Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

That mossy slope, o'er which the woodbine throws A canopy, is smoothed for thy repose!

Glad moment is it when the throng
Of warblers in full concert strong
Strive, and not vainly strive, to rout
The lagging shower, and force coy Phæbus out,
Met by the rainbow's form divine,
Issuing from her cloudy shrine;-
So may the thrillings of the lyre
Prevail to further our desire,
While to these shades a Nymph I call,
The youngest of the lovely Three.-
Come, if the notes thine ear may pierce,
Submissive to the might of verse,
By none more deeply felt than thee!”

I sang; and lo! from pastimes virginal
She hastens to the tents
Of nature, and the lonely elements.
Air sparkles round her with a dazzling sheen,
And mark her glowing cheek, her vesture green!
And, as if wishful to disarm
Or to repay the potent charm,
She bears the stringéd lute of old romance,
That cheered the trellised arbour's privacy,
And soothed war-wearied knights in raftered hall.
How light her air! how delicate her glee!
So tripped the Muse, inventress of the dance;
So, truant in waste woods, the blithe Euphrosyne!

But the ringlets of that head
Why are they ungarlanded?
Why bedeck her temples less
Than the simplest shepherdess ?

Is it not a brow inviting
Choicest flowers that ever breathed,
Which the myrtle would delight in
With Idalian rose enwreathed?
But her humility is well content
With one wild floweret (call it not forlorn)
FLOWER OF THE WINDS, beneath her bosom worn;
Yet is it more for love than ornament.

Open, ye thickets! let her fly,
Swift as a Thracian Nymph o'er field and height!
For She, to all but those who love Her shy,
Would gladly vanish from a Stranger's sight;
Though where she is beloved, and loves, as free
As bird that rifles blossoms on a tree,
Turning them inside out with arch audacity.

She stops

Alas! how little can a moment show
Of an eye where feeling plays
In ten thousand dewy rays;
A face o'er which a thousand shadows go!

is fastened to that rivulet's side ;
And there (while, with sedater mien,
O'er timid waters that have scarcely left
Their birth-place in the rocky cleft
She bends) at leisure may be seen
Features to old ideal grace allied,
Amid their smiles and dimples dignified
Fit countenance for the soul of primal truth,
The bland composure of eternal youth !

What more changeful than the sea ?
But over his great tides
Fidelity presides;
And this light-hearted Maiden constant is as he.

High is her aim as heaven above,
And wide as ether her good-will,
And, like the lowly reed, her love
Can drink its nurture from the scantiest rill;
Insight as keen as frosty star
Is to her charity no bar,
Nor interrupts her frolic graces
When she is, far from these wild places,
Encircled by familiar faces.

O the charm that manners draw,
Nature, from thy genuine law!
If from what her hand would do,
Her voice would utter, there ensue
Aught untoward or unfit,
She, in benign affections pure,
In self.forgetfulness secure,
Sheds round the transient harm or vague mischance
A light unknown to tutored elegance:
Her’s is not a cheek shame-stricken,
But her blushes are joy-flushes
And the fault (if fault it be)
Only ministers to quicken
Laughter-loving gaiety,
And kindle sportive wit
Leaving this Daughter of the mountains free
As if she knew that Oberon king of Faery
Had crossed her purpose with some quaint vagary,
And heard his viewless bands
Over their mirthful triumph clapping hands.

“ Last of the Three, though eldest born,
Reveal thyself, like pensive morn,
Touched by the skylark's earliest note,
Ere humbler gladness be afloat.

But whether in the semblance drest
Of dawn or eve, fair vision of the west,
Come with each anxious hope subdued
By woman's gentle fortitude,
Each grief, through meekness, settling into rest.

Or I would hail thee when some high-wrought page
Of a closed volume lingering in thy hand
Has raised thy spirit to a peaceful stand
Among the glories of a happier age.”

Her brow hath opened on me see it there,
Brightening the umbrage of her hair;
So gleams the crescent moon, that loves
To be descried through shady groves.

- Tenderest bloom is on her cheek;
Wish not for a richer streak
Nor dread the depth of meditative eye;
But let thy love, upon that azure field
Of thoughtfulness and beauty, yield
Its homage offered up in purity. -
What would'st thou more? In sunny glade
Or under leaves of thickest shade,
Was such a stillness e'er diffused
Since earth grew calm while angels mused?
Softly she treads, as if her foot were loth
To crush the mountain dew-drops, soon to melt
On the flower's breast; as if she felt
That flowers themselves, whate'er their hue,
With all their fragrance, all their glistening,
Call to the heart for inward listening ;
And though for bridal wreaths and tokens true
Welcomed wisely — though a growth
Which the careless shepherd sleeps on,
As fitly spring from turf the mourner weeps on,
And without wrong are cropped the marble tomb to strew.

The charm is over; the mute phantoms gone,
Nor will return but droop not, favoured Youth ;
The apparition that before thee shone
Obeyed a summons covetous of truth.
From these wild rocks thy footsteps I will guide
To bowers in which thy fortune may be tried,
And one of the bright Three become thy happy Bride!

XXVI.

Her eyes are wild, her head is bare,
The sun has burnt her coal-black hair;
Her eyebrows have a rusty stain,
And she came far from over the main.
She has a Baby on her arm,
Or else she were alone;
And underneath the hay-stack warm,
And on the greenwood stone,
She talked and sung the woods among,
And it was in the English tongue.

“Sweet Babe! they say that I am mad,
But nay, my heart is far too glad ;
And I am happy when I sing
Full many a sad and doleful thing :
Then, lovely Baby, do not fear!
I pray thee have no fear of me;
But, safe, as in a cradle, here,
My lovely Baby! thou shalt be:
To thee I know too much I owe;
I cannot work thee any woe.

« НазадПродовжити »