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The spreading bluebells; it may haply mourn That such fair clusters should be rudely torn From their fresh beds, and scatter'd thoughtlessly By infant hands, left on the path to die.
Open afresh your round of starry solds,
Ye ardent marigolds!
Dry up the moisture from your golden lids,
For great Apollo bids
That in these days your praises should be sung
On many harps which he has lately strung;
And when again your dewiness he kisses,
Tell him, I have you in my world of blisses:
So haply when I rove in some far vale,"
His mighty voice may come upon the gale.
Here are sweet peas, on tiptoe for a flight:
With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white,
And taper fingers catching at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny rings.
Linger awhile upon some bending planks
That lean against a streamlet's rushy banks,
And watch intently Nature's gentle doings:
They will be found softer than ring-dove's cooings.
How silent comes the water round that bend;
Not the minutest whisper does it send
To the o'erhanging sallows: blades of grass
Slowly across the chequer'd shadows pass.
Why you might read two sonnets, ere they reach
To where the hurrying freshnesses aye preach
A natural sermon o'er their pebbly beds;
Where swarms of minnows show their little heads,
Staying their wavy bodies 'gainst the streams,
To taste the luxury of sunny beams
Temper'd with coolness. How they ever wrestle
With their own sweet delight, and ever nestle
Their silver bellies on the pebbly sand
If you but scantily hold out the hand,
That very instant not one will remain;
But turn your eye, and they are there again.
The ripples seem right glad to reach those cresses,
And cool themselves among the emerald tresses;
The while they cool themselves, they freshness give,
And moisture, that the bowery green may live:
So keeping up an interchange of favors,
Like good men in the truth of their behaviors.
Sometimes goldfinches one by one will drop
From low-hung branches: little space they stop;
But sip, and twitter, and their feathers sleek;
Then off at once, as in a wanton freak:
Or perhaps, to show their black and golden wings,
Pausing upon their yellow flutterings.
Were I in such a place, I sure should pray
That naught less sweet might call my thoughts away,
Than the soft rustle of a maiden's gown
Fanning away the dandelion's down :
Than the light music of her nimble toes
Patting against the sorrel as she goes.
How she would start, and blush, thus to be caught
Playing in all her innocence of thought !
O let me lead her gently o'er the brook,
Watch her half-smiling lips and downward look;
O let me for one moment touch her wrist;
Let me one moment to her breathing list;
And as she leaves me may she often turn
Her fair eyes looking through her locks auburn.
What next? A tust of evening primroses,
O'er which the mind may hover till it dozes;
O'er which it well might take a pleasant sleep,
But that 'tis ever startled by the leap
Of buds into ripe flowers; or by the flitting
Of diverse moths, that aye their rest are quitting;
Or by the moon lifting her silver rim
Above a cloud, and with a gradual swim
Coming into the blue with all her light.
O Maker of sweet poets' dear delight
Of this fair world and all its gentle livers;
Spangler of clouds, halo of crystal rivers,
Mingler with leaves, and dew and tumbling streams
Closer of lovely eyes to lovely dreams,
Lover of loneliness, and wandering,
Of upcast eye, and tender pondering!
Thee must I praise above all other glories
That smile us on to tell delightful stories.
For what has made the sage or poet write
| But the fair paradise of Nature's light?
In the calm grandeur of a sober line,
We see the waving of the mountain pine;
And when a tale is beautifully staid,
We feel the safety of a hawthorn glade:
When it is moving on luxurious wings,
The soul is lost in pleasant smotherings:
Fair dewy roses brush against our faces,
And flowering laurels spring from diamond vases;
O'er-head we see the jasmine and sweet-brier,
And bloomy grapes laughing from green attire;
While at our feet, the voice of crystal bubbles
Charms us at once away from all our troubles :
So that we feel uplified from the world,
Walking upon the white clouds wreathed and curl’d
So felt he, who first told how Psyche went
On the smooth wind to realms of wonderment;
What Psyche felt, and Love, when their full lips
First touch'd; what amorous and fondling nips
They gave each other's cheeks; with all their sighs
And how they kist each other's tremulous eyes :
The silver lamp—the ravishment—the wonder,-
The darkness—loneliness—the searful thunders
Their woes gone by, and both to heaven up-flown.
To bow for gratitude before Jove's throne.
So did he feel, who pull'd the boughs aside,
That we might look into a forest wide,
To catch a glimpse of Fauns, and Dryades
Coming with softest rustle through the trees;
And garlands woven, of flowers wild and sweet.
Upheld on ivory wrists, or sporting feet :
Telling us how fair trembling Syrinx fled
Arcadian Pan, with such a searful dread.
Poor nymph, poor Pan,—how he did weep, to find
Naught but a lovely sighing of the wind
Along the reedy stream ; a half-heard strain,
Full of sweet desolation—balmy pain.
What first inspired a bard of old to sing
Narcissus pining o'er the untainted spring f
In some delicious ramble, he had found
A little space, with boughs all woven round -
And in the midst of all, a clearer pool -
Than e'er reflected in its pleasant cool
The blue sky, here and there serenely peeping
Through tendril wreaths fantastically creeping.
And on the bank a lonely flower he spied,
A meek and forlorn flower, with naught of pride,
Drooping its beauty o'er the watery clearness,
To woo its own sad image into nearness:
Deaf to light Zephyrus, it would not move;
But still would seem to droop, to pine, to love.
So while the poet stood in this sweet spot,
Some fainter gleamings o'er his fancy shot;
Nor was it long ere he had told the tale
Of young Narcissus, and sad Echo's bale.
Where had he been, from whose warm head out-flew
That sweetest of all songs, that ever new,
That aye refreshing, pure deliciousness,
Coming ever to bless
The wanderer by moonlight? to him bringing
Shapes from the invisible world, unearthly singing
From out the middle air, from flowery nests,
And from the pillowy silkiness that rests
Full in the speculation of the stars.
Ah! surely he had burst our mortal bars;
Into some wondrous region he had gone,
To search for thee, divine Endymion!
He was a Poet, sure a lover too,
Who stood on Latmus' top, what time there blew
Soft breezes from the myrtle vale below;
And brought, in faintness solemn, sweet, and slow,
A hymn from Dian's temple; while upswelling.
The incense went to her own starry dwelling.
But though her face was clear as insant's eyes,
Though she stood smiling o'er the sacrifice,
The poet wept at her so piteous fate,
Wept that such beauty should be desolate:
So in fine wrath some golden sounds he won,
And gave meek Cynthia her Endymion.
Queen of the wide air; thou most lovely queen
Of all the brightness that mine eyes have seen!
As thou exceedest all things in thy shine,
So every tale, does this sweet tale of thine.
O for three words of honey, that I might
Tell but one wonder of thy bridal night!
Where distant ships do seem to show their keels,
Phoebus awhile delay'd his mighty wheels,
And turn'd to smile upon thy bashful eyes,
Ere he his unseen pomp would solemnize.
The evening weather was so bright, and clear,
That men of health were of unusual cheer;
Stepping like Homer at the trumpet's call,
Or young Apollo on the pedestal :
And lovely women were as fair and warm,
As Venus looking sideways in alarm.
The breezes were ethereal, and pure,
And crept through half-closed lattices to cure
The languid sick; it cool'd their sever'd sleep,
And soothed them into slumbers full and deep.
Soon they awoke clear-eyed: nor burnt with thirst-
Nor with hot fingers, nor with temples bursting:
And springing up, they met the wond'ring sight
Of their dear friends, nigh foolish with delight;
Who feel their arms, and breasts, and kiss, and stare,
And on their placid foreheads part the hair.
Young men and maidens at each other gazed,
With hands held back, and motionless, amazed
Lo! I must tell a tale of chivalry;
For large white plumes are dancing in mine eye.
Not like the formal crest of latter days,
But bending in a thousand graceful ways;
So graceful, that it seems no mortal hand,
Or elen the touch of Archimago's wand,
Could charm them into such an attitude.
We must think rather, that in playsul mood,
Some mountain breeze had turn'd its chief delignt
To show this wonder of its gentle might.
Lo! I must tell a tale of chivalry;
For while I muse, the lance points slantingly
|Athwart the morning air: some lady sweet,
Who cannot feel sor cold her tender feet,
From the worn top of some old battlement
Hails it with tears, her stout defender sent;
And from her own pure self no joy dissembling,
Wraps round her ample robe with happy trembling
Sometimes when the good knight his rest could take.
It is reflected, clearly, in a lake,
With the young ashen boughs, 'gainst which it rests,
And th' half-seen mossiness of linnets' nests.
Ah! shall I ever tell its cruelty,
When the fire flashes from a warrior's eye,
And his tremendous hand is grasping it,
And his dark brow for very wrath is knit?
Or when his spirit, with more calm intent,
Leaps to the honors of a tournament,
And makes the gazers round about the ring
Stafe at the grandeur of the balancing?
No, no!, this is far off-then how shall I
Revive the dying tones of minstrelsy,
Which linger yet about long Gothic arches,
In dark-green ivy, and among wild larches?
How sing the splendor of the revelries,
When butts of wine are drank off to the lees'
And that bright lance, against the fretted wall,
Beneath the shade of stately banneral,
Is slung with shining cuirass, sword, and shield
Where ye may see a spur in bloody field,
Light-footed damsels move with gentle paces
Round the wide hall, and show their happy faces:
Or stand in courtly talk by fives and sevens,
Like those fair stars that twinkle in the heavens.
Yet must I tell a tale of chivalry :
Or wherefore comes that knight so proudly by ?
Wherefore more proudly does the gentle knight
Rein in the swelling of his ample might?
Spenser! thy brows are arched, open, kind,
And come like a clear sunrise to my mind;
And always does my heart with pleasure dance
When I think on thy noble countenance:
Where never yet was aught more earthly seen
Than the pure freshness of thy laurels green.
Therefore, great bard, I not so fearfully
Call on thy gentle spirit to hover nigh
My daring steps: or if thy tender care,
Thus startled unaware,
Be jealous that the foot of other wight
Should madly follow that bright path of light
Traced by thy loved Libertas; he will speak,
And tell thee that my prayer is very meek;
That I will follow with due reverence,
And start with awe at mine own strange pretence.
Him thou wilt hear; so I will rest in hope
To see wide plains, fair trees, and lawny slope:
The morn, the eve, the light, the shade, the flowers;
Clear streams, smooth lakes, and overlooking towers.
YoUNG Calidore is paddling o'er the lake;
His healthful spirit eager and awake
To feel the beauty of a silent eve,
Which seem'd full loth this happy world to leave,
The light-dwelt o'er the scene so lingeringly.
He bares his forehead to the cool blue sky,
And smiles at the far clearness all around,
Until his heart is well-nigh over-wound,
And turns for calmness to the pleasant green
Of easy slopes, and shadowy trees that lean
So elegantly o'er the waters' brim
And show their blossoms trim.
Scarce can his clear and nimble eye-sight follow
The freaks, and dartings of the black-wing'd swallow,
Delighting much, to see it half at rest,
Dip so refreshingly its wings and breast
'Gainst the smooth surface, and to mark anon,
The widening circles into nothing gone.
And now the sharp keel of his little boat
Comes up with ripple and with easy float,
And glides into a bed of water-lilies:
Broad-leaved are they, and their white canopies
Are upward turn'd to catch the heaven's dew.
Near to a little island's point they grew ;
Whence Calidore might have the goodliest view
Of this sweet spot of earth. The bowery shore
Went off in gentle windings to the hoar
And light-blue mountains: but no breathing man
With a warm heart, and eye prepared to scan
Nature's clear beauty, could pass lightly by
Objects that look'd out so invitingly
On either side. These, gentle Calidore
Greeted, as he had known them long before.
The sidelong view of swelling leafiness, Which the glad setting sun in gold doth dress, Whence, ever and anon, the joy outsprings, And scales upon the beauty of its wings.
The lonely turret, shatter'd, and outworn, Stands venerably proud ; too proud to mourn Its long-lost grandeur: fir-trees grow around, Aye dropping their hard fruit upon the ground.
The little chapel, with the cross above Upholding wreaths of ivy; the white dove, That on the windows spreads his feathers light, And seems from purple clouds to wing its flight
Green-tufted islands casting their soft shades
Across the lake; sequester'd leafy glades,
That through the dimness of their twilight show
Large dock-leaves, spiral foxgloves, or the glow
Of the wild cat's-eyes, or the silvery stems
Of delicate birch-trees, or long grass which hems
A little brook. The youth had long been viewing
These pleasant things, and heaven was bedeving
The mountain flowers, when his glad senses caught
A trumpet's silver voice. Ah! it was fraught
With many joys for him: the warder's ken
Had found white coursers prancing in the glen :
Friends very dear to him he soon will see :
So pushes off his boat most eagerly.
And soon upon the lake he skins along,
Deaf to the nightingale's first under-song;
Nor minds he the white swans that dream so sweetly.
His spirit flies before him so completely.
And now he turns a jutting point of land,
Whence may be seen the castle gloomy and grand.
Nor will a bee buzz round two swelling peaches,
Before the point of his light shallop reaches
Those marble steps that through the water dip:
Now over them he goes with hasty trip,
And scarcely stays to ope the solding-doors.
Anon he leaps along the oaken floors
Of halls and corridors.
• Delicious sounds' those little bright-eyed things That float about the air on azure wings, Had been less heartfelt by him than the clang Of clattering hoofs; into the court he sprang, Just as two noble steeds, and palfreys twain, Were slanting out their necks with loosen’d rein; While from beneath the threatening portcullis They brought their happy burthens. What a kiss, What gentle squeeze he gave each lady's hand ' How tremblingly their delicate ankles spann'd? Into how sweet a trance his soul was gone, While whisperings of affection Made him delay to let their tender feet Come to the earth ; with an incline so sweet From their low palfreys o'er his neck they bent: And whether there were tears of languishment, Or that the evening dew had pearl'd their tresses, He feels a moisture on his cheek, and blesses With lips that tremble, and with glistening eye, All the soft luxury That nestled in his arms. A dimpled hand. Fair as some wonder out of fairy land, Hung from his shoulder like the drooping flowers Of whitest Cassia, fresh from summer showers: And this he sondled with his happy cheek, As if for joy he would no further seek: When the kind voice of good Sir Clerimond Came to his ear, like something from beyond His present being ; so he gently drew His warm arms, thrilling now with pulses new, From their sweet thrall, and forward gently bending Thank'd heaven that his joy was never-ending:
While 'gainst his forehead he devoutly press'd A hand Heaven made to succor the distress'd : A hand that from the world's bleak promontory Had lifted Calidore for deeds of Glory.
Amid the pages, and the torches' glare,
There stood a knight, patting the flowing hair
Of his proud horse's mane : he was withal
A man of elegance, and stature tall : .
So that the waving of his plumes would be
High as the berries of a wild-ash tree,
Or as the winged cap of Mercury.
His armor was so dexterously wrought
In shape, that sure no living man had thought
It hard, and heavy steel; but that indeed
It was some glorious form, some splendid weed,
In which a spirit new come from the skies
Might live, and show itself to human eyes.
"Tis the far-famed, the brave Sir Gondibert,
Said the good man to Calidore alert;
While the young warrior with a step of grace
Came up, a courtly smile upon his face,
And mailed hand held out, ready to greet
The large-eyed wonder, and ambitious heat
Of the aspiring boy; who, as he led
Those smiling ladies, often turn'd his head
To admire the visor arch'd so gracefully
Over a knightly brow; while they went by
The lamps that from the high-roof’d walls were
And gave the steel a shining quite transcendent.
Soon in a pleasant chamber they are seated,
The sweet-lipp'd ladies have already greeted
All the green leaves that round the window clamber,
To show their purple stars, and bells of amber.
Sir Gondibert has doff"d his shining steel,
Gladdening in the free and airy feel
Of a light mantle; and while Clerimond
Is looking round about him with a fond
And placid eye, young Calidore is burning .
To hear of knightly deeds, and gallant spurning
Of all unworthiness; and how the strong of arm
Kept off dismay, and terror, and alarm
From lovely woman: while brimful of this,
He gave each damsel's hand so warm a kiss,
And had such manly ardor in his eye,
That each at other look'd half-staringly:
And then their features started into smiles,
Sweet as blue heavens o'er enchanted isles.
Softly the breezes from the forest came,
Softly they blew aside the taper's flame : -
Clear was the song from Philomel's far bower;
Grateful the incense from the lime-tree flower;
Mysterious, wild, the far-heard trumpet's tone;
Lovely the moon in ether, all alone: .
Sweet too the converse of these happy mortals,
As that of busy spirits when the portals
Are closing in the West; or that soft humming
We hear around when Hesperus is coming.
Sweet be their sleep. * * * * * *
To some LADES ON RECEIV in G A CURIOUS Shell.
WHAt though, while the wonders of nature exploring, I cannot your light mazy footsteps attend;
On this scroll thou seest written in characters fair
A sunbeaming tale of a wreath, and a chain:
And, warrior, it nurtures the property rare
Of charming my mind from the trammels of pain.
This canopy mark: 'tis the work of a say;
Beneath its rich shade did King Oberon languish,
When lovely Titania was far, far away,
And cruelty left him to sorrow and anguish.
There, oft would he bring from his soft-sighing lute Wild strains, to which, spell-bound, the nightingales listen'd' The wondering spirits of Heaven were mute, And tears 'mong the dew-drops of morning oft glisten'd.
In this little dome, all those melodies strange,
Soft, plaintive, and melting, for ever will sigh;
Nor e'er will the notes from their tenderness change,
Nor e'er will the music of Oberon die.
So when I am in a voluptuous vein,
I pillow my head on the sweets of the rose,
And list to the tale of the wreath, and the chain,
Till its echoes depart; then I sink to repose.
Adieu : valiant Eric' with joy thou art crown'd,
Full many the glories that brighten thy youth,
I too have my blisses, which richly abound
In magical powers to bless and to soothe.
HADst thou lived in days of old,
O what wonders had been told
Of thy lively countenance,
And thy humid eyes that dance,
In the midst of their own brightness,
In the very fane of lightness;
Over which thine eyebrows, leaning,
Picture out each lovely meaning !
In a dainty bend they lie,
Like to streaks across the sky,
Or the feathers from a crow,
Fallen on a bed of snow.
Of thy dark hair, that extends
Into many graceful bends:
As the leaves of hellebore
Turn to whence they sprung before.
And behind each ample curl
Peeps the richness of a pearl.
Downward too flows many a tress
With a glossy waviness,
Full, and round like globes that rise
From the censer to the skies
Through sunny air. Add too, the sweetness
Of thy honey'd voice; the neatness
Of thine ankle lightly turn'd:
With those beauties scarce discern'd,
Kept with such sweet privacy,
That they seldom meet the eye
Of the little Loves that fly
Round about with eager pry.
Saving when with freshening lave,
Thou dipp'st them in the taintless wave;
Like twin water-lilies, born
In the coolness of the morn.
O, if thou hadst breathed then,
Now the Muses had been ten.
Couldst thou wish for lineage higher
Than twin-sister of Thalia?
At least for ever, evermore
Will I call the Graces four,
Hadst thou lived when chivalry
Lifted up her lance on high,
Tell me what thou wouldst have been *
Ah! I see the silver sheen
Of thy broider'd floating vest
Cov'ring half thine ivory breast:
Which, O Heavens ! I should see,
But that cruel Destiny
Has placed a golden cuirass there,
Keeping secret what is fair.
Like sunbeams in a cloudlet nested,
Thy locks in knightly casque are rested:
O'er which bend four milky plumes,
Like the gentle lily's blooms
Springing from a costly vase.
See with what a stately pace
Comes thine alabaster steed;
Servant of heroic deed!
O'er his loins, his trappings glow
Like the northern lights on snow.
Mount his back! thy sword unsheath!
Sign of the enchanter's death;
Bane of every wicked spell;
Silencer of dragon's yell.
Alas! thou this wilt never do:
Thou art an enchantress too,
And wilt surely never spill
Blood of those whose eyes can kill.
When by my solitary hearth I sit,
And haleful thoughts enwrap my soul in gloom
When no fair dreams before my “mind's eye" flit,
And the bare heath of life presents no bloom;
Sweet Hope' ethereal balm upon me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head.
Whene'er I wander, at the fall of night,
Where woven boughs shut out the moon's bright
Should sad Despondency my musings fright,
And frown, to drive fair Cheerfulness away,
Peep with the moonbeams through the leasy roof,
And keep that fiend Despondence far aloof.
Should Disappointment, parent of Despair,
Strive for her son to seize my careless heart
When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air,
Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart:
Chase him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright,
And fright him, as the morning frightens night!
Whene'er the fate of those I hold most dear
Tells to my painful breast a tale of sorrow,
O bright-eyed Hope, my morbid fancy cheer;
Let me awhile thy sweetest comforts borrow:
Thy heaven-born radiance around me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head!