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Shall in our upturn'd eyes appear,
Embodied in a quivering tear.
Or else, serenely silent, set
By the brawling rivulet,
Which on its calm unruffled breast,
Rears the old mossy arch impress'd,
That clasps its secret stream of glass,
Half hid in shrubs and waving grass,
The wood-nymphs lone secure retreat,
Unpressed by fawn or sylvan's feet,
We'll watch in eve's ethereal braid,
The rich vermilion slowly fade;
Or catch, faint twinkling from afar,
The first glimpse of the eastern star.
Fair vesper, mildest lamp of light,
That heralds in imperial night:
Meanwhile, upon our wondering ear,
Shall rise, though low, yet sweetly clear,
The distant sounds of pastoral lute,
Invoking soft the sober suit
Of dimmest darkness-fitting well
With love, or sorrow's pensive spell,
(So erst did music's silver tone,
Wake slumbering chaos on his throne.)
And haply then, with sudden swell,
Shall roar the distant curfew bell,
While in the castles mouldering tower,
The hooting owl is heard to pour
Her melancholy song, and scare
Dull silence brooding in the air.
Meanwhile her dusk and slumbering car,
Black suited night drives on from far,
And Cynthia's 'merging from her rear,
Arrests the waxing darkness drear,
And summons to her silent call
Sweeping in their airy pall,
The unshrived ghosts, in fairy trance,
To join her moonshine morrice-dance
While, around the mystic ring,
The shadowy shapes elastic spring,
Then with a passing shriek they fly,
Wrapt in mists along the sky,
And oft are by the shepherd seen,
In his lone night-watch on the green.
Then, hermit, let us turn our feet,
To the low Abbey's still retreat,
Embowered in the distant glen,
Far from the haunts of busy men,
Where, as we sit upon the tomb,
The glow-worms light may gild the gloom,
And show to fancy's saddest eye,
Where some lost hero's ashes lie.
And oh! as through the mouldering arch,
With ivy filled and weeping larch,
The night gale whispers sadly clear,
Speaking dear things to fancy's ear,
We'll hold communion with the shade,
Of some deep-wailing ruined maid-
Or call the ghost of Spenser down,
To tell of woe and fortune's frown;
And bid us cast the eye of hope,
Beyond this bad world's narrow scope.
Or if these joys, to us denied,
To linger by the forest's side;
Or in the meadow or the wood,
Or by the lone romantic flood;
Let us in the busy town,
When sleep's dull streams the people drown,
Far from drowsy pillows flee,
And turn the church's massy key;
Then, as through the painted glass,
The moon's faint beams obscurely pass;
And darkly on the trophied wall,
Her faint ambiguous shadows fall;
Let us, while the faint winds wail,
Through the long reluctant aisle,
As we pace with reverence meet,
Count the echoings of our feet;
While from the tombs, with confess'd breath,
Distinct responds the voice of death.
If thou, mild sage, wilt condescend,
Thus on my footsteps to attend,
To thee my lonely lamp shall burn,
By fallen Genius' sainted urn!
As o'er the scroll of Time I pore,
And sagely spell of ancient lore,
Till I can rightly guess of all
That Plato could to memory call,
And scan the formless views of things
Or with old Egypt's fetter'd kings,
Arrange the mystic trains that shine
In night's high philosophic mine;
And to thy name shall e'er belong
The honours of undying song.
TO THE GENIUS OF ROMANCE.
OH! thou who in my early youth,
When Fancy wore the garb of truth,
Wert wont to win my infant feet,
To some retir'd, deep-fabled seat,
Where by the brooklet's secret tide,
The midnight ghost was known to glide;
Or lay me in some lonely glade,
In native Sherwood's forest shade,
Where Robin Hood, the outlaw bold,
Was wont his sylvan courts to hold;
And there as musing deep I lay,
Would steal little soul away,
And all thy pictures represent,
Of siege and solemn tournament
Or bear me to the magic scene,
Where clad in greaves and gaberdine,
The warrior knight of chivalry,
And bore the high-born dame away,
Long held the fell magician's prey.
Or oft would tell the shuddering tale
Of murders, and of goblins pale,
Haunting the guilty baron's side,
(Whose floors with secret blood were died,)
Which o'er the vaulted corridore,
On stormy nights was heard to roar,
By old domestic, waken'd wide
By the angry winds that chide.
Or else the mystic tale would tell,
Of Greensleeve, or of Blue-Beard fell.
OH! yonder is the well-known spot,
My dear, my long-lost native home!
Oh! welcome is yon little cot,
Where I shall rest, no more to roam !
Oh! I have travell'd far and wide,
O'er many a distant foreign land;
Each place, each province, I have tried,
And sung and danced my saraband.
But all their charms could not prevail,
To steal my heart from yonder vale.