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THIS, AND THE TWO FOLLOWING, WERE SUGGESTED BY MR. W. WESTALL'S VIEWS OF THE CAVES, ETC. IN YORKSHIRE.
PURE element of waters! wheresoe'er
Thou dost forsake thy subterranean haunts,
Green herbs, bright flowers, and berry-bearing plants,
Rise into life and in thy train appear:
And, through the sunny portion of the year,
Swift insects shine, thy hovering pursuivants:
And, if thy bounty fail, the forest pants;
And hart and hind and hunter with his spear,
Languish and droop together. Nor unfelt
In man's perturbed soul thy sway benign;
And, haply, far within the marble belt
Of central earth, where tortured Spirits pine
For grace and goodness lost, thy murmurs melt
Their anguish,--and they blend sweet songs with thine.*
WAS the aim frustrated by force or guile,
When giants scooped from out the rocky ground
Tier under tier-this semicirque profound?
(Giants-the same who built in Erin's isle
That Causeway with incomparable toil!)
O, had this vast theatric structure wound
With finished sweep into a perfect round,
No mightier work had gained the plausive smile
Of all-beholding Phoebus! But, alas,
Vain earth!-false world!-Foundations must be laid
In Heaven; for, 'mid the wreck of is and was,
Things incomplete and purposes betrayed
Make sadder transits o'er truth's mystic glass
Than noblest objects utterly decayed.
* Waters (as Mr. Westall informs us in the letter-press prefixed to his admirable views) are invariably found to flow through these caverns.
Ar early dawn, or rather when the air
Glimmers with fading light, and shadowy Eve
Is busiest to confer and to bereave,
Then, pensive Votary! let thy feet repair
To Gordale-chasm, terrific as the lair
Where the young lions couch; -for so, by leave
Of the propitious hour, thou may'st perceive
The local Deity, with oozy hair
And mineral crown, beside his jagged urn,
Recumbent: Him thou may'st behold, who hides
His lineaments by day, yet there presides,
Teaching the docile waters how to turn;
Or, if need be, impediment to spurn,
And force their passage to the salt-sea tides!
THE MONUMENT COMMONLY CALLED LONG MEG AND HER DAUGHTERS, NEAR THE RIVER EDEN.
A WEIGHT of awe not easy to be borne
Fell suddenly upon my Spirit-cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past,
When first I saw that Sisterhood forlorn;
And Her, whose massy strength and stature scorn
The power of years-pre-eminent, and placed
Apart-to overlook the circle vast.
Speak, Giant-mother! tell it to the Morn
While she dispels the cumbrous shades of night;
Let the Moon hear, emerging from a cloud,
At whose behest uprose on British ground
Thy Progeny; in hieroglyphic round
Forth-shadowing, some have deemed, the infinite,
The inviolable God, that tames the proud!
XXIV.-COMPOSED AFTER A JOURNEY ACROSS THE
HAMBLETON HILLS, YORKSHIRE.
DARK and more dark the shades of evening fell;
The wished-for point was reached, but late the hour;
And little could be gained from all that dower
Of prospect, whereof many thousands tell.
Yet did the glowing west in all its power
Salute us; there stood Indian Citadel,
Temple of Greece, and Minster with its tower
Substantially expressed -a place for bell
Or clock to toll from. Many a tempting Isle,
With Groves that never were imagined, lay
'Mid Seas how steadfast! objects all for the eye
Of silent rapture; but we felt the while
We should forget them; they are of the sky,
And from our earthly memory fade away.
And from our earthly memory fade away."
THESE words were uttered as in pensive mood
We turned, departing from that solemn sight:
A contrast and reproach to gross delight,
And life's unspiritual pleasures daily wooed!
But now upon this thought I cannot brood;
It is unstable as a dream of night;
Nor will I praise a Cloud, however bright,
Disparaging Man's gifts, and proper food.
Grove, Isle, with every shape of sky-built dome,
Though clad in colours beautiful and pure,
Find in the heart of man no natural home:
The immortal Mind craves objects that endure:
These cleave to it; from these it cannot roam,
Nor they from it: their fellowship is secure.
COMPOSED UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, SEPT. 3. 1803.
EARTH has not any thing to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
OXFORD, MAY 30. 1820.
YE sacred Nurseries of blooming Youth!
In whose collegiate shelter England's Flowers
Expand enjoying through their vernal hours
The air of liberty, the light of truth;
Much have ye suffered from Time's gnawing tooth,
Yet, O ye Spires of Oxford! Domes and Towers!
Gardens and Groves! your presence overpowers
The soberness of Reason; till, in sooth,
Transformed, and rushing on a bold exchange,
I slight my own beloved Cam, to range
Where silver Isis leads my stripling feet;
Pace the long avenue, or glide adown
The stream-like windings of that glorious street, - An eager Novice robed in fluttering gown!
XXVIII. OXFORD, MAY 30. 1820.
SHAME on this faithless heart! that could allow
Such transport though but for a moment's space; Not while to aid the spirit of the place
The crescent moon clove with its glittering prow
The clouds, or night-bird sang from shady bough, But in plain daylight: She, too, at my side,
Who, with her heart's experience satisfied,
Maintains inviolate its slightest vow!
Sweet Fancy! other gifts must I receive;
Proofs of a higher sovereignty I claim;
Take from her brow the withering flowers of eve,
And to that brow Life's morning wreath restore;
Let her be comprehended in the frame
Of these illusions, or they please no more.
RECOLLECTION OF THE PORTRAIT OF KING HENRY EIGHTH, TRINITY LODGE, CAMBRIDGE.
THE imperial Stature, the colossal stride,
Are yet before me; yet do I behold
The broad full visage, chest of amplest mould,
The vestments 'broidered with barbaric pride:
And lo! a poniard, at the Monarch's side,
Hangs ready to be grasped in sympathy
With the keen threatenings of that fulgent eye,
Below the white-rimmed bonnet, far descried.
Who trembles now at thy capricious mood?
'Mid those surrounding worthies, haughty King,
We rather think, with grateful mind sedate,
How Providence educeth, from the spring
Of lawless will, unlooked-for streams of good,
Which neither force shall check, nor time abate!