Изображения страниц

Hath he not always treasures, alway?

friends, The good great man? three treasures,

Love, and LIGHT, And CALM THOUGHTS, regular as infant's

breatlı : And three firm friends, more sure than

day and night, HIMSELF, his MAKER, and the ANGEL DEATH!

1802. September 23, 1802.


Ye lightnings, the dread arrows of the

clouds ! Ye signs and wonders of the element ! Utter forth God, and fill the hills with

praise ! Thou too, hoar Mount! with thy sky

pointing peaks, Oft from whose feet the avalanche, un

beard, Shoots downward, glittering through the

pure serene Into the depth of clouds, that veil thy

breastThou too again, stupendous Mountain !

thou That as I raise my head, a while bowed

low In adoration, upward from thy base Slow travelling with dim eyes suffused

with tears, Solemniy seemest, like a vapory cloud, To rise before me-Rise, O ever rise, Rise like a cloud of incense from the

Earth! Thou kingly Spirit throned among the

bills, Thou dread ambassador from Earth to

Heaven, Great Hierarch! tell thou the silent

sky, And tell the stars, and tell yon rising



Earth, with her thousand voices, praises GOD.

1802. September 11, 1802.

ERE on my bed my limbs I lay,
It hath not been my use to pray
With moving lips or bended knees ;
But silently, by slow degrees,
My spirit I to Love compose,
In humble trust mine eyelids close,
With reverential resignation,
No wish conceived, no thought exprest,
Only a sense of supplication;
A sense o'er all my soul imprest
That I am weak, yet not unblest,
Since in me, round me, everywhere
Eternal Strength and Wisdom are.
But yester-night I pray'd aloud
In anguish and in agony,
Up-starting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured
A lurid light, a trampling throng,
Sense of intolerable wrong,
And whom I scorned, those only strong!
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will
Still baffled, and yet burning still !
Desire with loathing strangely mixed
On wild or hateful objects fixed.
Fantastic passions ! maddening brawl !
And shame and terror over all !
Deeds to be hid which were not lid,
Which all confused I could not know
Whether I suffered, or I did :
For all seem'd guilt, remorse or woe,
My own or others still the same
Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame!
So two nights passed : the night's dis-

Saddened and stunned the coming day.
Sleep, the wide blessing, seemed to me
Distemper's worst calmity.
The third night, when my own loud

scream Had waked me from the fiendish dream O'ercome with sufferings strange and


[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

I wept as I had been a child :
And having thus by tears subdued
My anguish to a milder mood,
Such punishments, I said, were due
To natures deepliest stained with sin :
For aye entempesting anew
The unfathomable hell within
The horror of their deeds to view,
To know and loathe, yet wish and do!
Such griefs with such men well agree,
But wherefore, wherefore fall on me?
To be beloved is all I need,
And whom I love, I love indeed.

1803. 1816.




FRIEND of the wise! and Teacher of the

Good! Into my heart have I received that Lay More than historic, that prophetic Lay Wherein (high theme by thee first sung

arigbit) Of the foundations and the building up Of a Human Spirit thou hast dared to

tell What may be told, to the understanding

mind Revealable ; and what within the mind By vital breathings secret as the soul Of vernal growth, oft quickens in the

heart Thoughts all too deep for words !

Theme hard as high ! Of smiles spontaneous, and mysterious

fears (The first-born they of Reason and twin

birth), Of tides obedient to external force, And currents self-determined, as might

seem, Or by some inner Power; of moments

awful, Now in thy inner life, and now abroad, When power streamed from thee, and

thy soul received The light reflected, as a light bestowell-Of fancies fair, and milder hours of

youth, Hyblean murmurs of poetic thought Industrious in its joy, in vales and glens Native or outland, lakes and famous

hills! Or on the lonely high-road, when the


Of more than Fancy, of the Social Sense Distending wide, and man beloved as

man, Where France in all lier towns lay vi

brating Like some becalmed bark beneath the

burst Of Ileaven's immediate thunder, when

no cloud Is visible, or shadow on the main. For thou wert there, thine own brows

garlanded, Amid the tremor of a realm aglow, Amid a mighty nation jubilant, When from the general heart of human

kind Hope sprang forth like a full-born

-Of that dear Hope afflicted and

struck down, So summoned homeward, thenceforth

calın and sure From the dread watch-tower of man's

absolute self With light unwaning on her eyes, to

look Far on--herself a glory to behold, The angel of the vision! Then (last

strain) Of Duty, chosen Law's controlling choice, Action and joy !- An orphic song in

deed, A song divine of high and passionate

thoughts To their own music chanted !

O great Bard! Ere yet that last strain dying awed the

air, With steadfast eye I viewed thee in the

choir Of ever-enduring men. The truly great Have all one age, and from one visible

space Shed intluence! They, both in power

and act, Are perinanent, and Time is not with

them, Save as it worketh for them, they in it. Nor less a sacred Roll than those of old, And to be placed, as they, with gradual

fame Among the archives of mankind, thy



Makes audible a linked lay of Truth,
Of Truth profound a sweet continuous

lay, Not learnt, but native, her own natural

notes ! 1 Ah! as I listen'd with a heart forlorn, The pulses of my being beat anew : And even as life returns upon the

drowned, Life's joy rekindling roused a throng of

painsKeen pangs of Love, awakening as a

babe Turbulent, with an outcry in the heart; And fears self-willed, that shunned the

eye of hope ; And hope that scarce would know itself

from fear ; Sense of past youth, and manhood come

in vain, And genius given, and knowledge won

in vain ; And all which I had culled in wood.

walks wide, And all which patient toil had reared,

and all Commune with thee had opened out

but flowers Strewed on my corse, and borne upon

Strew'd before thy advancing !

Nor do thou, Sage Bard ! impair the memory of that

hour Of thy communion with my nobler

mind By pity or grief, already felt too long ! Nor let my words import more blame

than needs. The tumult rose and ceased : for Peace

is nigh Where wisdom's voice has found a

listening heart. Amid the howl of more than wintry

storms, The halcyon hears the voice of vernal

hours Already on the wing.

Eve following eve, Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense

of Home Is sweetest! moments for their own sake

hailed And more desired, more precious, for

thy song In silence listening, like a devout

child, My soul lay passive, by thy various

strain Driven as in surges now beneath the

stars, With momentary stars of my own

birth, Fair constellated foam, still darting off Into the darkness; a tranquil

sea, Outspread and bright, yet swelling to

the moon.

my bier,

In the same coffin, for the self-same

grave! That way no more! and ill beseems

it me,


Who came a welcomer in herald's guise,
Singing of glory, and futurity,
To wander back on such unhealthful

road, Plucking the poisons of self-harm! And

ill Such intertwine beseems triumphal


1 In place of this line and the next, there stood in the manuscript copy of January 1307 the following lines : Dear shall it be to every human heart, To me how more than dearest ! me, on whom Comfort from thee, and utterance of thy love, Came with such heights and depths of harmony. Such sense of wings unlifting, that its might Scatter'd and quell'd me, till my thoughts be.

came A bodily tumult; and thy faithful hopes, Thy hopes of ine, dear Friend, by me unfelt! Were troublous to me, almost as a voice, Familiar once, and more than musical; As a dear woman's voice to one cast forth, A wanderer with a worn-out heart forlorn, Mid strangers pining with untended wounds. O Friend, too well thou know'st, of what sad

years The long suppression had benumb'd my soul. ...

And when-O Friend ! my comforter

and guide! Strong in thyself, and powerful to give

strength!Thiy long sustained Song finally closed, And thy deep voice had ceased-yet

thou thyself Wert still before my eyes, and round us

both That happy vision of beloved facesScarce conscious, and yet conscious of

its close I sate, my being blended in one thought (Thought was it ? or aspiration ? or re

solve ?) Absorbed, yet hanging still upon the

soundAnd when I rose, I found myself in prayer.

January, 1807. 1817.


A SUNNY shaft did I behold,

From sky to earth it slanted : And poised therein a bird so bold

Sweet bird, thou wert enchanted !

He sunk, he rose, he twinkled, he trolled

Within that shaft of sunny mist; His eyes of fire, his beak of gold,

All else of amethyst !
And thus he sang : Adieu ! adieu !
Love's dreams prove seldom true.
The blossoms they make no delay ;
The sparkling dew-drops will not stay.
Sweet month of May,

We must away ;
Far far away!

To-day I to-day! 1815. 1817.

This drooping gait, this altered size :-
But Spring-tide 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.

1823April, 1832. 1828—June, 1832.

VERSE, a breeze mid blossoms straying, Where Hope clung feeding, like a beeBoth were mine ! Life went a-maying With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,

When I was young! When I was young ?-Ah, woeful 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 Hashed 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 ; 0! the joys, that came down shower-like, Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,

Ere I was old ! Ere I was old ? Ah woeful Ere, Which tells me, Youth's no longer here! 0, Youth ! for years so many and sweet, 'Tis known, that Thou and I were one, I'll think it but a fond conceitIt cannot be that Thou art gone! Thy vesper-bell hath not yet toll'd :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,

WORK WITHOUT HOPE ALL Nature seems at work. Slugs leave

their lairThe bees are stirring-birds are on the

wingAnd Winter slumbering in the open air, Wears on his smiling face a dream of

Spring! And I the while, the sole unbusy thing, Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build,

nor sing. Yet well I ken the banks where ama

ranths blow, Have traced the fount whence streams

of nectar flow. Bloom, Oye amaranths ! bloom for

whom ye may, For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich

streams, away! With lips unbrightened, wreathless

brow, I stroll: And would you learn the spells that

drowse my soul ? Work without Hope draws nectar in a

sieve, And Hope without an object cannot live.

February, 1827. 1828.

THE GARDEN OF BOCCACCIO Of late, in one of those most weary

hours, When life seems emptied of all genial

powers, A dreary mood, which he who ne'er bas

known May bless his happy lot, I sate alone; And, from the numbing spell to win relief,

[grief. Call'd on the Past for thought of glee or That woke the tear yet stole away the

pang. Of hopes which in lamenting I renew'd. And last, a matron now, of sober inien, Yet radiant still and with no earthly

sheen, Whom as a faery child my childhood

wood Even in niy dawn of thought-Philos

ophy; Though then unconscious of herself,

pardie, She bore no other name than Poesy : And, like a gift from heaven, in lifeful

glee, That bad but newly left a mother's knee, Prattled and play'd with bird and flower,

and stone, As if with elfin playfellows well known, And life reveal'd to innocence alone.

In vain! bereft alike of grief and glee,
I sate and cow'r'd o'er my own vacancy !
And as I watched the dull continuous

ache, Which, all else slumbering, seem'd alone

to wake; O Friend ! long wont to notice yet con

ceal, And soothe by silence what words can

not heal, I but half saw that quiet hand of thine Place on my desk this exquisite design, Boccaccio's Garden and its faery, The love, the joyaunce, and the gal

lantry! An Idyll, with Boccaccio's spirit warm, Framed in the silent poesy of form. Like flocks a-down a newly-batlied steep

Emerging from a mist: orlike a stream Of music soft, that not dispels the sleep, But casts in happier moulds the

slumberer's dream. Gazed by an idle eye with silent might The picture stole upon my inward

sight. A tremulous warmth crept gradual o'er

my chest, As though an infant's finger touch'd my

breast. And one by one (I know not whence)

were brought All spirits of power that most had stirr'd

my thought In selfless boy hood, on a new world tost Of wonder, and in its own fancies lost ; Or charm’d my youth, that, kindled from

abore, Loved ere it loved, and sought a form

for love; Or lent a lustre to the earnest scan Of manhood, musing what and whence

is man ! Wild strain of Scalds, that in the sea


Thanks, gentle artist ! now I can descry Thy fair creation with a mastering eye, And all awake! And now in fix'd gaze

stand, Now wander through the Eden of thy

land: Praise the green arches, on the fountain

clear See fragment shadows of the crossing

deer; And with that serviceable nymph I stoop The crystal from its restless pool to

Scoop. I see no longer! I myself am there, Sit the ground-sward, and the

banquet share. 'Tis I, that sweep that lute's love-echo

ing strings, And gaze upon the maid who gazing

sings; Or pause and listen to the tinkling bells Frow the high tower, and think that

there she dwells. With old Boccaccio's soul I stand possest, And breathe an air like life, that swells


worn cares

my chest.

Rehearsed their war-spell to the winds

and waves ; Or fateful hymn of those prophetic

maids, That calld on Hertha in deep forest

glades ; Or minstrel lay, that cheer'd the baron's

feast; Or rhyme of city pomp, of monk and

priest, Judge, mayor, and many a guild in long

array, To higli-church pacing on the great

saint's day. And many a verse which to myself I sang,

The brightness of the world, O thou

olice free, And always fair, rare land of courtesy ! O Florence! with the Tuscan fields and

hills And famous Arno, fed with all their

rills; Thou brightest star of star-bright Italy ! Rich, ornate, populous, all treasures

thine, The golden corn, the olive, and the vine,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »