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HOW MANY BARDS GILD THE

LAPSES OF TIME

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How many bards gild the lapses of time! A few of them have ever been the food Of my delighted fancy,-I could brood Over their beauties, earthly, or sublime : And often, when I sit me down to rhyme, These will in throngs before my mind

intrude : But no confusion, no disturbance rude Do they occasion ; 'tis a pleasing chime. So the unnumber'd sounds that evening

store ; The songs of birds—the whisp'ring of the

leaves.The voice of waters—the great bell that

heaves With solemn sound, -and thousand

others more, That distance of recognizance bereaves, Make pleasing music, and not wild up

81816. 1817.

ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAP

MAN'S HOMER

roar.

KEEN, FITFUL GUSTS ARE WHIS

PERING HERE AND THERE

MUCH have I travell'd in the realms of

gold, And many goodly states and kingioms

seen; Round many western islands hare I

been Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. Oft of one wide expanse had I been told That deep-browed Homer ruled as his

demesne ; Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I heard Chapman speak out loud

and bold : Then felt I like some watcher of the

skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when witli eagle

eyes He star'd at the Pacific—and all luis men Look'd at each other with a wild sur

miseSilent, upon a peak in Darien.

1816. Dec. 1, 1816.

KEEN, fitful gusts are whispering here

and there Among the bushes half leafless, and dry; The stars look very cold about the sky, And I have many miles on foot to fare. Yet feel I little of the cool bleak air, Or of the dead leaves rustling drearily, Or of those silver lamps that buru on

high, Or of the distance from home's pleasant

lair : For I am brimful of the friendliness That in a little cottage I have found ; Of fair-hair'd Milton's eloquent distress, And all his love for gentle Lycid drown'l; Of lovely Laura in her light green dress, And faithful Petrarch gloriously crown'd,

81816. 1817.

GREAT SPIRITS NOW ON EARTH

ARE SOJOURNING

TO ONE WHO HAS BEEN LONG IN

CITY PENT

To one who has been long in city pent 'Tis very sweet to look into the fair And open face of heaven,-to breathe a

prayer Full in the smile of the blue firmament. Who is more happy, when, with heart's

content, Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair Of wavy grass, and rearis a debonair

GREAT spirits now on earth are sojourn

ing; He of the cloud, the cataract, the lake, Who on Helvellyn's summit wide

awake, Catches his freshness from Archangel's

wing; He of the rose, the violet, the spring, The social smile, the chain for Freedom's

sake : And lo!-whose steadfastness would

never take A meaner sound than Raphael's whis.

pering. And other spirits there are standing

apart Upon the forehead of the age to come ;

These, these will give the world another

heart And other pulses. Hear ye not the hum Of mighty workings in the human mart? Listen awhile ye nations, and be dumb.

November, 1816. 1817.

ON THE GRASSHOPPER AND

CRICKET

More secret than a nest of nightingales ? More serene than Cordelia's counte

nance ? More full of visions than a high ro

mance ? What, but thee, Sleep? Soft closer of

our eyes! Low murmurer of tender lullabies! Light hoverer around our happy pil

lows! Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping

willows! Silent entangler of a beauty's tresses ! Most happy listener ! when the morning

blesses Thee for enlivening all the cheerful

eyes That glance so brightly at the new sun

rise.

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THE poetry of earth is never dead : When all the birds are faint with the

hot sun, And hide in cooling trees, a voice will From hedge to hedge about the new

mown mead; That is the Grasshopper's—he takes the

lead In summer luxury,- he has never done With his delights; for when tired out

with fun He rests at ease beneath some pleasant

weed. The poetry of earth is ceasing never ; On a lone winter evening, when the

frost Has wrought a silence, from the stove

there shurills The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing

ever', And seems to one in drowsiness half

lost, The Grasshopper's among some grassy

hills. December 30, 1816. 1817.

But what is higher beyond thought thar

thee? Fresher than berries of a mountain trec' More strange, more beautiful, more

smooth, more regal, Than wings of swans, than doves, than

dim-seen eagle? What is it? And to what shall I com

pare it?

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It has a glory, and nought else can

share it : The thought thereof is awful, sweet, and

holy, Chasing away all worldliness and folly ; Coming sometimes like fearful claps of

thunder, Or the low rumblings earth's regions

under ; And sometimes like a gentle whispering Of all the secrets of some wondrous

thing That breathes about us in the vacant

air : So that we look around with prying

stare, Perhaps to see shapes of light, aërial

Timning. And catch soft floatings from a faint

heard hymning : To see the laurel wreath, on high sus

pended, That is to crown our name when life is

ended. Sometimes it gives a glory to the voice. And from the heart up-springs, rejoice!

rejoice! Sounds which will reach the Framer of

all things, And die away in ardent mutterings.

What is more gentle than a wind in

summer? What is more soothing than the pretty

hummer That stays one moment in an open

flower, And buzzes cheerily from bower to

bower ? What is more tranquil than a musk

rose blowing In a green islaud, far from all men's

knowing? More healthful than the leafiness of

dales?

No one who once the glorious sun has

seen And all the clouds, and felt his bosom

clean For his great Maker's presence, but must

know What 'tis I mean, and feel his being

glow : Therefore no insult will I give his spirit, By telling what he sees from native

merit.

care

O Poesy! for thee I hold my pen
That am not yet a glorious denizen
Of thy wide heaven-Should I rather

kneel Upon some mountain-top until I feel A glowing splendor round about me

hung, And echo back the voice of thine own

tongue ? O Poesy ! for thee I grasp my pen That am not yet a glorious denizen Of thy wide heaven; yet, to my ardent

prayer, Yield from thy sanctuary some clear air, Smoothed for intoxication by the breath Of flowering bays, that I may die a

death Of luxury, and my young spirit follow The morning sun-beams to the great

Apollo Like a fresh sacrifice; or if I can bear The o'erwhelming sweets, 'twill bring

me to the fair Visions of all places: a bowery nook Will be elysium- an eternal book Whence I may copy many a lovely saying About the leaves, and flowers-about

the playing Of nympiis in woods, and fountains; and

the shade Keeping a silence und a sleeping

maid And many a verse from so strange in

fluence That we must ever wonder how, and

whence It came.

Also imaginings will hover Round my fireside, and haply there disVistas of solemn beauty, where I'd

wander In happy silence, like the clear meander Through its lone vales ; and where I

found a spot Of awfuller shade, or an enchanted grot, Or a green hill o'erspread with chequered

dress

Of flowers, and fearful from its love.

liness, Write on my tablets all that was per

mitted, All that was for our human senses fitted. Then the events of this wide world I'd

seize Like a strong giant, and my spirit teaze Till at its shoulders it should proudly see Wings to find out an immortality. Stop and consider! life is but a day : A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way. From a tree's summit; a poor Indian's

sleep While his boat hastens to the monstrous

steep Of Montmorenci. Why so sad a moan ? Life is the rose's hope while yet unblown; The reading of an ever-changing tale ; The light uplifting of a maiden's veil ; A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air ; A laughing school-boy, without grief or Riding the springy branches of an elm. O for ten years, that I may overwhelm Myself in poesy; so I may do the deed That my own soul has to itself decreed. Then I will pass the countries that I see In long perspective, and continually Taste their pure fountains. First the

realm I'll pass Of Flora, and old Pan ; sleep in the grass, Feed upon apples red, and strawberries, And choose each pleasure that my fancy

sees ; Catch the white-handed nymphs in

shady places, To

sweet kisses from averted

faces, Play with their fingers, touch their

shoulders white Into a pretty shrinking with a bite As hard as lips can make it : till agreed, A lovely tale of human life we'll read. And one will teach a tame dove how it

best May fan the cool air gently o'er my rest; Another, bending o'er her nimble tread, Will set a green robe floating round her

head, And still will dance with ever varied

ease, Smiling upon the flowers and the trees : Another will entice me on, and on Through almond blossoms and rich cin.

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namon:

Till in the bosom of a leafy world

now

We rest in silence, like two gems up

curl'd In the recesses of a pearly shell. And can I ever bid these joys farewell ? Yes, I must pass them for a nobler life, Where I may find the agonies, the strife Of human hearts: for lo! I see afar, O'er-sailing the blue cragginess, a car And steeds with streamy jnanes--the

cliarioteer Looks out upon the winds with glorious

fear : And the numerous tramplings

quiver lightly Along a huge cloud's ridge; and now

with sprightly Wheel downward come they into fresher

skies, Tipt round with silver from the sun's

bright eyes. Still downward with capacious whirl

they glide ; And now I see them on a green-hill's

side In breezy rest among the nodding stalks. The charioteer with wond'rous gesture

talks To the trees and mountains; and there

soon appear Shapes of delight, of mystery, and fear, Passing along before a dusky space Made, by some mighty oaks: as they

woulil chase Some ever-fleeting music on they sweep, Lo! how they murmur, laugh, and

smile, and weep: Some with upholden hand and mouth

severe ; Some with their faces muffled to the ear Between their arms; some, clear in

youthful bloom, Go glad and smilingly athwart the

gloom ; Some looking back, and some with up

ward gaze; Yes, thousands in a thousand different

ways Flit onward-now a lovely wreath of

girls Dancing their sleek hair into tangled

curls ; And now broad wings. Most awfully

intent The driver of those steeds is forward

bent, And seems to listen: 0 that I might know

Iglow. All that he writes with such a hurrying

The visions all are fled-the car is fled Into the light of heaven, and in their

stead A sense of real things comes doubly

strong, And, like a muddy stream, would bear

along My soul to nothingness : but I will strive Against all doubtings, and will keep

alive The thought of that same chariot, and

the strange Journey it went.

Is there so small a range In the present strength of manhood, that

the high Imagination cannot freely fly As she was wont of old ? prepare her

steeds, Paw up against the light,and do strange

deeds Upon the clouds ? Has she not shewn us

all ? From the clear space of ether, to the

small Breath of new buds unfolding ? From

the meaning Of Jove's large eye-brow, to the tender

greening Of April meadows? Here her altar

shone, E'en in this isle ; and who could paragon The fervid choir that lifted up a noise or harmony, to where it aye will poise Its mighty self of convoluting sound, Huge as a planet, and like that roll

round, Eternally around a dizzy void ? Ay, in those days the Muses were nigh

cloy'd With honors ; nor had any other care Than to sing out and soothe their wavy

hair.

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Could all this be forgotten ? Yes, a

schisin Nurtured by foppery and barbarism, Made great Apollo blush for this his

land. Men were thought wise who could not

understand His glories: with a puling infant's force They sway' about upon a rocking horse, And thought it Pegasus. Ah dismal

soul'd! The winds of heaven blew, the ocean rollid

[blue Its gathering waves-ye felt it not. The

Bared its eternal bosom, and the dew
Of summer nights collected still to make
The morning precious: beauty was

awake ! Why were ye not awake? But ye were

dead To things ye knew not of,—were closely

wed To musty laws lined out with wretched

rule And compass vile : so that ye taught a

school Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and

fit, Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's

wit, Their verses tallied. Easy was the task : A thousand handicraftsmen wore the

mask Of Poesy. Ill-fated, impious race ! That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his

face, And did not know it,-no, they went

about, Holding a poor, decrepit standard out Markd with most flimsy mottos, and in

large The name of one Boileau !

In many places ;--some has been up

stirr'd From out its crystal dwelling in a lake, By a swan's ebon bill ; from a thick

brake, Nested and quiet in a valley mild, Bubbles a pipe; fine sounds are floating

wild About the earth : happy are ye and glad. These things are doubtless: yet in truth

we've had Strange thunders from the potency of

song ; Mingled indeed with what is sweet and

strong, From majesty : but in clear truth the

theines Are ugly clubs, the Poets Polyphemes Disturbing the grand sea. A drainless

shower Of light is poesy ; 'tis the supreme of

power; 'Tis might half slumb'ring on its own

right arm. The very archings of her eye-lids charm A thousand willing agents to obey, And still she goverus with the mildest

sway : But strengtli alone though of the Muses

born Is like a fallen angel: trees uptorn, Darkness, and worms, and shrouds, and

sepulchres Delight it; for it feeds upon the burrs And thorns of life ; forgetting the great

end Of poesy, that it should be a friend To soothe the cares, and lift the thoughts

of man.

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O ye whose charge It is to lover round our pleasant hills ! Whiose congregated majesty so fills My boundly reverence, that I cannot

trace Your hallowed names, in this unholy

place, So near those common folk; did not

their shames Affright you? Did our old lamenting

Thames Delight you ? Did ye never cluster

round Delicious Avon, with a mournful sound, And weep? Or did ye wholly bid adieu To regions where no more the laurel

grew ? Or did ye stay to give a welcoming To some lone spirits who could proudly

sing Their youth away, and die? 'Twas even

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Yet I rejoice: a myrtle fairer than E'er grew in Paphos, from the bitter

weeds Liftsits sweet head into the air, and feeds A silent space with ever sprouting green, All tenderest birds there find a pleasant

screen, Creep through the shade with jaunty

fluttering, Nibble the little cupped flowers and sing. Then let us clear away the choking

thorns From round its gentle stem; let the

young fawns, Yeaned in after times, when we are

flown, Find a fresh sward beneath it, overgrown With simple flowers: let there nothing be

SO:

But let me think away those times of

woe : Now 'tis a fairer

season; ye have breathed Rich benedictions o'er us; ye have

wreathed Fresh garlands: for sweet music has

been heard

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