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RESIDENCE IN LONDON.
Six changeful years have vanished since I first
Of short-lived transport, like a torrent bursting,
On thy departure to a foreign land
Has failed; too slowly moves the promised work. Through the whole summer have I been at rest, Partly from voluntary holiday,
* See Note.
And part through outward hindrance. But I heard,
After the hour of sunset yester-even,
Sitting within doors between light and dark,
A choir of redbreasts gathered somewhere near My threshold, - minstrels from the distant woods Sent in on Winter's service, to announce,
With preparation artful and benign,
That the rough lord had left the surly North
Smote me, and, listening, I in whispers said,
Clear-shining, like a hermit's taper seen
Through a thick forest. Silence touched me here
And the whole year breathed tenderness and love.
The last night's genial feeling overflowed Upon this morning, and my favorite grove,
Tossing in sunshine its dark boughs aloft,
Which we will now resume with lively hope,
Returned from that excursion,* soon I bade
Yet, undetermined to what course of life
At full command, to London first I turned,
By personal ambition unenslaved,
Frugal as there was need, and, though self-willed, From dangerous passions free. Three years had
Since I had felt in heart and soul the shock
Of the huge town's first presence, and had paced
*See p. 136.