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Sunbeam proof, I hang like a roof,
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the powers of the air are chain'd to my chair,
Is the million-colour'd bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,
While the moist earth was laughing below.
I am the daughter of earth and water,
And the nursling of the sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores ;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain, when with never a stain,
The pavilion of heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams,
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.
Ch AMELEoNs feed on light and air;
Poets' food is love and fame:
If in this wide world of care
Poets could but find the same
With as little toil as they,
Would they ever change their hue
As the light chameleons do,
Suiting it to every ray
Twenty times a-day
Poets are on this cold earth,
As chameleons might be,
Hidden from their early birth
Where light is, chameleons change;
Where love is not, poets do :
Fame is love disguised—if few
Find either, never think it strange
That poets range.
Yet dare not stain with wealth or power
A poet's free and heavenly mind:
If bright chameleons should devour
Any food but beams and wind,
They would grow as earthly soon
As their brother lizards are.
Children of a sunnier star,
Spirits from beyond the moon,
O, refuse the boon'
The flower that smiles to-day
All that we wish to stay,
Tempts and then flies:
What is this world's delight 2
Lightning that mocks the night,
Brief even as bright.
Virtue, how frail it is
Friendship too rare
Love, how it sells poor bliss
For proud despair'
But we, though soon they fall,
Survive their joy and all
Which ours we call.
Whilst skies are blue and bright,
Whilst flowers are gay,
Whilst eyes that change ere night
Make glad the day;
Whilst yet the calm hours creep,
Dream thou—and from thy sleep
Swiftly walk over the western wave,
Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave,
Where, all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,
Which make thee terrible and dear,
Swift be thy flight!
Wrap thy form in a mantle grey,
Star inwrought !
Blind with thine hair the eyes of day,
Kiss her until she be wearied out,
Then wander o'er city, and sea, and land,
Touching all with thine opiate wand,-
Come, long sought!
When I arose and saw the dawn,
I sighed for thee;
When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
And the weary day turned to his rest,
Lingering like an unloved guest,
I sighed for thee!
Thy brother, Death, came, and cried,
Wouldst thou me *
Thy sweet child, Sleep, thy filmy-eyed,
Murdered like a noon-tide bee,
Shall I nestle near thy side?
Wouldst thou me?—And I replied,
No, not thee!
Death will come when thou art dead,
Soon, too soon |
Sleep will come when thou art fled;
Of neither would I ask the boon
I ask of thee, beloved Night;
Swift be thine approaching flight,
HAIL to thee, blithe spirit !
Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher,
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are bright'ning,
Thou dost float and run;
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven,
In the broad day-light
Thou art unseen, but yet I hearthy shrill delight.
Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.
All the earth and air With thy voice is loud, As, when night is bare, From one lonely cloud The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.
What thou art we know not ;
What is most like thee ?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see,
Like a poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not :
Like a high-born maiden
In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower :
Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Its aërial hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view :
Like a rose embowered
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflowered,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves :
Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.
Teach us, sprite or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine :
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
Or triumphal chaunt,
Match'd with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt