Page images
PDF
EPUB

TO THE GNAT.

WHEN by the greenwood side, at summer eve,
Poetic visions charm my closing eye;
And fairy-scenes, that Fancy loves to weave,
Shift to wild notes of sweetest minstrelsy;
'Tis thine to range in busy quest of prey,
Thy feathery antlers quivering with delight,
Brush from my lids the hues of heaven away,
And all is solitude, and all is night!

- Ah! now thy barbéd shaft, relentless fly,
Unsheaths its terrors in the sultry air!
No guardian sylph, in golden panoply,
Lifts the broad shield, and points the glittering sp
Now near and nearer rush thy whirring wings,
Thy dragon-scales still wet with human gore.
Hark, thy shrill horn its fearful larum flings !
- I wake in horror, and dare sleep no more !

TO A VOICE THAT HAD BEEN LOST.22

Vane, quid affectas faciem mihi ponere, pictor ?
Aeris et linguæ sum filia ;
Et, si vis similem pingere, pinge sonum. — AUSONIUS.

ONCE more, Enchantress of the soul,
Once more we hail thy soft control.
-- Yet whither, whither didst thou fly?
To what bright region of the sky ?
Say, in what distant star to dwell ?
(Of other worlds thou seem'st to tell)

Or trembling, fluttering here below,
Resolved and unresolved to go,
In secret didst thou still impart
Thy raptures to the pure in heart?

Perhaps to many a desert shore,
Thee, in his rage, the tempest bore;
Thy broken murmurs swept along,
Mid echoes yet untuned by song;
Arrested in the realms of frost,
Or in the wilds of ether lost.

Far happier thou ! 't was thine to soar,
Careering on the wingéd wind.
Thy triumphs who shall dare explore ?
Suns and their systems left behind.
No tract of space, no distant star,
No shock of elements at war,
Did thee detain. Thy wing of fire
Bore thee amid the cherub-choir;
And there a while to thee 't was given
Once more that voice 23 beloved to join,
Which taught thee first a flight divine,
And nursed thy infant years with many a strain from

Heaven !

TO THE BUTTERFLY,

CHILD of the sun! pursue thy rapturous flight,
Mingling with her thou lov'st in fields of light;
And, where the flowers of Paradise unfold,
Quaff fragrant nectar from their cups of gold.

238 TO THE FRAGMENT OF A STATUE OF HERCULES.

There shall thy wings, rich as an evening-sky,
Expand and shut with silent ecstasy !

Yet wert thou once a worm, a thing that crept
On the bare earth, then wrought a tomb and slept.
And such is man; soon from his cell of clay
To burst a seraph in the blaze of day!

AN EPITAPH ON A ROBIN-REDBREAST.24

TREAD lightly here, for here, 't is said,
When piping winds are hushed around,
A small note wakes from underground,
Where now his tiny bones are laid.
No more in lone and leafless groves,
With ruffled wing and faded breast,
His friendless, homeless spirit roves ;

Gone to the world where birds are blest!
Where never cat glides o'er the green,
Or school-boy's giant form is seen;
But Love, and Joy, and smiling Spring,
Inspire their little souls to sing !

TO THE FRAGMENT OF A STATUE OF HERCULES,

COMMONLY CALLED THE TORSO.

AND dost thou still, thou mass of breathing stone
(Thy giant limbs to night and chaos hurled),
Still sit as on the fragment of a world;
Surviving all, majestic and alone ?

What though the Spirits of the North, that swept
Rome from the earth when in her pomp she slept,
Smote thee with fury, and thy headless trunk
Deep in the dust mid tower and temple sunk;
Soon to subdue mankind 't was thine to rise,
Still, still unquelled thy glorious energies !
Aspiring minds, with thee conversing, caught
Bright revelations of the Good they sought;25
By thee that long-lost spell in secret given,
To draw down gods, and lift the soul to Heaven ! 26

TO ....27

Ah! little thought she, when, with wild delight,

By many a torrent's shining track she flew, When mountain-glens and caverns full of night

O'er her young mind divine enchantment threw,

That in her veins a secret horror slept,

That her light footsteps should be heard no more, That she should die -- nor watched, alas ! nor wept

By thee, unconscious of the pangs she bore.

Yet round her couch indulgent Fancy drew

The kindred forms her closing eye required. There didst thou stand — there, with the smile she knew;

She moved her lips to bless thee, and expired.

And now to thee she comes ; still, still the same

As in the hours gone unregarded by!
To thee, how changed, comes as she ever came

Health on her cheek, and pleasure in her eye !

Nor less, less oft, as on that day, appears,

When lingering, as prophetic of the truth, By the way-side she shed her parting tears

Forever lovely in the light of Youth !

THE BOY OF EGREMOND.

66

Say, what remains when Hope is fled ?” She answered, “ Endless weeping !" For in the herdsman's eye she read Who in his shroud lay sleeping.

At Embsay rung the matin-bell, The stag was roused on Barden-fell; The mingled sounds were swelling, dying, And down the Wharfe a hern was flying; When near the cabin in the wood, In tartan-clad and forest-green, With hound in leash and hawk in hood, The Boy of Egremond was seen. Blithe was his song, a song of yore; But where the rock is rent in two, And the river rushes through, His voice was heard no more! ’T was but a step! the gulf he passed ; But that step — it was his last ! As through the mist he winged his way (A cloud that hovers night and day), The hound hung back, and back he drew The master and his merlin too.

28

« PreviousContinue »