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While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when sick for home,
Forlorn ! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Fled is that music :—do I wake or sleep?
ODE ON A GRECIAN URN. i. Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness!
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? What men or gods are these? What maidens loath? What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy ?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter ; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare; Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
m. Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new; More happy love ! more happy, happy love! For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd, For ever panting and for ever young; All breathing human passion far above, That leaves a heart high sorrowful and cloy'd, A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest, Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? What little town by river or sea-shore, Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn 1 And, little town, thy streets for evermore Will silent be; and not a soul to tell Why thou art desolate, can e'er return, v. O Attic shape ! Fair attitude ! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. ODE TO PSYCHE.
O Goddess! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung
And pardon that thy secrets should be sung,
Surely I dreamt to day, or did I see
The winged Psyche with awaken'd eyes?
I wander'd in a forest thoughtlessly,
And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise, Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side
In deepest grass, beneath the whispering roof
Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran
Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian,
Their arms embraced, and their pinions too;
Their lips touch'd not, but had not bade adieu,
At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love:
But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove?
O latest-born and loveliest vision far •
Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy!
Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;
Nor altar heap'd with flowers;
Upon the midnight hours;
From chain-swung censer teeming;
Of pale-month'd prophet dreaming.
Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
Holy the air, the water, and the fire;
Yet even in these days so far retired
From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,
Fluttering among the faint Olympians,
So let me be thy choir, and make a moan
From swinged censer teeming:
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.
Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane
In some untrodden region of my mind, Where branched thoughts, new-grown with pleasant pain,
Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind: Far, far around shall those dark-cluster'd trees
Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep;
The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull'd to sleep;
With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,
Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same:
That shadowy thought can win,
To let the warm Love in!
Ever let the Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home:
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;
Then let winged Fancy wander
Through the thought still spread beyond her:
Open wide the mind's cage door,
She '11 dart forth, and cloudward soar.
O sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Summer's joys are spoilt by use,
And the enjoying of the Spring
Fades as does its blossoming:
Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too,
Blushing through the mist and dew,
Cloys with tasting: What do then?
Sit thee by the ingle, when
The sear faggot blazes bright,
Spirit of a winter's night;
When the soundless earth is muffled,
And the caked snow is shuffled
From the ploughboy's heavy shoon;
When the Night doth meet the Noon
In the dark conspiracy
To banish Even from her sky.
Sit thee there, and send abroad,
With a mind self-overawed,
Fancy, high-commission'd :—send her!
She has vassals to attend her:
She will bring, in spite of frost,
Beauties that the earth hath lost;
She will bring thee, all together,
All delights of summer weather ,
All the buds and bells of May,
From dewy sward or thorny spray;
All the heaped Autumn's wealth,
With a still, mysterious stealth:
She will mix these pleasures up
Like three fit wines in a cup,
And thou shalt quaff it:—thou shalt hear
Distant harvest-carols clear;
Rustle of the reaped corn;
Sweet birds antheming the morn:
And, in the same moment—hark!
'T is the early April lark,
Or the rooks, with busy caw,
Foraging for sticks and straw.
Thou shalt, at one glance, behold
The daisy and the marigold;
White-plumed lilies, and the first
Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst;
Shaded hyacinth, alway
Sapphire queen of the mid-May;
And every leaf, and every flower
Pearl'd with the self-same shower.