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Build, at thy choice, or sing, by pool or fount,
In thankful bosoms to a modest pride.
SOFT as a cloud is yon blue Ridge,
Seems firm as solid crystal, breathless, clear,
And motionless; and, to the gazer's eye,
An emblem this of what the sober Hour
Can do for minds disposed to feel its power!
Thus oft, when we in vain have wished away
'Tis well, but what are helps of time and place, When wisdom stands in need of nature's grace; Why do good thoughts, invoked or not, descend, Like Angels from their bowers, our virtues to befriend;
If yet To-morrow, unbelied, may say,
"I come to open out, for fresh display, The elastic vanities of yesterday"?
THE leaves that rustled on this oak-crowned hill,
Of unsubstantial imagery, the dream,
Grave Creature! - whether, while the moon shines bright
On thy wings opened wide for smoothest flight, Thou art discovered in a roofless tower,
Rising from what may once have been a lady's bower;
Or spied where thou sitt'st moping in thy mew At the dim centre of a churchyard yew;
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, heedless Owl! Thee Athens reverenced in the studious grove; And, near the golden sceptre grasped by Jove, His Eagle's favorite perch, while round him sat 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 re
[This Impromptu appeared, many years ago, among the Author'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 sound of water that gushes,
And the cuckoo's sovereign cry
Fills all the hollow of the sky.
With that beautiful, soft half-moon,
On such a night as this is!
COMPOSED UPON AN EVENING OF EXTRAORDINARY SPLENDOR AND BEAUTY.
HAD this effulgence disapppeared
With flying haste, I might have sent,
Among the speechless clouds, a look
But 't is endued with power to stay,
That frail Mortality may see
- ah no, but what can be!
Time was when field and watery cove
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,
Methinks, if audibly repeated now
And solemn harmony pervades
The hollow vale from steep to steep,
Far-distant images draw nigh,
Called forth by wondrous potency
Whate'er it strikes with gem-like hues !
Herds range along the mountain-side