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her part towards a reconcilia tion with her mother, she was married to him. And here the third part of the Tale begins.

I was not led to choose this story from any partiality to tragic, much less to monstrous events (though at the time that I composed the verses, somewhat more than twelve years ago, I was less averse to such subjects than at present), but from finding in it a striking proof of the possible effect on the imagination, from an Idea violently and sud. denly impressed on it. I had been reading Bryan Ed. wards' account of the effect of the Oby witchcraft on the Negroes in the West Indies, and Hearne's deeply interesting anecdotes of similar workings on the imagination of the Copper Indians (those of my readers who have it in their power will be well repaid for the trouble of referring to those works for the passages alluded to) and I conceived the design of showing that instances of this kind are not peculiar to savage or barbarous tribes, and of illustrating the mode in which the mind is affected in these cases, and the process and symptoms of the morbid action on the fancy from the beginning.

The Tale is supposed to be narrated by an old Sexton, in a country church-yard, to a traveller whose curiosity had been awakened by the appearance of three graves, close by each other, to two only of which there were grave-stones. On the first of these was the name, and dates, as isual: on the second, no name, but only a date, and the words, The Mercy of God is infinite."]

1818.

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THE grapes upon the Vicar's wall

Were ripe as ripe could be ;
And yellow leaves in sun and wind

Were falling from the tree.

On the hedge-elms in the narrow lane

Still swung the spikes of corn:
Dear Lord ! it seems but yesterday-

Young Edward's marriage-morn.

The halcyon hears the voice of vernal hours
Already on the wing.

Eve following eve,
Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense of Home
Is sweetest! moments for their own sake hailed
And more desired, more precious for thy song,
In silence listening, like a devout child,
My soul lay passive, by thy various strain
Driven as in surges now beneath the stars,
With momentary stars of my own birth,
Fair constellated foam,* still darting off
Into the darkness ; now a tranquil sea,
Outspread and bright, yet swelling to the moon.

And when-O Friend ! my comforter and guide!
Strong in thyself, and powerful to give strength!
Thy long sustained Song finally closed,
And thy deep voice had ceased—yet thou thyself
Wert still before my eyes, and round us both
That happy vision of beloved faces-
Scarce conscious, and yet conscious of its close
I sate, my being blended in one thought
(Thought was it? or aspiration? or resolve ?)
Absorbed, yet hanging still upon the sound-
And when I rose, I found myself in prayer.

" A beautiful white cloud of fuam at momentary intervals coursed by the side of the vessel with a roar, and little stars of flame danced and sparkled and went out in it; and every now and then light detachments of this white cloud-like foam darted off from the vessel's side, each with its own small constellation, over the sea, and scoured out of sight like a Tartar troop over a wilderness.”Biographia Literaria, p. 197

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THE NIGHTINGALE.

A CONVERSATION POEM.

APRIL, 1798.


O cloud, no relique of the sunken day

Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
Of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues.
Come, we will rest on this old mossy bridge !
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring ; it flows silently,
O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
A balmy night! and though the stars be dim,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
That gladden the green earth, and we shall find
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,
“Most musical, most melancholy” bird !*
A melancholy bird ! Oh! idle thought!
In nature there is nothing melancholy.
But some night-wandering man whose heart was

pierced With the remembrance of a grievous wrong, Or slow distemper, or neglected love, (And so, poor wretch ! filled all things with him

self,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrow) he, and such as he,
First named these notes a melancholy strain.

*

Most musical, most melancholy." This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far superior to that of mere description. It is spoken in the character of the melancholy man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The author makes this remark, to rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with levity, to a line in Milton.

And

many a poet echoes the conceit: Poet who hath been building up the rhyme When he had better far have stretched his limbs Beside a brook in

mossy

forest-dell,
By sun or moon-light, to the influxes
Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
And of his fame forgetful ! so his fame
Should share in Nature's immortality,
A venerable thing! and so his song
Should make all Nature lovelier, and itself
Be loved like Nature! But 'twill not be so.
And youths and maidens most poetical,
Who lose the deepening twilights of the spring
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
O’er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.

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My Friend, and thou, our Sister! we have learnt A different lore; we may not thus profane Nature's sweet voices, always full of love And joyance! 'Tis the merry Nightingale That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates With fast thick warble his delicious notes, As he were fearful that an April night Would be too short for him to utter forth His love-chaunt, and disburthen his full soul Of all its music!

And I know a grove
Of large extent, hard by a castle huge,
Which the great lord inhabits not; and so
This grove is wild with tangling underwood,
And the trim walks are broken

up,
and

grass, Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths.

But never elsewhere in one place I knew
So many nightingales ; and far and near,
In wood and thicket, over the white grove,
They answer and provoke each other's song,
With skirmish and capricious passagings,
And murmurs musical and swift jug jug,
And one low piping sound more sweet than all-
Stirring the air with such a harmony,
That should

you
close

your eyes, you might almost
Forget it was not day! On moon-lit bushes,
Whose dewy leaflets are but half disclosed,
You may perchance behold them on the twigs,
Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright and

full, Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the shade Lights up her love-torch.

A most gentle Maid,
Who dwelleth in her hospitable home
Hard by the castle, and at latest eve
(Even like a Lady vowed and dedicate
To something more than Nature in the grove)
Glides through the path ways; she knows all their

notes,
That gentle Maid ! and oft a moment's space,
What time the moon was lost behind a cloud,
Hath heard a pause of silence; till the moon
Emerging, hath awakened earth and sky
With one sensation, and these wakeful birds
Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
As if some sudden gale had swept at once
A hundred airy harps ! And she hath watched
Many a nightingale perched giddily
On blossom twig still swinging from the breeze,

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