Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

A humbler destiny have we retraced,
And told of lapse and hesitating choice,
And backward wanderings along thorny ways:
Yet compassed round by mountain solitudes,
Within whose solemn temple I received

My earliest visitations, careless then

Of what was given me; and which now I range,
A meditative, oft a suffering man-
Do I declare, in accents which, from truth
Deriving cheerful confidence, shall blend
Their modulation with these vocal streams,
That, whatsoever falls my better mind,
Revolving with the accidents of life,
May have sustained, that, howsoe'er misled,
Never did I, in quest of right and wrong,
Tamper with conscience from a private aim;
Nor was in any public hope the dupe
Of selfish passions; nor did ever yield
Wilfully to mean cares or low pursuits,
But shrunk with apprehensive jealousy
From every combination which might aid
The tendency, too potent in itself,
Of use and custom to bow down the soul
Under a growing weight of vulgar sense,
And substitute a universe of death

For that which moves with light and life informed, Actual, divine, and true. To fear and love,

To love as prime and chief, for there fear ends, Be this ascribed; to early intercourse,

In presence of sublime or beautiful forms,

With the adverse principles of pain and joy,
Evil as one is rashly named by men

Who know not what they speak. By love subsists
All lasting grandeur, by pervading love;
That gone, we are as dust.-Behold the fields
In balmy spring-time full of rising flowers

And joyous creatures; see that pair, the lamb And the lamb's mother, and their tender ways Shall touch thee to the heart; thou callest this love,

And not inaptly so, for love it is,

Far as it carries thee. In some green bower
Rest, and be not alone, but have thou there
The One who is thy choice of all the world:
There linger, listening, gazing, with delight
Impassioned, but delight how pitiable!

Unless this love by still higher love

Be hallowed, love that breathes not without awe;
Love that adores, but on the knees of
prayer,
By Heaven inspired; that frees from chains the
soul,

Lifted, in union with the purest, best,
Of earth-born passions, on the wings of praise
Bearing a tribute to the Almighty's Throne.

This spiritual Love acts not nor can exist
Without Imagination, which, in truth,
Is but another name for absolute power
And clearest insight, amplitude of mind,
And Reason in her most exalted mood.

This faculty hath been the feeding source
Of our long labor: we have traced the stream
From the blind cavern whence is faintly heard
Its natal murmur; followed it to light
And open day; accompanied its course
Among the ways of Nature, for a time
Lost sight of it bewildered and ingulfed :
Then given it greeting as it rose once more
In strength, reflecting from its placid breast.
The works of man and face of human life;
And lastly, from its progress have we drawn
Faith in life endless, the sustaining thought
Of human Being, Eternity, and God.

Imagination having been our theme,
So also hath that intellectual Love,

For they are each in each, and cannot stand
Dividually. Here must thou be, O Man!
Power to thyself; no Helper hast thou here;
Here keepest thou in singleness thy state:
No other can divide with thee this work:
No secondary hand can intervene
To fashion this ability; 't is thine,
The prime and vital principle is thine
In the recesses of thy nature, far
From any reach of outward fellowship,
Else is not thine at all. But joy to him,
O joy to him who here hath sown, hath laid
Here, the foundation of his future years!
For all that friendship, all that love can do,

[ocr errors]

All that a darling countenance can look
Or dear voice utter, to complete the man,
Perfect him, made imperfect in himself,

All shall be his and he whose soul hath risen

:

Up to the height of feeling intellect

Shall want no humbler tenderness; his heart
Be tender as a nursing mother's heart;
Of female softness shall his life be full,
Of humble cares and delicate desires,
Mild interests and gentlest sympathies.

Child of my parents! Sister of my soul! Thanks in sincerest verse have been elsewhere Poured out for all the early tenderness

Which I from thee imbibed: and 't is most true
That later seasons owed to thee no less;
For, spite of thy sweet influence and the touch
Of kindred hands that opened out the springs
Of genial thought in childhood, and in spite
Of all that unassisted I had marked

In life or nature of those charms minute

That win their way into the heart by stealth
(Still to the very going-out of youth),
I too exclusively esteemed that love,

And sought that beauty, which, as Milton sings,
Hath terror in it. Thou didst soften down
This over-sternness; but for thee, dear Friend'
My soul, too reckless of mild grace, had stood
In her original self too confident,

Retained too long à countenance severe;

VOL. VII.

21

A rock with torrents roaring, with the clouds
Familiar, and a favorite of the stars:
But thou didst plant its crevices with flowers,
Hang it with shrubs that twinkle in the breeze,
And teach the little birds to build their nests
And warble in its chambers. At a time
When Nature, destined to remain so long
Foremost in my affections, had fallen back
Into a second place, pleased to become
A handmaid to a nobler than herself,
When every day brought with it some new sense
Of exquisite regard for common things,

And all the earth was budding with these gifts
Of more refined humanity, thy breath,
Dear Sister! was a kind of gentler spring
That went before my steps. Thereafter came
One whom with thee friendship had early paired;
She came, no more a phantom to adorn
A moment, but an inmate of the heart,
And yet a spirit, there for me enshrined
To penetrate the lofty and the low;
Even as one essence of pervading light
Shines in the brightest of ten thousand stars,
And the meek worm that feeds her lonely lamp
Couched in the dewy grass.

With such a theme Coleridge! with this my argument, of thee Shall I be silent? O capacious Soul! Placed on this earth to love and understand, And from thy presence shed the light of love,

« AnteriorContinuar »