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DEJECTION: AN ODE

O Lady! in this and heartless (1802)

mood,

To other thoughts by yonder throstle Late, late yestreen I saw the new Moon, With the old Moon in her arms;

wooed, And I fear, I fear, my Master dear!

All this long eve, so balmy and serene, We shall have a deadly storm. Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence. Have I been gazing on the western sky,

And its peculiar tint of yellow green: And still I gaze

and with how blank an eye!

30 Well! If the bard was weather-wise, who And those thin clouds above, in flakes and made

bars, The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick That give away their motion to the stars; Spence,

Those stars, that glide behind them or beThis night, so tranquil now,

tween, hence

Now sparkling, now bedimmed, but always Unroused by winds that ply a busier trade Than those which mould yon cloud in lazy Yon crescent Moon, as fixed as if it flakes,

grew Or the dull sobbing draft, that moans and In its own cloudless, starless lake of blue; rake's

I see them all so excellently fair, Upon the strings of this Æolian lute,

I see, not feel, how beautiful they are! Which better far were mute. For lo! the New-moon winter-bright! And overspread with phantom light, (With swimming phantom light o'er

My genial spirits fail; spread,

And what can these avail But rimmed and circled by a silver

To lift the smothering weight from off my thread)

breast? I see the old Moon in her lap, foretelling

It were a vain endeavor, The coming-on of rain and squally blast.

Though I should gaze for ever And oh! that even now the gust were

On that green light that lingers in the swelling, And the slant night-shower driving loud

I may not hope from outward forms to and fast!

win Those sounds which oft have raised me,

The passion and the life whose fountains whilst they awed,

are within. And sent my soul abroad, Might now perhaps their wonted impulse give,

O Lady! we receive but what we give, Might startle this dull pain, and make it And in our life alone does Nature live: move and live!

20 Ours is her wedding-garment, ours her

shroud! And would we aught behold, of higher

worth, A grief without a pang, void, dark, and Than that inanimate cold world allowed drear,

To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd, A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief, Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth Which finds no natural outlet, no relief, A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud In word, or sigh, or tear

Enveloping the Earth —

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And from the soul itself must there be

sent A sweet and potent voice, of its own

birth, Of all sweet sounds the life and element!

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O pure of heart! thou need'st not ask of

me

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VII

What this strong music in the soul may

be! What, and wherein it doth exist, This light, this glory, this fair luminous

mist, This beautiful and beauty-making power. Joy, virtuous Lady! Joy that ne'er was

given, Save to the pure,

and in their purest hour, Life, and Life's effluence, cloud at once

and shower, Joy, Lady! is the spirit and the power Which, wedding Nature to us, gives in

dower A new Earth and new Heaven, Undreamt of by the sensual and the proud

70 Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous

cloud

We in ourselves rejoice! And thence flows all that charms or ear

or sight, All melodies the echoes of that voice, All colors a suffusion from that light. 75

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VI

Of agony by torture lengthened out
That lute sent forth! Thou Wind, that

rav'st without, Bare crag, or mountain-tairn, or blasted

tree, Or pine-grove whither woodman never

clomb, Or lonely house, long held the witches'

home, Methinks were fitter instruments for

thee, Mad Lutanist! who in this month of

showers, Of dark brown gardens, and of peeping

flowers, Mak'st Devil's yule, with worse than

wintry song, The blossoms, buds, and timorous leaves

among. Thou Actor, perfect in all tragic sounds!

There was a time when, though my path

was rough, This joy within me dallied with dis

tress, And all misfortunes were but as the

stuff Whence Fancy made me dreams of hap

piness: For hope grew round me, like the twining

vine,

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Their life the eddying of her living soul!

O simple spirit, guided from above, Dear Lady! friend devoutest of my choice, Thus mayest thou ever, evermore rejoice.

THE GOOD, GREAT MAN

(1802)

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Thou mighty Poet, even to frenzy bold !

What tell'st thou now about?
'Tis of the rushing of an host in

rout, With groans of trampled men, with

smarting wounds At once they groan with pain, and shudder

with the cold! But hush! there is a pause of deepest

silence! And all that noise, as of a rushing

crowd, With groans, and tremulous shudder

ings - all is over — It tells another tale, with sounds less

deep and loud!
A tale of less affright,

And tempered with delight,
As Otway's self had framed the tender

lay,
'Tis of a little child

Upon a lonesome wild,
Not far from home, but she hath lost her

way: And now moans low in bitter grief and

fear, And now screams loud, and hopes to make

her mother hear.

“How seldom, friend! a good great man

inherits Honor or wealth with all his worth

and pains! It sounds like stories from the land of

spirits If any man obtain that which he merits,

Or any merit that which he obtains.” 5

REPLY TO THE ABOVE

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For shame, dear friend, renounce this

canting strain! What would'st thou have a good great

man obtain ? Place? titles? salary? a gilded chain? Or throne of corses which his sword had

slain? Greatness and goodness are not means,

but ends! Hath he not always treasures, always

friends, The good great man? three treasures,

LOVE, and LIGHT, And calm THOUGHTS, regular as infant's

breath: And three firm friends, more sure than

day and night, HIMSELF, his MAKER, and the

DEATH!

VIII

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ANGEL

'Tis midnight, but small thoughts have I

of sleep: Full seldom may my friend such vigils

keep! Visit her, gentle Sleep! with wings of

healing, And may this storm be but a mountain

birth, May all the stars hang bright above her

dwelling,
Silent as though they watched the sleep-

ing Earth!
With light heart may she rise,

Gay fancy, cheerful eyes,
Joy lift her spirit, joy attune her

voice; To her may all things live, from pole to

pole,

THE PAINS OF SLEEP

(1803)

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THE KNIGHT'S TOMB

(1817 ?)

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Where is the grave of Sir Arthur O’Kel

lyn? Where may the grave of that good man

be? By the side of a spring, on the breast of

Helvellyn, Under the twigs of a young birch tree! The oak that in summer was sweet to hear,

5 And rustled its leaves in the fall of the

year, And whistled and roared in the winter alone,

- and the birch in its stead is grown. The Knight's bones are dust, And his good sword rust; His soul is with the saints, I trust.

But yester-night I prayed aloud
In anguish and in agony,
Up-starting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me:
A lurid light, a trampling throng,
Sense of intolerable wrong,
And whom I scorned, those only strong! 20
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will
Still baffled, and yet burning still!
Desire with loathing strangely mixed
On wild or hateful objects fixed.
Fantastic passions! maddening brawl! 25
And shame and terror over all!
Deeds to be hid which were not hid,
Which all confused I could not know
Whether I suffered, or I did:
For all seemed guilt, remorse or woe,
My own or others still the same
Life-stilling fear, soul-stilling shame!

Is gone,

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YOUTH AND AGE

(1823-32)

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Verse, a breeze mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee
Both were mine! Life went a-maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,

When I was young!
When I was young? — Ah, woful When!
Ah! for the change 'twixt Now and Then!
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O’er aery cliffs and glittering sands,
How lightly then it flashed along: -
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Nought cared this body for wind or

weather When Youth and I lived in't together. Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like; Friendship is a sheltering tree; O! the joys, that came down shower

like, Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,

Ere I was old!

Had waked me from the fiendish dream, O'ercome with sufferings strange and

wild, I wept as I had been a child: And having thus by tears subdued My anguish to a milder mood, Such punishments, I said, were due To natures deepliest stained with sin, For aye entempesting anew The unfathomable hell within, The horror of their deeds to view, To know and loathe, yet wish and do! Such griefs with such men well agree, But wherefore, wherefore fall on me? 50 To be beloved is all I need, And whom I love, I love indeed.

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Ere I was old? Ah woful Ere,
Which tells me, Youth's no longer here!
O, Youth! for years

sweet,
'Tis known, that Thou and I were one,
I'll think it but a fond conceit
It cannot be that Thou art gone!
Thy vesper-bell hath not yet tolled: -
And thou wert aye a masker bold!
What strange disguise hast now put on,
To make believe, that thou art gone?
I see these locks in silvery slips,
This drooping gait, this altered size:
But Spring-tide blossoms on thy lips,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes!
Life is but thought: so think I will
That Youth and I are house-mates still.

Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom

ye may, For

ye bloom not! Glide, rich

streams, away! With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow,

I stroll: And would you learn the spells that

drowse my soul? Work without Hope draws nectar in a

sieve, And Hope without an object cannot live.

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THE GARDEN OF BOCCACCIO

(1828) Of late, in one of those most weary

hours, When life seems emptied of all genial

powers, A dreary mood, which he who ne'er has

known May bless his happy lot, I sate alone; And, from the numbing spell to win relief,

5 Called on the Past for thought of glee or

grief. In vain! bereft alike of grief and glee, I sate and cow'red o'er my own vacancy! And as I watched the dull continuous

ache, Which, all else slumb'ring, seemed alone

to wake; O Friend! long wont to notice yet con

ceal, And soothe by silence what words cannot

heal, I but half saw that quiet hand of thine Place on my desk this exquisite design: Boccaccio's Garden and its faery, The love, the joyaunce, and the gallantry! An Idyll, with Boccaccio's spirit warm, Framed in the silent poesy of form.

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WORK WITHOUT HOPE

(1825)

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All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave

their lair The bees are stirring — birds are on the

wing – And Winter slumbering in the open air, Wears on his smiling face a dream of

Spring! And I the while, the sole unbusy thing, 5 Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor

sing.

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Yet well I ken the banks where ama

ranths blow, Have traced the fount whence streams

of nectar flow.

Of music soft, that not dispels the sleep, But casts in happier moulds the slum

berer's dream;

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