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And error, gilding worst designs—
Like speckled snake that strays and shines-
Betrays his path by crooked lines;
And vice hath left his ugly blot;
And good resolves, a moment hot,
Fairly began-but finished not;
And fruitless, late remorse doth trace-
Like Hebrew lore a backward pace—
Her irrecoverable race.
Disjointed numbers; sense unknit ;
Huge reams of folly; shreds of wit;
Compose the mingled mass of it.
My scalded eyes no longer brook
Upon this ink-blurred thing to look-
Go, shut the leaves, and clasp the book.
October's gold is dim-the forests rot,
The weary rain falls ceaseless, while the day
Is wrapt in damp. In mire of village-way
The hedgerow leaves are stampt, and, all forgot,
The broodless nest sits visible in the thorn.
Autumn, among her drooping marigolds,
Weeps all her garnered fields and empty folds
And dripping orchards, plundered and forlorn.
The season is a dead one, and I die!
No more, no more for me the spring shall make
A resurrection in the earth, and take
The death from out her heart-O God, I die!
The cold throat-mist creeps nearer, till I breathe
Corruption. Drop, stark night, upon my death!
Die down, O dismal day, and let me live;
And come, blue deeps, magnificently strewn
With coloured clouds-large, light, and fugitive-
By upper winds through pompous motions blown.
Now it is death in life-a vapour dense
Creeps round my window, till I cannot see
The far snow-shining mountains, and the glens
Shagging the mountain tops. O God! make free
This barren shackled earth, so deadly cold-
Breathe gently forth thy spring, till winter flies
In rude amazement, fearful and yet bold,
While she performs her customed charities.
I weigh the loaded hours till life is bare-
O God, for one clear day, a snowdrop, and sweet air!
O Winter, wilt thou never, never, go?
O Summer, but I weary for thy coming,
Longing once more to hear the Luggie flow,
And frugal bees, laboriously humming.
Now the east wind diseases the infirm,
And I must crouch in carners from rough weather;
Sometimes a winter sunset is a charm—
When the fired clouds, compacted, blaze together,
And the large sun dips red behind the hills.
I, from my window, can behold this pleasure;
And the eternal moon, what time she fills
Her orb with argent, treading a soft measure,
With queenly motions of a bridal mood,
Through the white spaces of infinitude.
When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry, "Weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!'
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.
There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved; so I said,
'Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head's bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.'
And so he was quiet, and that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight;
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack,
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black :
And by came an angel, who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins, and set them all free ;
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run,
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.
Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind;
And the angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy,
He'd have God for his Father, and never want joy.
And so Tom awoke, and we rose in the dark,
And got with our bags and our brushes to work;
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm :
So, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.
Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
Among the stars that have a different birth,—
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?
If I had thought thou could'st have died,
I might not weep for thee;
But I forgot, when by thy side,
That thou could'st mortal be.
It never through my mind had past
That time would e'er be o'er,
And I on thee should look my last,
And thou should'st smile no more!
And still upon that face I look,
And think 'twill smile again;
And still the thought I will not brook
That I must look in vain.
But when I speak thou dost not say,
What thou ne'er left'st unsaid;
And now I feel, as well I may,
Sweet Mary, thou art dead!
If thou would'st stay, e'en as thou art,
All cold, and all serene-
I still might press thy silent heart,
And where thy smiles have been !
While e'en thy chill, bleak corse I have,
Thou seemest still mine own;
But there I lay thee in thy grave,
And I am now alone!
I do not think, where'er thou art,
Thou hast forgotten me;
And I, perhaps, may soothe this heart,
In thinking still of thee:
Yet there was round thee such a dawn
Of light ne'er seen before,
As fancy never could have drawn,
And never can restore!
Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And can He, who smiles on all,
Hear the wren, with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear?