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Composed at Grasmere, during a walk, one Evening, after a stormy day, the Author having just read in a Newspaper that the dissolution of Mr. Fox was hourly expected.
Loud is the Vale! the Voice is up
With which she speaks when storms are gone,
A mighty Unison of streams!
Of all her Voices, One!
Loud is the Vale;—this inland Depth
In peace is roaring like the Sea;
Yon Star upon the mountain-top
Is listening quietly.
Sad was I, ev'n to pain depress'd,
Importunate and heavy load!*
The Comforter hath found me here,
Upon this lonely road;
And many thousands now are sad,
Wait the fulfilment of their fear;
For he must die who is their Stay,
Their Glory disappear.
* Importuna e grave salma.
A Power is passing from the earth
To breathless Nature's dark abyss;
But when the Mighty pass away
What is it more than this,
That Man, who is from God sent forth,
Doth yet again to God return ?—
Such ebb and flow must ever be;
Then wherefore should we mourn?
Written, November 13,1814, on a blank leaf in a Copy of the Author's Poem The Excursion, upon hearing of the death of the late Vicar of Kendal.
To public notice, with reluctance strong,
Did I deliver this unfinished Song;
Yet for one happy issue;—and I look
With self-congratulation on the Book
Which pious, learned Murfitt saw and read;—
Upon my thoughts his saintly Spirit fed;
He conn'd the new-born Lay with grateful heart; .
Foreboding not how soon he must depart,
Unweeting that to him the joy was given
Which good Men take with them from Earth to Heaven.
SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE OF PEELE CASTLE, IN A STORM, PAINTED BY SIR GEORGE BEAUMONT.
I Was thy Neighbour once, thou rugged Pile!
Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of thee:
I saw thee every day; and all the while
Thy Form was sleeping on a glassy sea.
So pure the sky, so quiet was the air!
So like, so very like, was day to day!
Whene'er I look'd, thy Image still was there;
It trembled, but it never pass'd away.
How perfect was the calm! it seem'd no sleep;
No mood, which season takes away, or brings:
I could have fancied that the mighty Deep
Was even the gentlest of all gentle Things.
VOl. ii. 7.
Ah! Then, if mine had been the Painter's hand,
To express what then I saw; and add the gleam,
The light that never was, on sea or land,
The consecration, and the Poet's dream;
I would have planted thee, thou hoary Pile [
Amid a world how different from this f
Beside a sea that could not cease to smile;
On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss:
Thou shouldst have seem'd a treasure-house, a mine
Of peaceful years; a chronicle of heaven:—
Of all the sunbeams that did ever shine
The very sweetest had to thee been given.
A Picture had it been of lasting ease,
Elysian quiet, without toil or strife;
No motion but the moving tide, a breeze,
Or merely silent Nature's breathing life.
Such, in the fond illusion of my heart,
Such Picture would I at that time have made:
And seen the soul of truth in every part;
A faith, a trust, that could not be betray'd.
So once it would have been,—'tis so no more;
I have submitted to a new control:
A power is gone, which nothing can restore;
A deep distress hath humaniz'd my Soul.
Not for a moment could I now behold
A smiling sea and be what I have been:The feeling of my loss will ne'er be old;This, which I know, I speak with mind serene.
Then, Beaumont, Friend! who would have been the Friend,
If he had lived, of Him whom I deplore,
This Work of thine I blame not, but commend;
This sea in anger, and that dismal shore.
Oh'tis a passionate Work!—yet wise and well;
Well chosen is the spirit that is here;
That Hulk which labours in the deadly swell,
This rueful sky, this pageantry of fear!
And this huge Castle, standing here sublime,
I love to see the look with which it braves,
Cased iu the unfeeling armour of old time,
The lightning, the fierce wind, and trampling waves,