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Then is the Age of Admiration–Then Gods walk the earth, or beings more than men; Who breathe the soul of Inspiration round, Whose very shadows consecrate the ground ! Ah, then comes thronging many a wild desire, And high imagining and thought of fire ! Then from within a voice exclaims “ Aspire !" Phantoms, that upward point, before him pass, As in the Cave athwart the Wizard's glass; They, that on Youth à grace, a lustre shed, Of every Age—the living and the dead! Thou, all-accomplished SURREY, thou art known; The flower of Knighthood, nipt as soon as blown! Melting all hearts but Geraldine's alone! And, with his beaver up, discovering there One who loved less to conquer than to spare, Lo, the Black Warrior, he, who, battle-spent, Bare-headed served the Captive in his tent! Young B—in the groves of Academe, Or where Ilyssus winds his whispering stream; Or where the wild bees swarm with ceaseless hum, Dreaming old dreams-a joy for years to come; Or on the Rock within the sacred Fane; Scenes such as Milton sought, but sought in vain : *
* He had arrived at Naples; and was preparing to visit Sicily and Greece, when, hearing of the troubles in England, he thought it proper to hasten home.
And Milton's self (at that thrice-honoured name
Oh in thy truth secure, thy virtue bold, Beware the poison in the cup of gold, The asp among the flowers. Thy heart beats high, As bright and brighter breaks the distant sky! But every step is on enchanted ground. Danger thou lov'st, and Danger haunts thee round.
Who spurs his horse against the mountain-side; Then, plunging, slakes his fury in the tide ? Draws, and cries ho; and, where the sun-beams fall, At his own shadow thrusts along the wall ? Who dances without music; and anon Sings like the lark—then sighs as woe begone, And folds his arms, and, where the willows wave, Glides in the moon-shine by a maiden's grave? Come hither, boy, and clear thy open brow. Yon summer-clouds, now like the Alps, and now A ship, a whale, change not so fast as thou.
He hears me not—Those sighs were from the heart. Too, too well taught, he plays the lover's part. He who at masques, nor feigning nor sincere, With sweet discourse would win a lady's ear, Lie at her feet and on her slipper swear That none were half so faultless, half so fair,
Now through the forest hies, a stricken deer,
Two on his steps attend, in motley clad;
At length he goes—a Pilgrim to the Shrine,
hearts that will not be controlled. • Absence from Thee—as self from self it seems !" Scaled is the garden-wall; and lo, her beams Silvering the east, the moon comes up, revealing His well-known form along the terrace stealing,
-Oh, ere in sight he came, 'twas his to thrill A heart that loved him though in secret still. “ Am I awake? or is it...can it be “ An idle dream? Nightly it visits me! “ – That strain,” she cries, “ as from the water rose. “ Now near and nearer through the shade it flows!-“ Now sinks departing-sweetest in its close !" No casement gleams; no Juliet, like the day, Comes forth and speaks and bids her lover stay, Still, like aërial music heard from far, Nightly it rises with the evening-star.
-“She loves another! Love was in that sigh!” On the cold ground he throws himself to die. Fond Youth, beware. Thy heart is most deceiving. Who wish are fearful; who suspect, believing. -And soon her looks the rapturous truth avow. Lovely before, oh, say how lovely now! She flies not, frowns not, though he pleads his cause; Nor yet—nor yet her hand from his withdraws; But by some secret Power surprised, subdued, (Ah how resist? And would she if she could ?) Falls on his neck as half unconscious where, Glad to conceal her tears, her blushes there.
Then come those full confidings of the past ;
Covering them round, how sweet her accents are !
Then are they blest indeed; and swift the hours Till her young Sisters wreathe her hair in flowers, Kindling her beauty—while, unseen, the least Twitches her robe, then runs behind the rest, Known by her laugh that will not be suppressed. Then before All they stand—the holy vow And ring of gold, no fond illusions now, Bind her as his. Across the threshold led, And every
tear kissed off as soon as shed, His house she enters—there to be a light, Shining within, when all without is night; A guardian-angel o'er his life presiding, Doubling his pleasures, and his cares dividing; Winning him back, when mingling in the throng, Back from a world we love, alas, too long, To fire-side happiness, to hours of ease, Blest with that charm, the certainty to please.