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The azure brooks, where Dian joys to lave
Her spotless limbs; and ventured to explore
Dim shades — for relics, upon Lethe's shore,
Cast up at random by the sullen wave.
To female hands the treasures were resigned ;
And lo this Work! - a grotto bright and clear
From stain or taint; in which thy blameless mind
May feed on thoughts though pensive not austere;
Or, if thy deeper spirit be inclined
To holy musing, it may enter here.
Lady! the songs of Spring were in the grove
While I was shaping beds for winter flowers;
While I was planting green unfading bowers,
And shrubs, — to hang upon the warm alcove,
And sheltering wall; and still, as Fancy wove
The dream, to time and nature's blended powers
I gave this paradise for winter hours,
A labyrinth, Lady! which your feet shall rove.
Yes! when the sun of life more feebly shines,
Becoming thoughts, I trust, of solemn gloom
Or of high gladness you shall hither bring;
And these perennial bowers and murmuring pines
Be gracious as the music and the bloom
And all the mighty ravishment of Spring.
ΧΙΧ. THERE is a pleasure in poetic pains Which only Poets know ;—'t was rightly said ; Whom could the Muses else allure to tread Their smoothest paths, to wear their lightest chains? When happiest Fancy has inspired the strains, How oft the malice of one luckless word Pursues the Enthusiast to the social board, Haunts him belated on the silent plains ! Yet he repines not, if his thought stand clear, At last, of hindrance and obscurity, Fresh as the star that crowns the brow of morn; Bright, speckless, as a softly moulded tear The moment it has left the virgin's eye, Or rain-drop lingering on the pointed thorn.
The Shepherd, looking eastward, softly said,
“ Bright is thy veil, O Moon, as thou art bright!”
Forthwith, that little cloud, in ether spread
And penetrated all with tender light,
She cast away, and showed her fulgent head
Uncovered ; dazzling the beholder's sight
As if to vindicate her beauty's right,
Her beauty thoughtlessly disparagèd.
Meanwhile that veil, removed or thrown aside,
Went floating from her, darkening as it went;
And a huge mass, to bury or to hide,
Approached this glory of the firmament;
Who meekly yields, and is obscured, — content
With one calm triumph of a modest pride.
WHEN haughty expectations prostrate lie,
And grandeur crouches like a guilty thing,
Oft shall the lowly weak, till nature bring
Mature release, in fair society
Survive, and Fortune's utmost anger try;
Like these frail snowdrops that together cling,
And nod their helmets, smitten by the wing
Of many a furious whirl-blast sweeping by.
Observe the faithful flowers ! if small to great
May lead the thoughts, thus struggling used to stand
The Emathian phalanx, nobly obstinate;
And so the bright immortal Theban band,
Whom onset fiercely urged at Jove's command
Might overwhelm, but could not separate !
XXII. Hail, Twilight, sovereign of one peaceful hour ! Not dull art thou as undiscerning Night; But studious only to remove from sight Day's mutable distinctions. — Ancient Power! Thus did the waters gleam, the mountains lower, To the rude Briton, when, in wolf-skin vest Here roving wild, he laid him down to rest
On the bare rock, or through a leafy bower Looked ere his eyes were closed. By him was
seen The selfsame Vision which we now behold, At thy meek bidding, shadowy Power! brought
These mighty barriers, and the gulf between;
The flood, the stars, — a spectacle as old
As the beginning of the heavens and earth!
With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the sky,
“ How silently, and with how wan a face !”
Where art thou? Thou so often seen on high
Running among the clouds a Wood-nymph’s race !
Unhappy Nuns, whose common breath 's a sight
Which they would stifle, move at such a pace!
The Northern Wind, to call thee to the chase,
Must blow to-night his bugle-horn. Had I
The power of Merlin, Goddess! this should be:
And all the stars, fast as the clouds were riven,
Should sally forth, to keep thee company,
Hurrying and sparkling through the clear blue
heaven; But, Cynthia ! should to thee the palm be given, Queen both for beauty and for majesty.
Even as a dragon's eye that feels the stress
Of a bedimming sleep, or as a lamp
Suddenly glaring through sepulchral damp,
So burns yon Taper 'mid a black recess
Of mountains, silent, dreary, motionless :
The lake below reflects it not; the sky,
Muffled in clouds, affords no company
To mitigate and cheer its loneliness.
Yet, round the body of that joyless Thing,
Which sends so far its melancholy light,
Perhaps are seated in domestic ring
A gay society with faces bright,
Conversing, reading, laughing; — or they sing,
While hearts and voices in the song unite.
XXV. The stars are mansions built by Nature's hand, And, haply, there the spirits of the blest Dwell, clothed in radiance, their immortal vest; Huge Ocean shows, within his yellow strand, A habitation marvellously planned, For life to occupy in love and rest; All that we see is dome, or vault, or nest, Or fortress, reared at Nature's sage command. Glad thought for every season! but the Spring Gave it while cares were weighing on my heart,