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Fair was that face as break of dawn,
When o'er its beauty sleep was drawn
Like a thin veil that half-conceal'd
The light of soul, and half-reveal'd.
While thy hush'd heart with visions wrought,
Each trembling eye-lash moved with thought,
And things we dream, but ne'er can speak,
Like clouds came floating o'er thy cheek,
Such summer-clouds as travel light,
When the soul's heaven lies calm and bright;
Till thou awok'st, then to thine eye
Thy whole heart leapt in extacy!
And lovely is that heart of thine,
Or sure these eyes could never shine
With such a wild, yet bashful glee,
Gay, half-o'ercome timidity!
Nature has breath'd into thy face
A spirit of unconscious grace;
A spirit that lies never still,
And makes thee joyous 'gainst thy will.
As, sometimes o'er a sleeping lake
Soft airs a gentle rippling make,
Till, ere we know, the strangers fly,
And water blends again with sky.
Oh! happy sprite! didst thou but know
What pleasures through my being flow
From thy soft eyes, a holier feeling
From their blue light could ne'er be stealing,
But thou wouldst be more loth to part,
And give me more of that glad heart!
Oh! gone thou art! and bearest hence
The glory of thy innocence.
But with deep joy I breathe the air
That kiss'd thy cheek, and fann'd thy hair,
And feel though fate our lives must sever,
Yet shall thy image live for ever!
WRITTEN ON THE BANKS OF WASTWATER,
DURING A STORM.
There is a lake hid far among the hills,
That raves around the throne of solitude,
Not fed by gentle streams, or playful rills,
But headlong cataract and rushing flood.
There gleam no lovely hues of hanging wood,
No spot of sunshine lights her sullen side;
For horror shaped the wild in wrathful mood,
And o'er the tempest heaved the mountain's
If thou art one, in dark presumption blind,
Who vainly deemst no spirit like to thine,
That lofty genius deifies thy mind,
Fall prostrate here at Nature's stormy shrine,
And as the thunderous scene disturbs thy
Lift thy changed eye, and own how low
WRITTEN ON THE BANKS OF WASTWATER,
DURING A CALM.
Is this the Lake, the cradle of the storms,
Where silence never tames the mountain-roar,
Where poets fear their self-created forms,
Or, sunk in trance severe, their God adore?
Is this the Lake, for ever dark and loud
With wave and tempest, cataract and cloud?
Wondrous,oh Nature! is thy sovereign power,
That gives to horror hours of peaceful mirth;
For here might beauty build her summer-
Lo! where yon rainbow spans the smiling earth,
And, clothed in glory,through a silent shower The mighty Sun comes forth, a godlike birth; While, 'neath his loving eye, the gentle Lake Lies like a sleeping child too blest to wake!
WRITTEN AT MIDNIGHT, ON HELM-CRAG.
Go up among the mountains, when the storm Of midnight howls, but go in that wild mood, When the soul loves tumultuous solitude, And through the haunted air each giant form Of swinging pine,black rock,or ghostly cloud, That veils some fearful cataract tumbling loud,
Seems to thy breathless heart with life embued. shapeless things thou art alone!
'Mid those gaunt, The mind exists, thinks, trembles through the ear,
The memory of the human world is gone, And time and space seem living only here. Oh! worship thou the visions then made known,
While sable glooms round Nature's temple roll,
And her dread anthem peals into thy soul.
A cloud lay cradled near the setting sun,
A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow :
Long had I watched the glory moving on
O'er the still radiance of the lake below.
Tranquil its spirit seem'd, and floated slow!
Even in its very motion there was rest:
While every breath of eve that chanced to
Wafted the traveller to the beauteous West.
Emblem, methought, of the departed soul!
To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is
And by the breath of mercy made to roll Right onwards to the golden gates of Heaven, Where, to the eye of Faith, it peaceful lies, And tells to man his glorious destinies.
It was a dreadful day, when late I pass'd O'er thy dim vastness, SKIDDAW!-Mist and cloud
Each subject Fell obscured, and rushing blast To thee made darling music, wild and loud, Thou Mountain-Monarch! Rain in torrents play'd,
As when at sea a wave is borne to heaven, A watery spire, then on the crew dismay'd Of reeling ship with downward wrath is driven.
I could have thought that every living form Had fled, or perished in that savage storm, So desolate the day. To me were given Peace, calmness, joy: then, to myself I said: Can grief, time, chance, or elements controul Man's charter'd pride, the Liberty of Soul?
I wander'd lonely, like a pilgrim sad,
O'er mountains known but to the eagle's gaze;
Yet, my hush'd heart, with Nature's beauty
Slept in the shade, or gloried in the blaze. |
Romantic vales stole winding to my eye
In gradual loveliness, like rising dreams;
Fair, nameless tarns, that seem to blend with sky,
Rocks of wild majesty, and elfin streams. How strange, methought, I should have lived
Nor ever worshipp'd Nature's altar here! Strange! say not so-hid from the world and thee,.
Though in the midst of life their spirits move,
Thousands enjoy in holy liberty
The silent Eden of unenvied Love!
The Lake lay hid in mist, and to the sand
The little billows hastening silently,'
Came sparkling on, in many a gladsome band,
Soon as they touched the shore, all doom'd
I gazed upon them with a pensive eye,
For on that dim and melancholy strand,
I saw the image of Man's destiny.
So hurry we, right onwards, thoughtlessly,
Unto the coast of that Eternal Land!
Where, like the worthless billows in their
The first faint touch unable to withstand,
We melt at once into Eternity.
O Thou who weighst the waters in thine
My awe-struck Spirit puts her trust in Thee.
EXTRACTS FROM THE CITY OF THE PLAGUE.
Old Man. Three months ago Within my soul I heard a mighty sound As of a raging river, day and night Triumphing through the city: 'twas the voice Of London sleepless in magnificence. This morn I stood and listen'd. Art thou dead,
Queen of the world! I ask'd my awe-struck heart,
And not one breath of life amid the silence
Disturb'd the empire of mortality.
Death's icy hand hath frozen, with a touch,
The fountain of the river that made glad
The City of the Isle!-
Sin brought the judgment: it was terrible.
Go read your Bible, young men; hark to him
Who, in a vision, saw the Lion rage
Amid the towers of Judah, while the people
Fell on their faces, and the hearts of kings
Perish'd, and prophets wonder'd in their fear.
Then came the dry wind from the wilderness,
Towards the hill of Sion, not to fan
With age decrepit, and wasted to the bone;
And youthful frames, august and beautiful,
In spite of mortal pangs,-there lie they all
Embraced in ghastliness! But look not long,
For haply, 'mid the faces glimmering there,
The well-known cheek of some beloved
Will meet thy gaze, or some small snow-
And wildly to thy native melodies
Canst tune its flute-like breath-sing us a
And let it be, even 'mid our merriment,
Most sad, most slow, that when its music dies,
We may address ourselves to revelry,
More passionate from the calm,as men leap up
To this world's business from some heavenly
I walk'd by mysel' ower the sweet braes o'
Bright with the ring that holds her lover's I look'd through the lift o' the blue smiling hair.
The street.-A long table covered with glasses.
- A party of young men and women ca-
Young Man. I rise to give, most noble
The memory of a man well known to all,
Who by keen jest, and merry anecdote,
Sharp repartee, and humorous remark
Most biting in its solemn gravity,
Much cheer'd our out-door table, and dispell'd
The fogs which this rude visitor the Plague
Oft breathed across the brightest intellect. Sic silence—sic
But two days past, our ready laughter chased
His various stories; and it cannot be
That we have in our gamesome revelries
Forgotten Harry Wentworth. His chair I met nae bright
Empty at your right hand as if expecting
That jovial wassailer-but he is gone
Into cold narrow quarters. Well, I deem
The grave did never silence with its dust
A tongue more eloquent; but since 'tis so,
And store of boon companions yet survive,
There is no reason to be sorrowful;
Therefore let us drink unto his memory
With acclamation, and a merry peal
Such as in life he loved.
Master of Revels. 'Tis the first death
Hath been amongst us, therefore let us drink
His memory in silence.
Young Man. Be it so.
[They all rise, and drink their
glasses in silence.
Master of Revels. Sweet Mary Gray! Thou
hast a silver voice,
lonesomeness, oh, were bewildering! singing when herding her sheep;
But the foam in the silence o' nature was And fifty brown hillocks wi' fresh mould
In memory of that melancholy year,
When died so many brave and beautiful,
Are some sweet mournful airs, some shep-
Most touching in simplicity, and none
Fitter to make one sad amid his mirth
Than the tune yet faintly singing through
Mary Gray. O! that I ne'er had sung it but at home
Unto my aged parents! to whose ear
Their Mary's tones were always musical
I hear my own self singing o'er the moor,
Beside my native cottage,-most unlike
The voice which Edward Walsingham has
It is the angel-voice of innocence,
2d Woman. I thought this cant were out
But it is well; there are some simple souls,
Even yet, who melt at a frail maiden's tears.
And give her credit for sincerity.
sor-She thinks her eyes quite killing while she
I look'd ower the quiet o' Death's empty dwelling,
The lav'rock walk'd mute 'mid the rowful scene,