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II. Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room; And Hermits are contented with their cells; And Students with their pensive citadels: Maids at the wheel, the Weaver at his loom, Sit blithe and happy; Bees that soar for bloom, High as the highest Peak of Furness Fells, Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells: In truth, the prison, unto which we doom Ourselves, no prison is: and hence to me, In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground: Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be) Who have felt the weight of too much liberty, Should find brief solace there, as I have found.
WRITTEN IN VERY EARLY YOUTH.
Calm is all nature as a resting wheel.
The Kine are couched upon the dewy grass ;
The Horse alone, seen dimly as I pass,
Is cropping audibly his later meal :
Dark is the ground; a slumber seems to steal
O’er vale, and mountain, and the starless sky.
Now, in this blank of things, a harmony,
Homefelt, and home-created, seems to heal
That grief for which the senses still supply
Fresh food; for only then, when memory
Is hushed, am I at rest. My Friends! restrain
Those busy cares that would allay my pain;
Oh! leave me to myself, nor let me feel
The officious touch that makes me droop again,
IV.-ADMONITION. Intended more particularly for the Perusal of those who may have happened to be enamoured of some beautiful Place of Retreat, in the Country of the Lakes. Yes, there is holy pleasure in thine eye! - The lovely Cottage in the guardian nook Hath stirred thee deeply; with its own dear brook, Its own small pasture, almost its own sky! But covet not the Abode; — forbear to sigh, As many do, repining while they look; Intruders who would tear from Nature's book This precious leaf, with harsh impiety. Think what the Home must be if it were thine, Even thine, though few thy wants !-- Roof, window,door, The very flowers are sacred to the Poor, The roses to the Porch which they entwine: Yea, all, that now enchants thee, from the day On which it should be touched, would melt, and melt away.
“ BELOVED Vale!” I said, “ when I shall con
Those many records of my childish years,
Remembrance of myself and of my peers
Will press me down: to think of what is gone
Will be an awful thought, if life have one."
But, when into the Vale I came, no fears
Distressed me; from mine eyes escaped no tears;
Deep thought, or awful vision, had I none.
By doubts and thousand petty fancies crost,
I stood of simple shame the blushing Thrall;
So narrow seemed the brooks, the fields so small.
A Juggler's balls old Time about him tossed;
I looked, I stared, I smiled, I laughed ; and all
The weight of sadness was in wonder lost.
PELION and Ossa flourish side by side,
Together in immortal books enrolled :
His ancient dower Olympus hath not sold;
And that inspiring Hill, which “ did divide
Into two ample horns his forehead wide,"
Shines with poetic radiance as of old;
While not an English Mountain we behold
By the celestial Muses glorified.
Yet round our sea-girt shore they rise in crowds:
What was the great Parnassus' self to Thee,
Mount Skiddaw? In his natural sovereignty
Our British Hill is fairer far; he shrouds
His double front among Atlantic clouds,
And pours forth streams more sweet than Castaly.
THERE is a little unpretending Rill
Of limpid water, humbler far than aught
That ever among Men or Naiads sought
Notice or name! - It quivers down the hill,
Furrowing its shallow way with dubious will;
Yet to my mind this scanty Stream is brought
Oftener than Ganges or the Nile; a thought
Of private recollection sweet and still!
Months perish with their moons; year treads on year;
But, faithful Emma, thou with me canst say
That, while ten thousand pleasures disappear,
And flies their memory fast almost as they,
The immortal Spirit of one happy day
Lingers beside that Rill, in vision clear,
Her only Pilot the soft breeze, the Boat
Lingers, but Fancy is well satisfied;
With keen-eyed Hope, with Memory, at her side,
And the glad Muse at liberty to note
All that to each is precious, as we float
Gently along; regardless who shall chide
If the Heavens smile, and leave us free to glide,
Happy Associates breathing air remote
From trivial cares. But, Fancy and the Muse,
Why have I crowded, this small Bark with you
And others of your kind, Ideal Crew!
While here sits One whose brightness owes its hues
To flesh and blood; no Goddess from above,
No fleeting Spirit, but my own true Love ?
The fairest, brightest hues of ether fade;
The sweetest notes must terminate and die;
O Friend! thy flute has breathed a harmony
Softly resounded through this rocky glade;
Such strains of rapture as
* the Genius played
In his still haunt on Bagdad's summit high;
He who stood visible to Mirzah's eye,
Never before to human sight betrayed.
Lo, in the vale, the mists of evening spread!
The visionary Arches are not there,
Nor the green Islands, nor the shining Seas;
Yet sacred is to me this Mountain's head,
From which I have been lifted on the breeze
Of harmony, above all earthly care.
See the Vision of Mirza in the Spectator.
X. -- UPON THE SIGHT OF A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE,
PAINTED BY SIR G. H. BEAUMONT, BART.
PRAISED be the Art whose subtle power could stay
Yon Cloud, and fix it in that glorious shape;
Nor would permit the thin smoke to escape,
Nor those bright sunbeams to forsake the day;
Which stopped that Band of Travellers on their way,
Ere they were lost within the shady wood;
And showed the Bark upon the glassy flood
For ever anchored in her sheltering Bay.
Soul-soothing Art! which Morning, Noon-tide, Even,
Do serve with all their changeful pageantry;
Thou, with ambition modest yet sublime,
Here, for the sight of mortal man, hast given
To one brief moment caught from fleeting time
The appropriate calm of blest eternity.
“Wuy, Minstrel, these untuneful murmurings
Dull, flagging notes that with each other jar?”
“ Think, gentle Lady, of a Harp so far
From its own Country, and forgive the strings."
A simple Answer! but even so forth springs,
From the Castalian fountain of the heart,
The Poetry of Life, and all that Art
Divine of words quickening insensate Things.
From the submissive necks of guiltless Men
Stretched on the block, the glittering axe recoils;
Sun, Moon, and Stars, all struggle in the toils
Of mortal sympathy; what wonder then
If the poor Harp distempered music yields
To its sad Lord, far from his native Fields ?