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Nor the whole warbling grove in concert heard
When sunshine follows shower, the breast can thrill
Like the first summons, Cuckoo ! of thy bill,
With its twin notes inseparably paired.
The Captive ʼmid damp vaults unsunned, unaired,
Measuring the periods of his lonely doom,
That cry can reach ; and to the sick man's room
Sends gladness, by no languid smile declared.
The lordly Eagle-race through hostile search
May perish; time may come when never more
The wilderness shall hear the Lion roar ;
But, long as Cock shall crow from household perch
To rouse the dawn, soft gales shall speed thy wing,
And thy erratic voice be faithful to the Spring !
XLI. UNQUIET Childhood here by special grace Forgets her nature, opening like a flower That neither feeds nor wastes its vital power In painful struggles. Months each other chase, And nought untunes that Infant's voice; a trace Of fretful temper sullies not her cheek; Prompt, lively, self-sufficing, yet so meek That one enrapt with gazing on her face (Which even the placid innocence of Death Could scarcely make more placid, Heaven more bright) Might learn to picture, for the eye of faith, The Virgin, as she shone with kindred light; A Nursling couched upon her Mother's knee, Beneath some shady Palm of Galilee.
XLII. TO ROTHA QRotha, my Spiritual Child! this head was grey When at the sacred Font for Thee I stood; Pledged till thou reach the verge of womanhood, And shalt become thy own sufficient stay: Too late, I feel, sweet Orphan! was the day For stedfast hope the contract to fulfil; Yet shall my blessing hover o'er thee still, Embodied in the music of this Lay, Breathed forth beside the peaceful mountain Stream* Whose murmur soothed thy languid Mother's ear After her throes, this Stream of name more dear Since thou dost bear it,- a memorial theme For others; for thy future self a spell To summon fancies out of Time's dark cell.
XLIII. Such age how beautiful! O Lady bright, Whose mortal lineaments seem all refined By favouring Nature and a saintly Mind To something purer and more exquisite Than flesh and blood; whene'er thou meet'st my sight, When I behold thy blanched unwithered cheek, Thy temples fringed with locks of gleaming white, And head that droops because the soul is meek, Thee with the welcome Snowdrop I compare ; That Child of Winter, prompting thoughts that climb From desolation toward the genial prime; Or with the Moon conquering earth's misty air, And filling more and more with crystal light As pensive Evening deepens into night.
A GRAVE-STONE UPON THE FLOOR IN THE CLOISTERS OF
“ MISERRIMUS!” and neither name nor date,
Prayer, text, or symbol, graven upon the stone;
Nought but that word assigned to the unknown,
That solitary word — to separate
From all, and cast a cloud around the fate
Of him who lies beneath. Most wretched one,
Who chose his Epitaph ? Himself alone
Could thus have dared the grave to agitate,
And claim, among the dead, this awful crown;
Nor doubt that He marked also for his own,
Close to these cloistral steps a burial-place,
That every foot might fall with heavier tread,
Trampling upon his vileness. Stranger, pass
Softly! — To save the contrite, Jesus bled.
.- A TRADITION OF DARLEY DALE, DERBYSHIRE.
'Tis said that to the brow of yon fair hill
Two Brothers clomb, and, turning face from face,
Nor one look more exchanging, grief to still
Or feed, each planted on that lofty place
A chosen Tree; then, eager to fulfil
Their courses, like two new-born rivers, they
In opposite directions urged their way
Down from the far-seen mount. No blast might kill
Or blight that fond memorial;
the trees grew,
And now entwine their arms; but ne'er again
Embraced those Brothers upon earth's wide plain ;
Nor aught of mutual joy or sorrow knew
Until their spirits mingled in the sea
That to itself takes all — Eternity.
UNTOUCHED through all severity of cold,
Inviolate, whate'er the cottage hearth
Might need for comfort, or for festal mirth,
That Pile of Turf is half a century old :
Yes, Traveller ! fifty winters have been told
Since suddenly the dart of death went forth
'Gainst him who raised it, his last work on earth;
Thence by his Son more prized than aught which gold
Could purchase — watched, preserved by his own hands,
That, faithful to the Structure, still repair
Its waste. – Though crumbling with each breath of air,
In annual renovation thus it stands
Rude Mausoleum! but wrens nestle there,
And red-breasts warble when sweet sounds are rare.
TO R. B. HAYDON, ESQ. ON SEEING HIS PICTURE OF NAPOLEON
BUONA PARTE ON THE ISLAND OF ST. HELENA.
HAYDON ! let worthier judges praise the skill
Here by thy pencil shown in truth of lines
And charm of colours; I applaud those signs
Of thought, that give the true poetic thrill ;
That unencumbered whole of blank and still,
Sky without cloud — ocean without a wave;
And the one Man that laboured to enslave
The World, sole-standing high on the bare hill
Back turned, arms folded, the unapparent face
Tinged, we may fancy, in this dreary place
With light reflected from the invisible sun
Set like his fortunes; but not set for aye
Like them. The unguilty Power pursues his way,
And before him doth dawn perpetual run.
If these brief Records, by the Muses' art
Produced as lonely Nature or the strife
That animates the scenes of public life
Inspired, may in thy leisure claim a part;
And if these Transcripts of the private heart
Have gained a sanction from thy falling tears,
Then I repent not: but my soul hath fears
Breathed from eternity; for as a dart
Cleaves the blank air, Life flies : now every day
Is but a glimmering spoke in the swift wheel
Of the revolving week. Away, away,
All fitful cares, all transitory zeal ;
So timely Grace the immortal wing may heal
And honour rest upon the senseles clay.
XLIX. In my mind's eye a Temple, like a cloud Slowly surmounting some invidious hill, Rose out of darkness : the bright Work stood still, And might of its own beauty have been proud, But it was fashioned and to God was vowed By Virtues that diffused, in every part, Spirit divine through forms of human art: Faith had her arch her arch, when winds blow loud, Into the consciousness of safety thrilled ; And Love her towers of dread foundation laid Under the grave of things; Hope had her spire Star-high, and pointing still to something higher ; Trembling I gazed, but heard a voice — it said, Hell-gates are powerless Phantoms when we build.