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A most gentle Maid, By its own moods interprets, everywhere Who dwelleth in her hospitable home Echo or mirror seeking of itself, Hard by the castle, and at latest eve And makes a toy of Thought. (Even like a lady vow'd and dedicate To something more than Nature in the grove) But O ! how oft,
Glides through the pathways ; she knows all their
Farewell, O Warbler ' till to-morrow eve, And you, my friends' farewell, a short farewell! We have been loitering long and pleasantly, And now for our dear homes.—That strain again Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe, Who, capable of no articulate sound, Mars all things with his imitative lisp, How he would place his hand beside his ear, His little hand, the small forefinger up, And bid us listen' And I deem it wise To make him Nature's Play-mate. He knows well The evening-star; and once, when he awoke In most distressful mood (some inward pain Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream), I hurried with him to our orchard-plot, And he beheld the Moon, and, hush'd at once, Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently, While his fair eyes, that swam with undropp'd tears Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam Well!— It is a father's tale : But if that Heaven Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up Familiar with these songs, that with the night He may associate joy! Once more, farewell, Sweet Nightingale! Once more, my friends! farewell.
FROST AT MIDNIGHT.
THE Frost performs its secret ministry,
How oft, at school, with most believing mind
Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side, Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, Fill up the interspersed vacancies And momentary pauses of the thought ! My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart With tender gladness, thus to look at thee, And think that thou shalt learn far other lore, And in far other scenes For I was rear'd In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim, And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars. But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds, Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible Of that eternal language, which thy God Utters, who from eternity doth teach Himself in all, and all things in himself. Great universal Teacher! he shall mould Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.
Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, Whether the summer clothe the general earth With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
TO A FRIEND.
Toge:THER WITH AN UNFiNish ED Poem
Thus far my scanty brain hath built the rhyme
I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse,
The hOUR WHEN WE SHALL MEET AGAIN.
CoMposhed DURING illNESS AND IN ABSENCE.
DIM hour' that sleep'st on pillowing clouds asar,
LINES TO JOSEPH COTTLE.
My honor'd friend' whose verse concise, yet clear,
* I utterly recant the sentiment contained in the lines Of whose omniscient and all-spreading love Aught to implore were impotence of mind, it being written in Scripture, “Ask, and it shall be given you,” and my human reason being moreover convinced of the propriety of offering petitions as well as thanksgivings to the Deity.
Embow'rs me from noon's sultry influence!
Circling the base of the Poetic mount
Not there the cloud-climb'd rock, sublime and vast,
There for the monarch-murder'd Soldier's tomb
Still soar, my friend, those richer views among,
IV. ODES AND MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
THE THREE GRAVES. A FRAGMENT OF A SExTON'S TALE.
[The Author has published the following humble fragment. encouraged by the decisive recommendation of more than one of our most celebrated living Poets. The language was intended to be dramatic ; that is, suited to the narrator; and the metre corresponds to the homeliness of the diction. It is therefore presented as the fragment, not of a Poem, but of a common Ballad-tale. Whether this is sufficient to justify the adoption of such a style, in any metrical composition not profess edly ludicrous, the Author is himself in some doubt. At an events, it is not presented as Poetry, and it is in no way connected with the Author's judgment concerning Poetic diction. Its merits, if any, are exclusively Psychological. The story
* War, a Fragment. f John the Baptist, a Poem. 1 Monody on John Henderson.
which must be supposed to have been narrated in the first and second parts, is as follows.
Edward, a young farmer, meets, at the house of Ellen, her bosom-friend, Mary, and commences an acquaintance, which ends in a mutual attachment. With her consent, and by the advice of their common friend Ellen, he announces his hopes and intentions to Mary's Mother, a widow-woman bordering on her sortieth year, and from constant health, the possession of a competent property, and from having had no other children but Mary and another daughter (the Father died in their infancy), retaining, for the greater part, her personal attractions and comeliness of appearance; but a woman of low education and violent temper. The answer which she at once returned to Edward's application was remarkable—“Well, Edward : you are a handsome young fellow, and you shall have my Daughter.” From this time all their wooing passed under the Mother's eye; and, in fine, she became herself enamoured of her future Son-in-law, and practised every art, both of endearment and of calumny, to transfer his affections from her daughter to herself. (The outlines of the Tale are positive facts, and of no very distant date, though the author has purposely altered the names and the scene of action, as well as invented the characters of the parties and the detail of the incidents.) Edward, however, though perplexed by her strange detraction from her daughter’s good qualities, yet in the innocence of his own heart still mistaking her increasing fondness for motherly affection : she, at length overcome by her miserable passion, aster much abuse of Mary's temper and moral tendencies, exclaimed with violent emotion—“O Edward! indeed, indeed, she is not fit for you—she has not a heart to love you as you deserve. It is I that love you : Marry me, Edward' and I will this very day settle all my property on you."—The Lover's eyes were now opened; and thus taken by surprise, whether from the effect of the horror which he felt, acting as it were hysterically on his nervous system, or that at the first moment he lost the sense of the proposal in the feeling of its strangeness and absurdity, he flung her from him and burst into a fit of laughter. Irritated by this almost to frenzy, the woman fell on her knees, and in a kud voice that approached to a scream, she prayed for a Curse both on him and on her own Child. Mary happened to be in the room directly above them, heard Edward's laugh and her Mother's blasphemous prayer, and fainted away. He, hearing the fall, ran up stairs, and taking her in his arms, carried her off to Ellen's home; and after some fruitless attempts on her part toward a reconciliation with her Mother, she was married to him.—And here the third part of the Tale begins.
I was not led to choose this story from any partiality to tragic, much less to monstrous events (though at the time that Ieomposed the verses, somewhat more than twelve years ago, I was less averse to such subjects than at present), but from finding in it a striking proof of the possible effect on the imagination, from an idea violently and suddenly impressed on it. I had been reading Bryan Edwards's account of the effect of the Gły Witchcraft on the Negroes in the West Indies, and Hearne's deeply interesting Anecdotes of similar workings on the imagination of the Copper Indians (those of my readers who have it in their power will be well repaid for the trouble of referring to those works for the passages alluded to), and I conteived the design of showing that instances of this kind are not peruliar to savage or barbarous tribes, and of illustrating the mode in which the mind is affected in these cases, and the progress and symptoms of the morbid action on the fancy from the Definning.
[The Tale is supposed to be narrated by an old Sexton, in a country church-yard, to a Traveller whose curiosity had been awakened by the appearance of three graves, close by each other, to two only of which there were grave-stones. On the first of these were the name, and dates, as usual: on the second, to name, but only a date, and the words, The Mercy of God is infinite.]
THE grapes upon the vicar's wall
And yellow leaves in sun and wind
But Ellen, spite of miry ways