Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

VIII.

[This Impromptu appeared, many years ago, among the Aathor's poems, from which, in subsequent editions, it was excluded. It is reprinted, at the request of the Friend in whose presence the lines were thrown off.]

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!

IX.

1804.

COMPOSED UPON AN EVENING OF EXTRAORDI NARY SPLENDOR AND BEAUTY.

I.

HAD this effulgence disapppeared

With flying haste, I might have sent,

Among the speechless clouds, a look
Of blank astonishment;

But 't is 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,

[ocr errors]

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

II.

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 godlike 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!

III.

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!

[ocr errors]

Wings at my shoulders seem to play ;

But, rooted here, I stand and gaze

On those bright steps that heavenward 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 noontide on the grassy ground,
Ye Genii! to his covert speed;

And wake him with such gentle heed

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

IV.

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, 't was 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,

O, 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 splendor fades; And night approaches with her shades.

1819.

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 vapors 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.

X.

COMPOSED BY THE SEA-SHORE.

WHAT mischief cleaves to unsubdued regret,
How fancy sickens by vague hopes beset,
How baffled projects on the spirit prey,
And fruitless wishes eat the heart away,
The Sailor knows; he best, whose lot is cast

On the relentless sea that holds him fast

On chance dependent, and the fickle star
Of power, through long and melancholy war.
O, sad it is, in sight of foreign shores,

Daily to think on old familiar doors,

Hearths loved in childhood, and ancestral floors; Or, tossed about along a waste of foam,

To ruminate on that delightful home

Which with the dear Betrothed was to come,
Or came and was and is, yet meets the eye
Never but in the world of memory;

Or in a dream recalled, whose smoothest range
Is crossed by knowledge, or by dread, of change,
And if not so, whose perfect joy makes sleep
A thing too bright for breathing man to keep!
Hail to the virtues which that perilous life
Extracts from Nature's elemental strife;
And welcome glory won in battles fought
As bravely as the foe was keenly sought!
But to each gallant Captain and his crew

« AnteriorContinuar »