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And lives there one, of all that come and go
On the great waters, toiling to and fro,
One, who has watched thee at some quiet hour,
Enthroned aloft in undisputed power,
Or crossed by vapory streaks and clouds that move
Catching the lustre they in part reprove,
Nor sometimes felt a fitness in thy sway
To call up thoughts that shun the glare of day, And make the serious happier than the gay?
Yes, lovely Moon! if thou so mildly bright
Dost rouse, yet surely in thy own despite,
To fiercer mood the frenzy-stricken brain,
Let me a compensating faith maintain ;
That there's a sensitive, a tender part
Which thou canst touch in every human heart,
For healing and composure.
And mightiest billows ever have confessed
Thy domination; as the whole vast Sea
Feels through her lowest depths thy sovereignty;
So shines that countenance with especial grace
On them who urge the keel her plains to trace,
Furrowing its way right onward. The most rude,
Cut off from home and country, may have stood,·
Even till long gazing hath bedimmed his eye,
Or the mute rapture ended in a sigh,
Touched by accordance of thy placid cheer,
With some internal lights to memory dear,
Or fancies stealing forth to soothe the breast,
Tired with its daily share of earth's unrest,
Gentle awakenings, visitations meek;
A kindly influence whereof few will speak, Though it can wet with tears the hardiest cheek.
And when thy beauty in the shadowy cave
Is hidden, buried in its monthly grave;
Then, while the Sailor, 'mid an open sea
Swept by a favoring wind that leaves thought free,
Paces the deck, no star perhaps in sight,
And nothing save the moving ship's own light To cheer the long, dark hours of vacant night, Oft with his musings does thy image blend,
In his mind's eye thy crescent horns ascend,
And thou art still, O Moon, that SAILOR'S FRIEND!
QUEEN of the stars! so gentle, so benign,
That ancient Fable did to thee assign,
When darkness creeping o'er thy silver brow
Warned thee these upper regions to forego,
Alternate empire in the shades below, -
A Bard, who lately, near the wide-spread sea
Traversed by gleaming ships, looked up to thee
With grateful thoughts, doth now thy rising hail
From the close confines of a shadowy vale.
Glory of night, conspicuous yet serene,
Nor less attractive when by glimpses seen
Through cloudy umbrage, well might that fair face,
And all those attributes of modest grace,
In days when Fancy wrought unchecked by fear,
Down to the green earth fetch thee from thy sphere
To sit in leafy woods by fountains clear!
O still beloved, (for thine, meek Power, are
That fascinate the very Babe in arms,
While he, uplifted towards thee, laughs outright,
Spreading his little palms in his glad Mother's sight,)
O still beloved, once worshipped! Time, that
In his destructive flight on earthly crowns,
Spares thy mild splendor; still those far-shot beams
Tremble on dancing waves and rippling streams
With stainless touch, as chaste as when thy praise
Was sung by Virgin-choirs in festal lays;
And through dark trials still dost thou explore
Thy way for increase punctual as of yore,
When teeming Matrons - yielding to rude faith
In mysteries of birth and life and death
And painful struggle and deliverance — prayed
Of thee to visit them with lenient aid.
What though the rites be swept away, the fanes
Extinct that echoed to the votive strains;
Yet thy mild aspect does not, cannot, cease
Love to promote and purity and peace;
And Fancy, unreproved, even yet may trace
Faint types of suffering in thy beamless face.
Then, silent Monitress! let us not blind To worlds unthought of till the searching mind Of Science laid them open to mankind, – Told, also, how the voiceless heavens declare God's glory; and acknowledging thy share In that blest charge; let us without offence
Receive whatever good 't is given thee to dispense.
May sage and simple, catching with one eye
The moral intimations of the sky,
Learn from thy course, where'er their own be taken,
"To look on tempests, and be never shaken ";
To keep with faithful step the appointed way,
Eclipsing or eclipsed, by night or day,
And from example of thy monthly range
Gently to brook decline and fatal change;
Meek, patient, steadfast, and with loftier scope
Than thy revival yields for gladsome hope!
GIORDANO, verily thy Pencil's skill
Hath here portrayed with Nature's happiest grace
The fair Endymion couched on Latmos hill
And Dian gazing on the Shepherd's face
In rapture, yet suspending her embrace,
As not unconscious with what power the thrill
Of her most timid touch his sleep would chase,
And, with his sleep, that beauty calm and still.
O may this work have found its last retreat
Here in a Mountain-bard's secure abode!
One to whom, yet a School-boy, Cynthia showed
A face of love which he in love would greet,
Fixed, by her smile, upon some rocky seat,
Or lured along where greenwood paths he trod.
RYDAL MOUNT, 1846.
WHO but is pleased to watch the moon on high
Travelling where she from time to time enshrouds
Her head, and nothing loth her majesty
Renounces, till among the scattered clouds
One with its kindling edge declares that soon
Will reappear before the uplifted eye
A Form as bright, as beautiful a moon,
To glide in open prospect through clear sky.
Pity that such a promise e'er should prove
False in the issue, that yon seeming space
Of sky should be in truth the steadfast face
Of a cloud flat and dense, through which must move
(By transit not unlike man's frequent doom)
The Wanderer lost in more determined gloom.