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Than they, the favourites of youth and health,
Of riches and of fame, who have renounced
The glorious promise of the life to come,
Clinging to death.
Low on the utmost bound'ry of the sight,
The rising vapours catch the silver light;
Thence fancy measures, as they parting fly,
Which first will throw its shadow on the eye,
Passing the source of light; and thence away,
Succeeded quick by brighter still than they.
For yet above these wafted clouds are seen
(In a remoter sky still more serene)
Others, detached in ranges through the air,
Spotless as snow, and countless as they're fair;
Scattered immensely wide from east to west,
The bea uteous semblance of a flock at rest.
These, to the raptured mind, aloud proclaim
Their mighty Shepherd's everlasting name;
And thus the loitrer's utmost stretch of soul
Climbs the still clouds, or passes those that roll,
And loosed imagination soaring goes
High o'er his home, and all his little woes.
SAY, ye that know, ye who have felt and seen
Spring's morning smiles, and soul-enlivening green,
Say, did you give the thrilling transport way;
Did your eye brighten, when young lambs at play
Leaped o'er your path with animated pride,
Or gazed in merry clusters by your side?
Ye who can smile—to wisdom no disgrace-
At the arch meaning of a kitten's face;
If spotless innocence, and infant mirth,
Excites to praise, or gives reflection birth;
In shades like these pursue your favourite joy,
'Midst nature's revels, sports that never cloy.
A few begin a short but vigorous race,
And indolence, abashed, soon flies the place :
Thus challenged forth, see thither, one by one,
From every side, assembling playmates run;
A thousard wily antics mark their stay,
A starting crowd, impatient of delay :
Like the fond dove from fearful prison freed,
Each seems to say, “Come, let us try our speed;"
Away they scour, impetuous, ardent, strong,
The green turf trembling as they bound along
Adown the slope, then up the hillock climb,
Where every molehill is a bed of thyme,
Then, panting, stop ; yet scarcely can refrain,
A bird, a leaf, will set them off again :
Or, if a gale with strength unusual blow,
Scattering the wild-brier roses into snow,
Their little limbs increasing efforts try;
Like the torn flower, the fair assemblage fly.
Ah, fallen rose ! sad emblem of their doom ;
Frail as thyself, they perish while they bloom !
ETHEREAL Minstrel! Pilgrim of the sky!
Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound?
Or, while the wings aspire, are heart and eye
Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground?
Thy nest which thou canst drop into at will,
Those quivering wings composed, that music still !
To the last point of vision, and beyond,
Mount, daring Warbler! that love-prompted strain,
('Twixt thee and thine a never-failing bond)
Thrills not the less the bosom of the plain :
Yet mightst thou seem, proud privilege! to sing
All independent of the leafy spring.
Leave to the Nightingale her shady wood;
A privacy of glorious light is thine;
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood
Of harmony, with rapture more divine;
Type of the wise who soar, but never roam;
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home!
ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE VENETIAN
ONCE did she hold the gorgeous East in fee ;
And was the safeguard of the West: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest child of Liberty.
She was a Maiden City, bright and free ;
No guile seduced, no force could violate;
And, when she took unto herself a Mate,
She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reached its final day :
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
Of that which once was great, is passed away.
It is not to be thought of that the Flood
Of British freedom, which to the open Sea
Of the world's praise from dark antiquity
Hath flowed,“ with pomp of waters, unwithstood,”
Roused though it be full often to a mood
Which spurns the check of salutary bands,
That this most famous Stream in bogs and sands
Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
Armoury of the invincible knights of old :
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakspeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held.—In everything we are sprung
Of Earth's first blood, have titles manifold.
Oh! many are the Poets that are sown
By Nature; Men endowed with highest gifts,
The vision and the faculty divine,
Yet wanting the accomplishment of verse,
(Which, in the docile season of their youth,
It was denied them to acquire, through lack
Of culture and the inspiring aid of books,
Or haply by a temper too severe,
Or a nice backwardness afraid of shame);
Nor having e'er, as life advanced, been led
By circumstance to take unto the height
The measure of themselves, these favoured beings,
All but a scattered few, live out their time,
Husbanding that which they possess within
And go to the grave unthought of. Strongest minds
Are often those of whom the noisy world
Hears least; else surely this man had not left
His graces unrevealed and unproclaimed.
But, as the mind was filled with inward light,
So not without distinction had he lived,
Beloved and honoured—far as he was known.
And some small portion of his eloquent speech,
And something that may serve to set in view
The feeling pleasures of his loneliness,
His observations, and the thoughts his mind
Had dealt with—I will here record in verse;
Which, if with truth it correspond, and sink
Or rise, as venerable Nature leads,
The high and tender Muses shall accept