowers. -Yet tears to human suffering are due ; And mortal hopes defeated and o'er

thrown Are mourned by man, and not by man

alone, As fondly he believes.-Upon the side Of Hellespont (such faith was enter

tained) A knot of spiry trees for ages grew From out the tomb of him for whom she

died ; And ever, when such stature they had

gained That Ilium's walls were subject to their

view, The trees' tall summits withered at the

sight : A constant interchange of growth and blight!

1814. 1815.

“But should suspense permit the Foe to

cry, • Behold they tremble !-haughty their

array, Yet of their number no one dares to

die ?' In soul I swept the indignity away: Old frailties then recurred :--but lofty

thought, In act embodied, my deliverance

wrought. “And Thou, though strong in love, art

all too weak In reason, in self-government too slow ; I counsel thee by fortitude to seek Our blest re-union in the shades below.



The unconquerable strength of love ; Bear witness, rueful Yarrow !


[ocr errors]

As mentioned in my verses on the death of the Ettrick Shepherd, my first visit to Yarrow was in his company. We had lodged the night be. fore at Traquhair, where Hogg had joined us

I seldom read or think of this poem without regretting that my dear Sister was not of the party, as she would have had so much delight in recalling the time when, travelling together in Scotland, we declined going in search of this celebrated stream, not altogether, I will frankly confess, for the reasons assigned in the poem on the occasion. (Wordsworth.)

But thou, that didst appear so fair
To fond imagination,
Dost rival in the light of day
Her delicate creation :
Meek loveliness is round thee spread,
A softness still and holy ;
The grace of forest charms decayed,
And pastoral melancholy.

[ocr errors]

And is this-Yarrow ?- This the Stream
Of which my fancy cherished,
So faithfully, a waking dream ?
An image that hath perished !
O that some Minstrel's harp were near,
To utter notes of gladness,
And chase this silence from the air,
That fills my heart with sadness!
Yet why?

-a silvery current flows
With uncontrolled meanderings;
Nor have these eyes by greener hills
Been soothed, in all my wanderings.
And, through her depths, Saint Mary's

Is visibly delighted ;
For not a feature of those hills
Is in the mirror slighted.

That region left, the vale unfolds
Rich groves of lofty stature,
With Yarrow winding through the

Of cultivated nature ;
And, rising from those lofty groves,
Behold a Ruin hoary !
The shattered front of Newark's Towers,
Renowned in Border story.
Fair scenes for childhood's opening

bloom, For sportive youth to stray in ; For manhood to enjoy his strength; And age to wear away in ! Yon cottage seems a bower of bliss, A covert for protection Of tender thoughts, that nestle thereThe brood of chaste affection.

A blue sky bends o'er Yarrow vale,
Save where that pearly whiteness
Is round the rising sun ditfused,
A tender hazy brightness;
Mild dawn of promise! that excludes
All profitless dejection ;
Though not unwilling here to admit
A pensive recollection.

How sweet, on this antumnal day,
The wild wood fruits to gather,
And on my True-love's forehead plant
A crest of blooming heather!
And what if I enwreathed my own!
'Twere no offence to reason;
The sober Hills thus deck their brows
To meet the wintry season.

[blocks in formation]

I see-but not by sight alone,
Loved Yarrow, have I won thee;
A ray of fancy still survives -
Her sunshine plays upon thee!
Thy ever-youthful waters keep
A course of lively pleasure ;
And gladsome notes my lips can breathe,
Accordant to the measure.
The vapors linger round the Heights,
They melt, and soon must vanish;
One hour is theirs, nor more is mine-
Sad thought, which I would banish,
But that I know, where'er I go,
Thy genuine image, Yarrow !
Will dwell with me-to heighten joy,
And cheer my mind in sorrow.

1814. 1815.



This was in fact suggested by my daughter Catherine long after her death. (Wordsworth.)

TO B. R. HAYDON B. R. Haydon, the painter, was for many years a friend of Wordsworth. On November 27, 181.3, Haydon wrote: "I have benefited and have been supported in the troubles of life by your poetry.

I will bear want, pain, misery, and blindress; but I will never yield one step I have gained on the road I am determined to travel over.' Wordsworth's answer to this letter was the following sonnet. High is our calling, Friend !--Creative

Art (Whether the instrument of words she

use, Or pencil pregnant with ethereal hues,) Demands the service of a mind and heart, Though sensitive, yet, in their weakest

part, Heroically fashioned-to infuse Faith in the whispers of the lonely Muse, While the whole world seems adverse to

desert. And, oh! when Nature sinks, as oft she

may, Through long-lived pressure of obscure

distress. Still to be strenuous for the bright re

ward, And in the soul admit of no decay, Brook no continuance of weak-minded

ness Great is the glory, for the strife is hard !

1815. 1816.

SURPRISED by joy-impatient as the

Wind I turned to share the transport-Oh!

with whom But Thee, deep buried in the silent tomb, That spot which no vicissitude can find ? Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my

mind But how could I forget thee? Through

what power, Even for the least division of an hour, Have I been so beguiled as to be blind To my most grievous loss? — That

thought's return Was the worst pang that sorrow ever

bore, Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn, Knowing my heart's best treasure was

no more; That neither present time, nor years un

born Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.

1815 , 1815.




HAST thou seen, with flash incessant,
Bubbles gliding under ice,
Bodied forth and evanescent,
No one knows by what device?
Such are thoughts !-A wind-swept

Mimicking a troubled sea,
Such is life; and death a shadow
From the rock eternity! 1818. 1820.

How clear, how keen, how marvellously

bright The effluence from yon distant mount

ain's head, Which, strewn with snow smooth as the

sky can shed, Shines like another sun-on mortal sight Uprisen, as if to check approaching

Night, And all her twinkling stars. Who now

would tread, lf so he might, yon mountain's glittering

head Terrestrial, but a surface, by the flight Of sad mortality's earth-sullying wing, Unswept, unstained ? Nor shall the

aërial Powers Dissolve that beauty, destined to endure, White, radiant, spotless, exquisitely

pure, Through all vicissitudes, till genial

Spring Has filled the laughing vales with wel

come flowers. 1815. 1816.


I Had this effulgence disappeared With flying haste, I might have sent, Among the speechless clouds, a look Of blank astonishment; But 'tis endued with power to stay, And sanctify one closing day, That frail Mortality may seeWhat is ?-ah no, but what can be ! Time was when field and watery cove

[merged small][ocr errors]

No sound is uttered, -but a deep
And solemn harmony pervatles
The hollow vale from steep to steep,
And penetrates the glades.
Far-distant images draw nigh,
Called forth by wondrous potency
Of beamy radiance, that imbues,
Whate'er it strikes, with gem-like hues!
In vision exquisitely clear,
Herds range along the mountain side;
And glistening antlers are descried ;
And gilded flocks appear.
Thine is the tranquil hour, purpureal

But long as god-like wish, or hope

divine, Informs my spirit, ne'er can I believe That this magnificence is wholly thine! --From worlds not quickened by the sun A portion of the gift is won; An intermingling of Heaven's pomp is

spread On ground which British shepherds

tread !

And if some traveller, weary of his road, Hath slept since noontide on the grassy

ground, Ye Genii! to his covert speed ; And wake him with such gentle keed As may attune his soul to meet the

dower Bestowed on this transcendent hour!

IV Such hues from their celestial Urn Were wont to stream before mine eye, Where'er it wandered in the morn Of blissful infancy. This glimpse of glory, why renewed ? Nay, rather speak with gratitude ; For, if a vestige of those gleams Survived, 'twas only in my dreams. Dread Power ! whom peace and calm

ness serve No less than Nature's threatening voice, If aught unworthy be my choice, From Thee if I would swerre; Oh, let thy grace remind me of the

light Full early lost, and fruitlessly deplored ; Which, at this moment, on my waking

sight Appears to shine, by miracle restored ; My soul, though yet confined to earth, Rejoices in a second birth ! —'Tis past, the visionary splendour

fades ; And night approaches with her shades,

1818. 1820.



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 carolling.

And, if there be whom broken tiet;
Allict, or injuries assail,
Yon hazy ridges to their eyes
Present a glorious scale,
Climbing suffused with sunny air,
To siop-no record hath told where!
And tempting Fancy to ascend,
And withi immortal Spirits blend!
- Wings at my shoulders seem to play ;
But, rooted here, I stand and gaze
On those bright steps that heavenward

raise Their practicable way. Come forth, ye drooping old men, look

abroad, And see to what fair countries ye are

bound !

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 bouglı :-
Fall, rosy garlands, from my head !
Ye myrtle wreaths, your fragrance shed
Around a younger brow !

I see what was, and is, and will abide ; Still glides the Stream, and shall for

ever glide ; The Form remains, the Function never

dies; While we, the brave, the mighty, and

the wise, We Men, who in our morn of youth de

fied The elements, must vanish ;- -be it so ! Enough, if something from our hands

have power To live, and act, and serve the future

hour; And if, as toward the silent tomb we

go, Through love, through hope, and faith's

transcendent dower, We feel that we are greater than we know.

1820 1820.

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-gouls are strong
On whom the Muses smile;
But some their function have dis-

claimed, 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 grores, 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 Her own Æolian lute. Oye, who patiently explore The wreck of Herculanean lore, What rapture ! could ye seize Some Theban fragment, or unroll One precious, tender-hearted, scroll Of pure Simonides. 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 !

1819. 1820.

MUTABILITY From low to high doth dissolution

climb, And sink from high to low, along a

scale Of awful notes, whose concord shall not

fail; A musical but melancholy chime, Which they can hear who meddle not

with crime, Nor avarice, nor over-anxious care. Truth fails not; but her outward forms

that bear The longest date do melt like frosty

rime, That in the morning whitened hill and

plain And is no more ; drop like the tower

sublime Of yesterday, which royally did wear His crown of weeds, but could not

sustain Some casual shout that broke the silent

air, Or the unimaginable touch of Time.

1821. 1822,



CHAPEL, CAMBRIDGE Tax not the royal Saint with vain ex

pense, With ill-matched aims the Architect

who plannedAlbeit laboring for a scanty band Of white-robed Scholars only--this im.

I THOUGHT of Thee, my partner and my

guide, As being past away.–Vain sympathies ! For, backward, Duddon, as I cast my



« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »