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Still the fond lover sees the absent maid;
What though the iron school of war erase
The intrepid Swiss, who guards a foreign shore, Condemned to climb his mountain-cliffs no more, If chance he hears the song so sweetly wild Which on those cliffs his infant hours beguiled, Melts at the long-lost scenes that round him rise, And sinks a martyr to repentant sighs.
Ask not if courts or camps dissolve the charm: Say why Vespasian loved his Sabine farm? Why great Navarre, when France and freedom bled, Sought the lone limits of a forest-shed? When Dioclesian's self-corrected mind The imperial fasces of a world resigned, Say why we trace the labours of his spade In calm Salona's philosophic shade? Say, when contentious Charles renounced a throne, To muse with monks unlettered and unknown, What from his soul the parting tribute drew? What claimed the sorrows of a last adieu? The still retreats that soothed his tranquil breast Ere grandeur dazzled, and its cares oppressed.
Undamped by time, the generous Instinct glows Far as Angola's sands, as Zembla's snows; Glows in the tiger's den, the serpent's nest, On every form of varied life impressed. The social tribes its choicest influence hail : And when the drum beats briskly in the gale, The war-worn courser charges at the sound, And with young vigour wheels the pasture round. Oft has the aged tenant of the vale Leaned on his staff to lengthen out the tale; Oft have his lips the grateful tribute breathed, From sire to son with pious zeal bequeathed. When o'er the blasted heath the day declined, And on the scathed oak warred the winter-wind; When not a distant taper's twinkling ray Gleamed o'er the furze to light him on his way; When not a sheep-bell soothed his listening ear, And the big rain-drops told the tempest near; Then did his horse the homeward track descry, The track that shunned his sad inquiring eye; And win each wavering purpose to relent, With warmth so mild, so gently violent, That his charmed hand the careless rein resigned, And doubts and terrors vanished from his mind. Recall the traveller, whose altered form Has borne the buffet of the mountain-storm; And who will first his fond impatience meet? His faithful dog's already at his feet! Yes, though the porter spurn him from the door, Though all that knew him know his face no more, His faithful dog shall tell his joy to each, With that mute eloquence which passes speech. And see, the master but returns to die! Yet who shall bid the watchful servant fly? The blasts of heaven, the drenching dews of earth, The wanton insults of unfeeling mirth, These, when to guard Misfortune's sacred grave, Will firm Fidelity exult to brave.
Led by what chart, transports the timid dove The wreaths of conquest or the vows of love?
Say, through the clouds what compass points her flight?
Monarchs have gazed, and nations blessed the sight.
Sweet bird! thy truth shall Harlem's walls attest,
Hark! the bee winds her small but mellow horn, Blithe to salute the sunny smile of morn. O'er thymy downs she bends her busy course, And many a stream allures her to its source. "Tis noon-'tis night. That eye so finely wrought, Beyond the search of sense, the soar of thought, Now vainly asks the scenes she left behind; Its orb so full, its vision so confined! Who guides the patient pilgrim to her cell? Who bids her soul with conscious triumph swell? With conscious truth retrace the mazy clue Of summer-scents, that charmed her as she flew! Hail, Memory, hail! thy universal reign Guards the least link of Being's glorious chain.
As the stern grandeur of a Gothic tower Awes us less deeply in its morning-hour, Than when the shades of Time serenely fall On every broken arch and ivied wall; The tender images we love to trace Steal from each year a melancholy grace! And as the sparks of social love expand, As the heart opens in a foreign land; And, with a brother's warmth, a brother's smile, The stranger greets each native of his isle; So scenes of life, when present and confest, Stamp but their bolder features on the breast; Yet not an image, when remotely viewed, However trivial, and however rude, But wins the heart, and wakes the social sigh, With every claim of close affinity!
Hail, Memory, hail! in thy exhaustless mine From age to age unnumbered treasures shine! Thought and her shadowy brood thy call obey, And Place and Time are subject to thy sway! Thy pleasures most we feel when most alone; The only pleasures we can call our own. Lighter than air, Hope's summer-visions die, If but a fleeting cloud obscure the sky; If but a beam of sober Reason play, Lo, Fancy's fairy frost-work melts away! But can the wiles of Art, the grasp of Power, Snatch the rich relics of a well-spent hour! These, when the trembling spirit wings her flight, Pour round her path a stream of living light; And gild those pure and perfect realms of rest, Where Virtue triumphs, and her sons are blest!
[From Human Life."]
The lark has sung his carol in the sky,
A few short years, and then these sounds shall hail
And soon again shall music swell the breeze; Soon, issuing forth, shall glitter through the trees Vestures of nuptial white; and hymns be sung, And violets scattered round; and old and young, In every cottage-porch with garlands green, Stand still to gaze, and, gazing, bless the scene, While, her dark eyes declining, by his side, Moves in her virgin veil the gentle bride.
And once, alas! nor in a distant hour,
He rests in holy earth with them that went before.
To minstrel-harps at midnight's witching hour!
The day arrives, the moment wished and feared; The child is born, by many a pang endeared, And now the mother's ear has caught his cry; Oh grant the cherub to her asking eye! He comes-she clasps him. To her bosom pressed, He drinks the balm of life, and drops to rest.
(Emblem of Truth divine, whose secret ray
Slowly, bareheaded, through the surf we bore
As worshipped forms, the Genii of the Wood!
At length the spell dissolves! The warrior's lance Rings on the tortoise with wild dissonance! And see, the regal plumes, the couch of state! Still where it moves the wise in council wait! See now borne forth the monstrous mask of gold, And ebon chair of many a serpent-fold; These now exchanged for gifts that thrice surpass The wondrous ring, and lamp, and horse of brass. What long-drawn tube transports the gazer home, Kindling with stars at noon the ethereal dome! 'Tis here: and here circles of solid light Charm with another self the cheated sight; As man to man another self disclose, That now with terror starts, with triumph glows! Then Cora came, the youngest of her race, And in her hands she hid her lovely face; Yet oft by stealth a timid glance she cast, And now with playful step the mirror passed, Each bright reflection brighter than the last! And oft behind it flew, and oft before;
The more she searched, pleased and perplexed the more!
And looked and laughed, and blushed with quick surprise!
Her lips all mirth, all ecstacy her eyes!
But soon the telescope attracts her view; And lo, her lover in his light canoe Rocking, at noontide, on the silent sea, Before her lies! It cannot, cannot be. Late as he left the shore, she lingered there, Till, less and less, he melted into air! Sigh after sigh steals from her gentle frame, And say that murmur-was it not his name! She turns, and thinks, and, lost in wild amaze, Gazes again, and could for ever gaze!
If thou shouldst ever come by choice or chance
To Modena, where still religiously
'Tis of a lady in her earliest youth,
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
It haunts me still, though many a year has fled,
Alone it hangs Over a mouldering heir-loom, its companion, An oaken-chest, half eaten by the worm, But richly carved by Antony of Trent With Scripture-stories from the life of Christ; A chest that came from Venice, and had held The ducal robes of some old ancestor. That by the way-it may be true or falseBut don't forget the picture; and thou wilt not, When thou hast heard the tale they told me there.
She was an only child; from infancy The joy, the pride of an indulgent sire. Her mother dying of the gift she gave, That precious gift, what else remained to him? The young Ginevra was his all in life, Still as she grew, for ever in his sight; And in her fifteenth year became a bride, Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria, Her playmate from her birth, and her first love. Just as she looks there in her bridal dress, She was all gentleness, all gaiety, Her pranks the favourite theme of every tongue. But now the day was come, the day, the hour; Now, frowning, smiling, for the hundredth time, The nurse, that ancient lady, preached decorum; And, in the lustre of her youth, she gave Her hand, with her heart in it, to Francesco.
Great was the joy; but at the bridal feast, When all sat down, the bride was wanting there. Nor was she to be found! Her father cried, "Tis but to make a trial of our love!'
And filled his glass to all; but his hand shook, And soon from guest to guest the panic spread. "Twas but that instant she had left Francesco, Laughing and looking back, and flying still,
Her ivory-tooth imprinted on his finger.
That mouldering chest was noticed; and 'twas said
The fairy isles fled far away; That with its woods and uplands green, Where shepherd-huts are dimly seen, And songs are heard at close of day; That, too, the deer's wild covert fled, And that, the asylum of the dead: While, as the boat went merrily, Much of Rob Roy the boatman told; His arm that fell below his knee, His cattle ford and mountain hold. Tarbat, thy shore I climbed at last; And, thy shady region passed, Upon another shore I stood, And looked upon another flood;2 Great Ocean's self! ("Tis he who fills That vast and awful depth of hills); Where many an elf was playing round, Who treads unshod his classic ground; And speaks, his native rocks among, As Fingal spoke, and Ossian sung.
Night fell, and dark and darker grew
When day springs upward from the deep!
Glad sign and sure, for now we hail
Oh blest retreat, and sacred too!
They stand between the mountains and the sea;3
1 Signifying in the Gaelic language an isthmus. Loch Long.
The temples of Pæstum are three in number, and have survived, nearly nine centuries, the total destruction of the city. Tradition is silent concerning them, but they must have sxisted now between two and three thousand years.
All silent now, as in the ages past,
The air is sweet with violets, running wild 'Mid broken friezes and fallen capitals; Sweet as when Tully, writing down his thoughts, Those thoughts so precious and so lately lost (Turning to thee, divine philosophy, Ever at hand to calm his troubled soul), Sailed slowly by, two thousand years ago, For Athens; when a ship, if north-cast winds Blew from the Pæstan gardens, slacked her course. On as he moved along the level shore, These temples, in their splendour eminent 'Mid arcs and obelisks, and domes and towers, Reflecting back the radiance of the west, Well might he dream of glory! Now, coiled up, The serpent sleeps within them; the she-wolf Suckles her young; and as alone I stand In this, the nobler pile, the elements Of earth and air its only floor and covering, How solemn is the stillness! Nothing stirs Save the shrill-voiced cicala flitting round On the rough pediment to sit and sing; Or the green lizard rustling through the grass, And up the fluted shaft with short quick spring, To vanish in the chinks that time has made.
In such an hour as this, the sun's broad disk Seen at his setting, and a flood of light Filling the courts of these old sanctuaries (Gigantic shadows, broken and confused, Athwart the innumerable columns flung), In such an hour he came, who saw and told, Led by the mighty genius of the place.1
Walls of some capital city first appeared, Half razed, half sunk, or scattered as in scorn; And what within them? What but in the midst These three in more than their original grandeur, And, round about, no stone upon another? As if the spoiler had fallen back in fear, And, turning, left them to the elements.
Go-you may call it madness, folly; You shall not chase my gloom away! There's such a charm in melancholy, I would not, if I could, be gay.
Oh, if you knew the pensive pleasure That fills my bosom when I sigh, You would not rob me of a treasure Monarchs are too poor to buy.
They are said to have been discovered by accident about the middle of the last century.
Mine be a cot beside the hill;
The swallow oft beneath my thatch
The village church, among the trees, Where first our marriage vows were given, With merry peals shall swell the breeze, And point with taper spire to heaven.
On a Tear.
Oh that the chemist's magic art
The little brilliant, ere it fell,
Sweet drop of pure and pearly light,
That very law which moulds a tear, And bids it trickle from its source, That law preserves the earth a sphere, And guides the planets in their course.
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, the greatest of metaphysical poets, is a native of Cockermouth, in the county of Cumberland, where he was born on the 7th of April 1770. His parents were enabled to bestow upon their children the advantages of a complete education (his father was law-agent to Lord Lonsdale), and the poet and his brother (now Dr Christopher Wordsworth, long master of Trinity college), after being some years at Hawkesworth school, in Lancashire, were sent to the university of Cambridge. William was entered of St John's in 1787. Poetry has been with him the early and almost the sole business of his life. Having finished his academical course, and taken his degree, he travelled for a short time; and marrying an amiable lady, his cousin, settled down among the lakes and mountains of Westmoreland. A gentleman dying in his neighbourhood left him a handsome legacy; other bequests followed; and about 1814, the patronage of the noble family of Lowther procured for the poet the easy and lucrative situation of Distributor of Stamps, which left the greater part of his time at his own disposal. In 1842 he resigned this situation in favour of his son, and government re
Wordsworth appeared as a poet in his twenty-third year, 1793. The title of his first work was The Evening Walk, and Descriptive Sketches. The walk is among the mountains of Westmoreland; the sketches refer to a tour made in Switzerland by the poet and his friend, the Rev. R. Jones, fellow of St John's college. The poetry is of the style of Goldsmith; but description predominates over reflection. The enthusiastic dreams of liberty which then buoyed up the young poet, and his associates Coleridge and Southey, appear in such lines as the following:
Oh give, great God, to freedom's waves to ride
In 1798 was published a collection of Lyrical Bal lads, some by Coleridge, but the greater part by