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AERIAL ROCK, whose solitary hrow
From this low threshold daily meets my sight,
When I step forth to hail the morning light,
Or quit the stars with a lingering farewell, how
Shall Fancy pay to thee a grateful vow?
How, with the Muse's aid, her love attest?
By planting on thy naked head the crest
Of an imperial Castle, which the plough
Of ruin shall not touch. Innocent scheme!
That doth presume no more than to supply
A grace the sinuous vale and roaring stream
Want, through neglect of hoar Antiquity.
Rise, then, ye votive Towers ! and catch a gleam
Of golden sunset, ere it fade and die.
O GENTLE SLEEP! do they belong to thee,
These twinklings of oblivion ? Thou dost love
To sit in meekness, like the brooding Dove,
A captive never wishing to be free.
This tiresome night, 0 Sleep! thou art to me
A Fly, that up and down himself doth shove
Upon a fretful rivule bov
Now on the water vexed with mockery.
I have no pain that calls for patience, no;
Hence am I cross and peevish as a child:
Am pleased by fits to have thee for my foe,
Yet ever willing to be reconciled :
O gentle Creature! do not use me so,
But once and deeply let me be beguiled.
Fond words have oft been spoken to thee, Sleep!
And thou hast had thy store of tenderest names;
The very sweetest Fancy culls or frames,
When thankfulness of heart is strong and deep !
Dear Bosom-child we call thee, that dost steep
In rich reward all suffering; Balm that tames
All anguish; Saint that evil thoughts and aims
Takest away, and into souls dost creep,
Like to a breeze from heaven. Shall I alone,
I surely not a man ungently made,
Call thee worst Tyrant by which flesh is crost?
Perverse, self-willed to own and to disown,
Mere slave of them who never for thee prayed,
Still last to come where thou art wanted most!
A FLOCK of sheep that leisurely pass by,
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murinuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;
I have thought of all by turns, and yet to lie
Sleepless ! and soon the small birds' melodies
Must hear, first uttered from my orchard trees;
And the first cuckoo's melancholy cry.
Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lay,
And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth;
So do not let me wear to-night away :
Without thee what is all the morning's wealth ?
Come, blessed barrier between day and day,
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health !
The imperial Consort of the Fairy-king
Owns not a sylvan bower; or gorgeous cell
With emerald floored, and with purpureal shell
Ceilinged and roofed ; that is so fair a thing
As this low structure, for the tasks of Spring
Prepared by one who loves the buoyant swell
Of the brisk waves, yet here consents to dwell,
And spreads in steadfast peace her brooding wing.
Words cannot paint the o'ershadowing yew-tree
And dimly-gleaming Nest, a hollow crown
Of golden leaves inlaid with silver down,
Fine as the mother's softest plumes allow :
I gazed, — and, self-accused while gazing, sighed For human-kind, weak slaves of cumbrous pride!
WRITTEN UPON A BLANK LEAF IN
WAILE flowing rivers yield a blameless sport
Shall live the name of Walton: Sage benign !
Whose pen, the mysteries of the rod and line
Unfolding, did not fruitless exhort
To reverend watching of each still report
That Nature utters from her rural shrine.
Meek, nobly versed in simple discipline,
He found the longest summer day too short,
To his loved pastime given by sedgy Lee,
Or down the tempting maze of Shawford Brook.
Fairer than life itself, in this sweet Book,
The cowslip-bank and shady willow-tree;
And the fresh meads, where flowed, from every
Of his full bosom, gladsome Piety!
BARD of the Fleece, whose skilful genius made That work a living landscape fair and bright; Nor hallowed less with musical delight
Than those soft scenes through which thy child
hood strayed, Those southern tracts of Cambia, “deep embayed, With green hills fenced, with ocean's murmur
lulled "; Though hasty Fame hath many a chaplet culled For worthless brows, while in the pensive shade Of cold neglect she leaves thy head ungraced, Yet pure and powerful minds, hearts meek and still, A grateful few, shall love thy modest Lay, Long as the shepherd's bleating flock shall stray O'er naked Snowdon's wide aërial waste; Long as the thrush shall pipe on Grongar Hill !
ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED THE PUBLICATION
See Milton's Sonnet, beginning, “ A Book was writ of late
A Book came forth of late, called PETER BELL;
Not negligent the style ; – the matter? - good
As aught that song records of Robin Hood;
Or Roy, renowned through many a Scottish dell;
But some (who brook those hackneyed themes
Nor heat, at Tam O'Shanter's name, their blood)
Waxed wroth, and with foul claws, a harpy brood,
On Bard and Hero clamorously fell.
Heed not, wild Rover once through heath and glen,