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The mist, the shadows, light of golden suns,
Motions of moonlight, all come thither-touch,
And have an answer—thither come, and shape
A language not unwelcome to sick hearts
And idle spirits :—there the sun himself,
At the calm close of summer's longest day,
Rests his substantial orb ;-between those heights
And on the top of either pinnacle,
More keenly than elsewhere in night's blue vault,
Sparkle the stars, as of their station proud.
Thoughts are not busier in the mind of man
Than the mute agents stirring there :-alone
Here do I sit and watch.'
[Mist OPENING IN THE Hills.] So was he lifted gently from the ground, And with their freight homeward the shepherds moved Through the dull mist, I following-when a step, A single step, that freed me from the skirts Of the blind vapour, opened to my view Glory beyond all glory ever seen By waking sense or by the dreaming soul ! The appearance, instantaneously disclosed, Was of a mighty city-boldly say A wilderness of building, sinking far And self-withdrawn into a boundless depth Far sinking into splendour - without end ! Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold, With alabaster domes, and silver spires, And blazing terrace upon terrace, high Uplifted; here, serene pavilions bright, In avenues disposed; there, towers begirt With battlements that on their restless fronts Bore stars-illumination of all gems! By earthly nature had the effect been wrought Upon the dark materials of the storm Now pacified : on them, and on the coves And mountain-steeps and summits, whereunto
The vapours had receded, taking there
Their station under a cerulean sky.
Oh, 'twas an unimaginable sight!
Clouds, mists, streams, watery rocks and emerald turf,
Clouds of all tincture, rocks and sapphire sky
Confused, commingled, mutually inflamed,
Molten together, and composing thus,
Each lost in each, that marvellous array
Of temple, palace, citadel, and huge
Fantastic pomp of structure without name,
In fleecy folds voluminous enwrapped.
Right in the midst, where interspace appeared
Of open court, an object like a throne
Under a shining canopy of state
Stood fixed ; and fixed resemblance were seen
To implements of ordinary use,
But vast in size, in substance glorified ;
Such as by Hebrew Prophets were beheld
In vision--forms uncouth of mightiest power
For admiration and mysterious awe.
This little Vale, a dwelling-place of Man,
Lay low beneath my feet ; 'twas visible-
I saw not, but I felt that it was there.
That which I saw was the revealed abode
Of Spirits in beatitude.
(Greek Divinities.) Once more to distant ages of the world Let us revert, and place before our thoughts The face which rural solitude might wear To the unenlightened swains of pagan Greece. - In that fair clime, the lonely herdsman, stretched On the soft grass through half a summer's day, With music lulled his indolent repose : And, in some fit of weariness, if he When his own breath was silent, chanced to hear
A distant strain, far sweeter than the sounds
Which his poor skill could make, his fancy fetched,
Even from the blazing chariot of the sun,
A beardless Youth, who touched a golden lute,
And filled the illumined groves with ravishment.
The nightly hunter, lifting a bright eye
Up towards the crescent moon, with grateful heart
Called on the lovely wanderer who bestowed
That timely light, to share his joyous sport :
And hence, a beaming Goddess with her Nymphs,
Across the lawn and through the darksome grove.
Not unaccompanied with tuneful notes
By echo multiplied from rock or cave,
Swept in the storm of chase ; as moon and stars
Glance rapidly along the clouded heaven,
When winds are blowing strong. The traveller slabert
His thirst from rill or gushing fount, and thanked
The Naiad. Sunbeams, upon distant hills
Gliding apace, with shadows in their train,
Might, with small help from fancy, be transformed
Into fleet Oreads sporting visibly.
The Zephyrs fanning, as they passed, their wings,
Lacked not, for love, fair objects whom they wooed
With gentle whisper. Withered boughs grotesque,
Stripped of their leaves and twigs by hoary agen
From depth of shaggy covert peeping forth
In the low vale, or on steep mountain side ;
And, sometimes, intermixed with stirring horns
Of the live deer, or goat's depending beard,–
These were the lurking Satyrs, a wild brood
Of gamesome Deities ; or Pan himself,
The simple shepherd's awe-inspiring God!
[The MOON AMONG TREES.)
Within the soul a faculty abides,
That with interpositions, which would hide
And darken, so can deal that they become
Contingencies of pomp; and serve to exalt
Her native brightness. As the ample moon,
In the deep stillness of a summer even
Rising behind a thick and lofty grove,
Burns, like an unconsuming fire of light,
In the green trees; and, kindling on all sides
Their leafy umbrage, turns the dusky veil
Into a substance glorious as her own,
Yea, with her own incorporated, by power
Capacious and serene :-Like power abides
In man's celestial spirit ; virtue thus
Sets forth and magnifies herself; thus feeds
A calm, a beautiful, and silent fire,
From the encumbrances of mortal life,
From error, disappointment-nay, from guilt ;
And sometimes, so relenting justice wills,
From palpable oppressions of despair.'
I have seen A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract Of inland ground, applying to his ear The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell ; To which, in silence hushed, his very soul Listened intensely ; and his countenance soon Brightened with joy ; for from within were heard Murmurings, whereby the monitor expressed Mysterious union with its native sea. Even such a shell the universe itself Is to the ear of Faith ; and there are times, I doubt not, when to you it doth impart Authentic tidings of invisible things ; Of ebb and flow, and ever-during power ; And central peace, subsisting at the heart Of endless agitation. Here you stand, Adore, and worship, when you know it not ; Pious beyond the intention of your thought ; Devout above the meaning of your will. — Yes, you have felt, and may not cease to feel.
The estate of man would be indeed forlorn
If false conclusions of the reasoning power
Made the eye blind, and closed the passages
Through which the ear converses with the heart.
Has not the soul, the being of your life,
Received a shock of awful consciousness,
In some calm season, when these lofty rocks
At night's approach bring down the unclouded sky,
To rest upon their circumambient walls;
A temple framing of dimensions vast,
And yet not too enormous for the sound
Of human anthems,-choral song, or burst
Sublime of instrumental harmony,
To glorify the Eternal! What if these
Did never break the stillness that prevails
Here, if the solemn nightingale be mute,
And the soft woodlark here did never chant
Her vespers,-Nature fails not to provide
Impulse and utterance. The whispering air
Sends inspiration from the shadowy heights,
And blind recesses of the caverned rocks;
The little rills, and waters numberless,
Inaudible by daylight, blend their notes
With the loud streams: and often, at the hour
When issue forth the first pale stars, is heard,
Within the circuit of this fabric huge,
One voice—the solitary raven, flying
Athwart the concave of the dark blue dome,
Unseen, perchance above all power of sight-
An iron knell ! with echoes from afar
Faint-and still fainter-as the cry, with which
The wanderer accompanies her flight
Through the calm region, fades upon the ear,
Diminishing by distance till it seemed
To expire ; yet from the abyss is caught again,
And yet again recovered !