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"It is impossible to know how far knowledge will console us for the death of a friend and the ill that flesh is heir to.' With respect to the affections and poetry, you must know by a sympathy my thoughts that way, and I dare say these few lines will be but a ratification. "I wrote them on May-day, and intend to finish the ode all in good time."
OTHER of Hermes! and still youthful Maia!
May I sing to thee As thou wast hymned on the shores of Baiæ ?
Or may I woo thee
Of heaven and sew ears,
Content as theirs,
1 It is much to be regretted and expression perfect, as he did not finish this ode; every traveller in modern this commencement is in his Greece will recognize.-Ed. best manner: the sentiment Vol. III.
TO HIS BROTHER AND SISTER.
The following poem, the last I have written, is the first and only one with which I have taken even moderate pains. I have, for the most part, dashed off my lines in a hurry: this one I have done leisurely; I think it reads the more richly for it, and it will, I hope, encourage me to write other things in even a more peaceable and healthy spirit. You must recollect that Psyche was not embodied as a goddess before the time of Apuleius the Platonist, who lived after the Augustan age, and consequently the goddess was never worshipped or sacrificed to with any of the ancient fervour, and perhaps never thought of in the old religion: I am more orthodox than to set a heathen goddess be so neglected." Feb. 1819.
GODDESS! hear these tuneless numbers,
wrung By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear, And pardon that thy secrets should be sung,
Even into thine own soft-couched ear: Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see
The winged Psyche with awaken'd eyes? I wander'd in a forest thoughtlessly,
And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise, Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side
In deepest grass, beneath the whispering roof Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran
A brooklet, scarce espied : 'Mid hush'd, cool-rooted flowers fragrant-eyed,
Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian, They lay calm-breathing on the bedded grass;
Their arms embraced, and their pinions too;
Their lips touch'd not, but had not bade adieu As if disjoined by soft-handed slumber, And ready still past kisses to outnumber
At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love:
The winged boy I knew;
His Psyche true!
O latest-born and loveliest vision far
Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy!
Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;
Nor altar heap'd with flowers;
Upon the midnight hours ;
From chain-swung censer teeming;
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.
Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
Holy the air, the water, and the fire;
From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,
Fluttering among the faint Olympians,
Upon the midnight hours !
From swinged censer teeming :
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.
Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane
In some untrodden region of my mind,
Where branched thoughts, new-grown with pleas
ant pain, Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind: Far, far around shall those dark-cluster'd trees
Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep; And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,
The moss-lain Dryads shall be lulld to sleep; And in the midst of this wide quietness A rosy sanctuary will I dress With the wreath'd trellis of a working brain,
With buds, and bells, and stars without a name. With all the gardener Fancy e'er could feign,
Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same: And there shall be for thee all soft delight
That shadowy thought can win,
To let the warm Love in!
EASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness !
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.