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Should e'er unhappy love my bosom pain,
From cruel parents, or relentless fair,
O let me think it is not quite in vain
To sigh out sonnets to the midnight air!
Sweet Hope! ethereal balm upon me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head.
In the long vista of the years to roll,
Let me not see our country's honor fade!
O let me see our land retain her soul!
Her pride, her freedom; and not freedom's shade.
From thy bright eyes unusual brightness shed—
Beneath thy pinions canopy my head!
Let me not see the patriot's high bequest,
Great Liberty! how great in plain attire!
With the base purple of a court oppress'd,
Bowing her head, and ready to expire:
But let me see thee stoop from Heaven on wings
That fill the skies with silver glitterings!
And as, in sparkling majesty, a star
Gilds the bright summit of some gloomy cloud;
Brightening the half-veil'd face of heaven afar:
So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud,
Sweet Hope! celestial influence round me shed,
Waving thy silver pinions o'er my head.
Now Morning from her orient chamber came, And her first footstep touch'd a verdant hill: Crowning its lawny crest with amber flame, Silvering the untainted gushes of its rill; Which, pure from mossy beds, did down distil, And, after parting beds of simple flowers, By many streams a little lake did fill, Which round its marge reflected woven bowers, And, in its middle space, a sky that never lowers.
There the kingfisher saw his plumage bright, Vying with fish of brilliant dye below; Whose silken fins' and golden scales' light Cast upward, through the waves, a ruby glow: There saw the swan his neck of arched snow, And oar'd himself along with majesty; Sparkled his jetty eyes; his feet did show Beneath the waves like Afric's ebony, And on his back a say reclined voluptuously.
Ah! could I tell the wonders of an isle
That in that fairest lake had placed been,
I could e'en Dido of her grief beguile;
Or rob from aged Lear his bitter teen:
For sure so fair a place was never seen
Of all that ever charm'd romantic eye:
It seem'd an emerald in the silver sheen
Of the bright waters; or as when on high,
Through clouds of fleecy white, laughs the cerulean
And all around it dipp'd luxuriously
Slopings of verdure through the glossy tide,
Which, as it were in gentle amity,
Rippled delighted up the flowery side;
As if to glean the ruddy tears it tried, Which fell profusely from the rose-tree stem! Haply it was the workings of its pride, In strife to throw upon the shore a gem Outvying all the buds in Flora's diadem.
Woman! when I behold thee flippant, vain,
Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies;
Without that modest softening that enhances
The downcast eye, repentant of the pain
That its mild light creates to heal again;
E’en then, elate, my spirit leaps and prances,
E'en then my soul with exultation dances
For that to love, so long, I’ve dormant lain:
But when I see thee meek, and kind, and tender
Heavens! how desperately do I adore
Thy winning graces;–to be thy defender
I hotly burn—to be a Calidore—
A very Red-Cross Knight—a stout Leander—
Might I be loved by thee like these of yore.
Light feet, dark violet eyes, and parted hair;
Soft dimpled hands, whiteneck, and creamy breast;
Are things on which the dazzled senses rest
Till the fond, fixed eyes, forget they stare.
From such fine pictures, Heavens! I cannot dare
To turn my admiration, though unpossess'd
They be of what is worthy-though not drest
In lovely modesty, and virtues rare.
Yet these I leave as thoughtless as a lark;
These lures I straight forget, e'en ere I dine,
Or thrice my palate moisten: but when I mark
Such charms with mild intelligences shine,
My ear is open like a greedy shark
To catch the tunings of a voice divine.
Ah! who can e'er forget so fair a being?
Who can forget her half-retiring sweets
God! she is like a milk-white lamb that bleats
For man's protection. Surely the All-seeing,
Who joys to see us with his gifts agreeing,
Will never give him pinions, who entreats
Such innocence to ruin-who vilely cheats
A dove-like bosom. In truth, there is no freeing
One's thoughts from such a beauty; when I hear
A lay that once I saw her hand awake,
Her form seems floating palpable, and near:
Had I e'er seen her from an arbor take
A dewy flower, oft would that hand appear,
And o'er my eyes the trembling moisture shahs
1. My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk "Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, But being too happy in thy happiness, That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees, In some melodious plot Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet
From swinged censer teeming;
Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.
Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane
In some untrodden region of my mind,
Where branched thoughts, new-grown with pleasant
Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind :
Far, far around shall those dark-cluster'd trees
Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep;
And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,
The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull'd to sleep;
And in the midst of this wide quietness
A rosy sanctuary will I dress
With the wreathed trellis of a working brain,
With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,
With all the gardener Fancy e'er could seign,
Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same
And there shall be for thee all soft delight
That shadowy thought can win,
A bright torch, and a casement ope at night,
To let the warm Love in
EveR let the Fancy roam, Pleasure never is at home : At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth, Like to bubbles when rain pelteth; Then let winged Fancy wander Through the thoughts still spread beyond her Open wide the mind's cage-door, She'll dart forth, and cloudward soar. O sweet Fancy' let her loose; Summer's joys are spoilt by use, And the enjoying of the Spring Fades as does its blossoming ; Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too, Blushing through the mist and dew, Cloys with tasting : What do then? Sit thee by the ingle, when The sear fagot blazes bright, Spirit of a winter's night; When the soundless earth is muffled, And the caked snow is shuffled From the plowboy's heavy shoon; When the Night doth meet the Noon In a dark conspiracy To banish Even from her sky. Sit thee there, and send abroad, With a mind self-overaw'd, Fancy, high commission'd : send her! She has vassals to attend her: She will bring, in spite of frost, Beauties that the earth hath lost; She will bring thee, all together, All delights of summer weather; All the buds and bells of May, From dewy sward or thorny spray; All the heaped Autumn's wealth, With a still, mysterious stealth: She will mix these pleasures up
Like three fit wines in a cup, 595 *
And thou shalt quaff it:—thou shalt hear
Distant harvest-carols clear;
Rustle of the reaped corn;
Sweet birds antheming the morn:
And, in the same moment—hark!
"Tis the early April lark,
Or the rooks, with busy caw,
Foraging for sticks and straw.
Thou shalt, at one glance, behold
The daisy and the marigold;
White-plumed lilies, and the first
Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst;
Shaded hyacinth, alway
Sapphire queen of the mid-May;
And every leaf, and every slower
Pearled with the self-same shower.
Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep
Meager from its celled sleep;
And the snake all winter-thin
Cast on sunny bank its skin;
Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see
Hatching in the hawthorn-tree,
When the hen-bird's wing doth rest
Quiet on her mossy nest;
Then the hurry and alarm
When the bee-hive casts its swarm;
Acorns ripe down-pattering,
While the autumn breezes sing.
O, sweet Fancy! let her loose; Every thing is spoilt by use: Where's the cheek that doth not fade, Too much gazed at Where's the maid Whose lip mature is ever new Where's the eye, however blue, Doth not weary Where's the face One would meet in every place Where's the voice, however soft, One would hear so very of At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth Like to bubbles when rain pelteth. Let, then, winged Fancy find Thee a mistress to thy mind: Dulcet-eyed as Ceres' daughter, Ere the God of Torment taught her How to frown and how to chide; With a waist and with a side White as Hebe's when her zone Slipt its golden clasp, and down Fell her kirtle to her feet, While she held the goblet sweet, And Jove grew languid.—Break the mesh Of the Fancy's silken leash; Quickly break her prison-string, And such joys as these she'll bring.— Let the winged Fancy roam, Pleasure never is at home.
BARDs of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Have ye souls in heaven too,
Double-lived in regions new 7
Yes, and those of heaven commune
With the spheres of sun and moon;
With the noise of fountains wondrous,
And the parle of voices thund’rous;
With the whisper of heaven's trees
And one another, in soft ease
Seated on Elysian lawns
Browsed by none but Dian's fawns;
Underneath large blue-bells tented,
Where the daisies are rose-scented,
And the rose herself has got
Perfume which on earth is not;
Where the nightingale doth sing
Not a senseless, tranced thing,
But divine melodious truth;
Philosophic numbers smooth;
Tales and golden histories
Of heaven and its mysteries.
Thus ye live on high, and then On the earth ye live again; And the souls ye left behind you Teach us, here, the way to find you, Where your other souls are joying, Never slumber'd, never cloying. Here, your earth-born souls still speak To mortals, of their little week; Of their sorrows and delights; Of their passions and their spites; Of their glory and their shame; What doth strengthen and what maim. Thus ye teach us, every day, Wisdom, though fled far away.
Bards of Passion and of Mirth, Ye have left your souls on earth! Ye have souls in heaven too, Double-lived in regions new 1
LINES ON THE MERMAID TAVERN.
Souls of poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host's Canary wine?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of venison? O generous food!
Drest as though bold Robin Hood
Would, with his maid Marian,
Sup and bowse from horn and can.
I have heard that on a day Mine host's sign-board flew away, Nobody knew whither, till An astrologer's old quill To a sheepskin gave the story, Said he saw you in your glory, Underneath a new-old sign Sipping beverage divine, And pledging with contented smack The Mermaid in the Zodiac.
Souls of Poets dead and gone, What Elysium have ye known, Happy field or mossy cavern, Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?