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WRITTEN IN GERMANY,
ON ONE OF THE COLDEST DAYS OF THE CENTUR
[A BITTER winter it was when these verses were composed by the side of my Sister, in our lodgings at a draper's house in the romantic imperial town of Goslar, on the edge of the Hartz Forest. In this town the German emperors of the Franconian line were accustomed to keep their court, and it retains vestiges of ancient splendour. So severe was the cold of this winter, that when we passed out of the parlour warmed by the stove, our cheeks were struck by the air as by cold iron. I slept in a room over a passage which was not ceiled. The people of the house used to say, rather unfeelingly, that they expected I should be frozen to death some night; but, with the protection of a pelisse lined with fur, and a dog's-skin bonnet, such as was worn by the peasants, I walked daily on the ramparts, or in a sort of public ground or garden, in which was a pond. Here, I had no companion but a kingfisher, a beautiful creature, that used to glance by me. I consequently became much attached to it. During these walks I composed the poem that follows.] The Reader must be apprised, that the Stoves in North-Germany generally have the impression of a galloping horse upon them, this being part of the Brunswick Arms.
A PLAGUE on your languages, German and Norse!
And the tongs and the poker, instead of that horse
See that Fly, a disconsolate creature! perhaps
And, sorrow for him! the dull treacherous heat Has seduced the poor fool from his winter retreat, And he creeps to the edge of my stove.
Alas! how he fumbles about the domains
He cannot find out in what track he must crawl,
Stock-still there he stands like a traveller bemazed: The best of his skill he has tried
His feelers, methinks, I can see him put forth
To the east and the west, to the south and the north; But he finds neither guide-post nor guide.
His spindles sink under him, foot, leg, and thigh!
Between life and death his blood freezes and thaws;
No brother, no mate has he near him-while I
green summer grass were the floor of my room, And woodbines were hanging above.
Yet, God is my witness, thou small helpless Thing! Thy life I would gladly sustain
Till summer come up from the south, and with crowds Of thy brethren a march thou should'st sound through the clouds.
And back to the forests again!
A POET'S EPITAPH.
ART thou a Statist in the van
A Lawyer art thou ?-draw not nigh!
Art thou a Man of purple cheer ?
Or art thou one of gallant pride,
Physician art thou? one, all eyes,
Wrapt closely in thy sensual fleece,
A Moralist perchance appears;
Led, Heaven knows how! to this poor
One to whose smooth-rubbed soul can cling
Shut close the door; press down the latch;
Nor lose ten tickings of thy watch
But who is He, with modest looks,
He is retired as noontide dew,
The outward shows of sky and earth,
In common things that round us lie
That broods and sleeps on his own heart.
But he is weak; both Man and Boy,
The things which others understand.
-Come hither in thy hour of strength;
TO THE DAISY.
[THIS and the other Poems addressed to the same flower were composed at Town-end, Grasmere, during the earlier part of my residence there. I have been censured for the last line but one- "thy function apostolical"-as being little less than profane. How could it be thought so? The word is adopted with reference to its derivation, implying something sent on a mission; and assuredly this little flower, especially when the subject of verse, inay be regarded, in its humble degree, as administering both to moral and to spiritual purposes.]
BRIGHT Flower! whose home is everywhere,
And all the long year through the heir
Of joy or sorrow;
Methinks that there abides in thee
Some concord with humanity,
Given to no other flower I see
The forest thorough!