« AnteriorContinuar »
form, and the beauty immediately surrounding it, but also as being overlooked by the eminence of Langdale Pikes as Lake Nemi is by that of Monte Calvo. Since this Epistle was written Loughrigg Tarn has lost much of its beauty by the felling of many natural clumps of wood, relics of the old forest, particularly upon the farm called "The Oaks," from the abundance of that tree which grew there.
It is to be regretted, upon public grounds, that Sir George Beaumont did not carry into effect his intention of constructing here a Summer Retreat in the style I have described; as his taste would have set an example how buildings, with all the accommodations modern society requires, might be introduced even into the most secluded parts of this country without injuring their native character. The design was not abandoned from failure of inclination on his part, but in consequence of local untowardness which need not be particularised.
GOLD AND SILVER FISHES IN A VASE.
THE soaring lark is blest as proud
While Ye, in lasting durance pent,
For something more than dull content,
Yet might your glassy prison seem
Type of a sunny human breast
Is your transparent cell;
Where Fear is but a transient guest,
No sullen Humours dwell;
Where, sensitive of every ray
That smites this tiny sea,
Your scaly panoplies repay
The loan with usury.
How beautiful!-Yet none knows why
This ever-graceful change,
Within your quiet range.
Is it that ye with conscious skill
For mutual pleasure glide;
And sometimes, not without your will,
Are dwarfed, or magnified?
Fays, Genii of gigantic size!
And now, in twilight dim,
Clustering like constellated eyes,
In wings of Cherubim,
When the fierce orbs abate their glare;—
Whate'er your forms express,
Whate'er ye seem, whate'er ye are―
All leads to gentleness.
Cold though your nature be, 'tis pure;
Your birthright is a fence
From all that haughtier kinds endure
Ah! not alone by colours bright
Are Ye to heaven allied,
When, like essential Forms of light,
Ye mingle, or divide.
For day-dreams soft as e'er beguiled
Day-thoughts while limbs repose;
For moonlight fascinations mild,
Accept, mute Captives! thanks and praise;
Delight resembling love.
SEQUEL TO THE PRECEDING.
Addressed to a friend; the gold and silver fishes having been removed to a pool in the pleasureground of Rydal Mount.
"The liberty of a people consists in being governed by laws which they have made for themselves, under whatever form it be of government. The liberty of a private man, in being master of his own time and actions, as far as may consist with the laws of God and of his country. Of this latter we are here to discourse."-COWLEY.
THOSE breathing Tokens of your kind regard,
No winds disturb; the mirror of whose breast Is smooth as clear, save where with dimples small
A fly may settle, or a blossom fall.
-There swims, of blazing sun and beating shower
Fearless (but how obscured!) the golden Power,
Of hue and altering shape that charmed all eyes.
And, if not so, what matters beauty gone
While musing here I sit in shadow cool, And watch these mute Companions, in the pool, (Among reflected boughs of leafy trees) By glimpses caught-disporting at their ease, Enlivened, braced, by hardy luxuries,
I ask what warrant fixed them (like a spell
Beautiful, yet in mournful durance bound. Their peace, perhaps, our lightest footfall marred;
On their quick sense our sweetest music jarred; And whither could they dart, if seized with fear?
No sheltering stone, no tangled root was near. When fire or taper ceased to cheer the room, They wore away the night in starless gloom; 55 And when the sun first dawned upon the streams,
How faint their portion of his vital beams! Thus, and unable to complain, they fared, While not one joy of ours by them was shared.
Is there a cherished bird (I venture now 60 To snatch a sprig from Chaucer's reverend brow)
Is there a brilliant fondling of the cage, Though sure of plaudits on his costly stage, Though fed with dainties from the snow-white
Of a kind mistress, fairest of the land,
The bed we give him, though of softest down;
If doomed to breathe against his lawful will