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But so many books thou readest,
Houses, with long white sweep,
Behind, through the soft air,
away, And (the world's so madly jangled,
The night was far more fair Human things so fast entangled)
But the same restless pacings to and fro, Nature's wish must now be strangled And the same vainly throbbing heart was For that best which she discerns.
And the same bright, calm moon. So it must be! yet, while leading
And the calm moonlight seems to say: A strained life, while overfeeding,
Hast thou then still the old unquiet breast, Like the rest, his wit with reading, 15 Which neither deadens into rest, No small profit that man earns,
Nor ever feels the fiery glow
That whirls the spirit from itself away, 30 Who through all he meets can steer him, But fluctuates to and fro, Can reject what cannot clear him,
Never by passion quite possessed Cling to what can truly cheer him; And never quite benumbed by the world's Who each day more surely learns
And I, I know not if to pray That an impulse, from the distance Still to be what I am, or yield and be 35 Of his deepest, best existence,
Like all the other men I see. To the words, “Hope, Light, Persistence,"
For most men in a brazen prison live, Strongly sets and truly burns.
Where, in the sun's hot eye,
Their lives to some unmeaning taskwork (1852)
give, In the deserted, moon-blanched street,
Dreaming of nought beyond their prison How lonely rings the echo of my feet!
wall. Those windows, which I gaze at, frown,
And as, year after year, Silent and white, unopening down,
Fresh products of their barren labor fall Repellant as the world; — but see,
From their tired hands, and rest A break between the housetops shows
Never yet comes more near, The moon! and, lost behind her, fading
Gloom settles slowly down over their
breast; dim Into the dewy dark obscurity
And while they try to stem Down at the far horizon's rim,
The waves of mournful thought by which Doth a whole tract of heaven disclose!
they are pressed, 10
Death in their prison reaches them,
Unfreed, having seen nothing, still unAnd to my mind the thought
15 On the wide ocean of life anew. The spring-tide's brimming flow
There the freed prisoner, where'er his Heaved dazzlingly between;
WRITTEN IN KENSINGTON GARDENS
Listeth, will sail;
55 A world above man's head, to let him Nor doth he know how there prevail, Despotic on that sea,
How boundless might his soul's horizons Trade-winds which cross it from eternity. be, Awhile he holds some false way, unde How vast, yet of what clear transparency! barred
How it were good to abide there, and By thwarting signs, and braves
90 The freshening wind and blackening How fair a lot to fill
Is left to each man still! And then the tempest strikes him; and
(1852) With anguished face and Aying hair
In this lone, open glade I lie, Grasping the rudder hard,
Screened by deep boughs on either hand; Still bent to make some port he knows
And at its end, to stay the eye, not where,
Those black-crowned, red-boled pine-trees Still standing for some false, impossible
stand! shore. And sterner comes the roar
70 Birds here make song, each bird has his, 5 Of sea and wind, and through the deep Across the girdling city's hum. ening gloom
How green under the boughs it is! Fainter and fainter wreck and helmsman How thick the tremulous sheep-cries loom,
come! And he too disappears, and comes
Sometimes a child will cross the glade
Sometimes a thrush Ait overhead
Deep in her unknown day's employ.
Here at my feet what wonders pass, Plainness and clearness without shadow of
What endless, active life is here! stain!
What blowing daisies, fragrant grass! 15 Clearness divine!
An air-stirred forest, fresh and clear. Ye heavens, whose pure dark regions have no sign
Scarce fresher is the mountain-sod Of languor, though so calm, and, though
Where the tired angler lies, stretched out, so great,
And, eased of basket and of rod, Are yet untroubled and unpassionate;
Counts his day's spoil, the spotted trout. 20 Who, though so noble, share in the world's
In the huge world, which roars hard by, toil,
Be others happy if they can! And, though so tasked, keep free from
But in my helpless cradle I dust and soil !
Was breathed on by the rural Pan.
That peace has left the upper world