Imágenes de páginas

Or, from a rifted crag or ivy tod

Deep in a forest, thy secure abode,

Thou giv'st, for pastime's sake, by shriek or shout,
A puzzling notice of thy whereabout-

May the night never come, nor day be seen,
When I shall scorn thy voice or mock thy mien!
In classic ages men perceived a soul
Of sapience in thy aspect, headless Owl!
Thee Athens reverenced in the studious grove;
And, near the golden sceptre grasped by Jove,
His Eagle's favourite perch, while round him sate
The Gods revolving the decrees of Fate,
Thou, too, wert present at Minerva's side:-
Hark to that second larum !-far and wide

The elements have heard, and rock and cave replied.



[REPRINTED at the request of my Sister, in whose presence the lines were thrown off.]

This Impromptu appeared, many years ago, among the Author's poems, from which, in subsequent editions, it was excluded.

THE sun has long been set,

The stars are out by twos and threes,
The little birds are piping yet

Among the bushes and trees;

There's a cuckoo, and one or two thrushes,
And a far-off wind that rushes,

And a sound of water that gushes,

And the cuckoo's sovereign cry
Fills all the hollow of the sky.
Who would 'go parading'
In London, and masquerading,'
On such a night of June

With that beautiful soft half-moon,

And all these innocent blisses ?

On such a night as this is!




[FELT and in a great measure composed upon the little mount in front of our abode at Rydal. In concluding my notices of this class of poems it may be as well to observe that among the "Miscellaneous Sonnets" are a few alluding to morning impressions which might be read with mutual benefit in connection with these "Evening Voluntaries." See, for example, that one on Westminster Bridge, that composed on a May morning, the one on the song of the Thrush, and that beginning— "While beams of orient light shoot wide and high."]


HAD this effulgence disappeared

With flying haste, I might have sent,
Among the speechless clouds, a look

Of blank astonishment;

But 'tis endued with power to stay,
And sanctify one closing day,
That frail Mortality may see-
What is ?-ah no, but what can be!

Time was when field and watery cove
With modulated echoes rang,

While choirs of fervent Angels sang

Their vespers in the grove;

Or, crowning, star-like, each some sovereign height, Warbled, for heaven above and earth below,

Strains suitable to both.-Such holy rite,

Methinks, if audibly repeated now
From hill or valley, could not move
Sublimer transport, purer love,

Than doth this silent spectacle-the gleam-
The shadow-and the peace supreme!


No sound is uttered, but a deep
And solemn harmony pervades

The hollow vale from steep to steep,
And penetrates the glades.
Far-distant images draw nigh,

Called forth by wondrous potency
Of beamy radiance, that imbues,

Whate'er it strikes, with gem-like hues!
In vision exquisitely clear,

Herds range along the mountain side;
And glistening antlers are descried;
And gilded flocks appear.

Thine is the tranquil hour, purpureal Eve!
But long as god-like wish, or hope divine,
Informs my spirit, ne'er can I believe
That this magnificence is wholly thine!
-From worlds not quickened by the sun
A portion of the gift is won;

An intermingling of Heaven's pomp is spread
On ground which British shepherds tread!


And, if there be whom broken ties

Afflict, or injuries assail,

Yon hazy ridges to their eyes

Present a glorious scale,

Climbing suffused with sunny air,
To stop-no record hath told where!
And tempting Fancy to ascend,
And with immortal Spirits blend!
-Wings at my shoulders seem to play;
But, rooted here, I stand and gaze

On those bright steps that heaven-ward raise
Their practicable way.

Come forth, ye drooping old men, look abroad,
And see to what fair countries ye are bound!
And if some traveller, weary of his road,
Hath slept since noon-tide on the grassy ground,
Ye Genii! to his covert speed;

And wake him with such gentle heed


may attune his soul to meet the dower Bestowed on this transcendent hour!


Such hues from their celestial Urn
Were wont to stream before mine eye,
Where'er it wandered in the morn
Of blissful infancy.

This glimpse of glory, why renewed?

Nay, rather speak with gratitude;

For, if a vestige of those gleams
Survived, 'twas only in my dreams.

Dread Power! whom peace and calmness serve
No less than Nature's threatening voice,
If aught unworthy be my choice,

From THEE if I would swerve;

Oh, let thy grace remind me of the light
Full early lost, and fruitlessly deplored;
Which, at this moment, on my waking sight
Appears to shine, by miracle restored;
My soul, though yet confined to earth,
Rejoices in a second birth!

'Tis past, the visionary splendour fades;
And night approaches with her shades.


Note. The multiplication of mountain-ridges, described at the commencement of the third Stanza of this Ode, as a kind of Jacob's Ladder, leading to Heaven, is produced either by watery vapours, or sunny haze; -in the present instance by the latter cause. Allusions to the Ode, entitled 'Intimations of Immortality,' pervade the last stanza of the foregoing Poem.



[THESE lines were suggested during my residence under my Son's roof at Moresby, on the coast near Whitehaven, at the time when I was composing those verses among the "Evening Voluntaries" that have reference to the sea. It was in that neighbourhood I first became acquainted with the ocean and its appearances and movements. My infancy and early childhood were passed at Cockermouth, about eight miles from the coast, and I well remember that mysterious awe with which I used to listen to anything said about storms and shipwrecks. Sea-shells of many descriptions were common in the town; and I was not a little surprised when I heard that Mr. Landor had

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