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How many bards gild the lapses of time !
A few of them have ever been the food
Of my delighted fancy, I could brood
Over their beauties, earthly, or sublime:
And often, when I sit me down to rhyme,
These will in throngs before my mind intrude:
But no confusion, no disturbance rude
Do they occasion; 'tis a pleasing chime.
So the unnumber'd sounds that evening store;
The songs of birds—the whisp'ring of the leaves—
The voice of waters—the great bell that heaves
With solemn sound,-and thousand others more,
That distance of recognizance bereaves,
Make pleasing music, and not wild uproar.
As late I rambled in the happy fields,
What time the sky-lark shakes the tremulous dew
From his lush clover covert;-when anew
Adventurous knights take up their dinted shields:
I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields,
A fresh-blown musk-rose ; ’twas the first that threw
Its sweets upon the summer : graceful it grew
As is the wand that queen Titania wields.
And, as I feasted on its fragrancy,
I thought the garden-rose it far excell'd :
But when, O Wells l thy roses came to me
My sense with their deliciousness was spell'd :
Soft voices had they, that with tender plea
Whisper'd of peace, and truth, and friendliness un-
NYMPH of the downward smile, and sidelong glance,
In what diviner moments of the day
Art thou most lovely? When gone far astray
Into the labyrinths of sweet utterance 2 A
Or when serenely wand'ring in a trance
Of sober thought? Or when starting away,
With careless robe, to meet the morning ray,
Thou spar'st the flowers in thy mazy dance?
Haply 'tis when thy ruby lips part sweetly, T
And so remain, because thou listenest:
But thou to please wert nurtured so completely M
That I can never tell what mood is best.
I shall as soon pronounce which grace more neatly W
Trips it before Apollo than the rest.
O SOLITUDE 1 if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep, +
Nature's observatory—whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,
May seem a span ; let me thy vigils keep
'Mongst boughs pavillion'd, where the deer's swift
sarone wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin'd,
Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.
SMALL, busy flames play through the fresh laid coals,
And their faint cracklings o'er our silence creep
Like whispers of the household gods that keep
A gentle empire o'er fraternal souls.
And while, for rhymes, I search around the poles,
Your eyes are fix’d, as in poetic sleep,
Upon the lore so voluble and deep,
That aye at fall of night our care condoles.
This is your birth-day Tom, and I rejoice
That thus it passes smoothly, quietly.
Many such eves of gently whisp'ring noise
May we together pass, and calmly try
What are this world's true joys, ere the goal voice,
From its fair face, shall bid our spirits fly.
KEEN, fitful gusts are whisp'ring here and there
Among the bushes half leafless, and dry;
The stars look very cold about the sky,
And I have many miles on foot to fare.
Yet feel I little of the cool bleak air,
Or of the dead leaves rustling drearily,
Or of those silver lamps that burn on high,
Or of the distance from home's pleasant lair :
For I am brimfull of the friendliness
That in a little cottage I have found ;
Of fair-hair'd Milton's eloquent distress,
And all his love for gentle Lycid drown'd :
Of lovely Laura in her light green dress,
And faithful Petrarch gloriously crown'd.
To one who has been long in city pent,
'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven, to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
Who is more happy, when, with hearts content,
Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
And gentle tale of love and languishment?
Returning home at evening, with an ear *
Catching the notes of Philomel,-an eye
Watching the sailing cloudlet's bright career,
He mourns that day so soon has glided by:
E’en like the passage of an angel's tear
That falls through the clear ether silently.
MUCH have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Ost of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne ;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold :
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
GIVE me a golden pen, and let me lean
On heap'd up flowers, in regions clear, and far;
Bring me a tablet whiter than a star,
Or hand of hymning angel, when 'tis seen
The silver strings of heavenly harp atween :
And let there glide by many a pearly car,
Pink robes, and wavy hair, and diamond jar,
And half discovered wings, and glances keen.
The while let music wander round my ears,
And as it reaches each delicious ending,
Let me write down a line of glorious tone,
And full of many wonders of the spheres:
For what a height my spirit is contending !
'Tis not content so soon to be alone.
ADDRESSED TO HAY DON.
HIGHMINDEDNESS, a jealousy for good,
A loving-kindness for the great man's fame,
Dwells here and there with people of no name,
In noisome alley, and in pathless wood :
And where we think the truth least understood,
Oft may be found a “singleness of aim,”
That ought to frighten into hooded shame
A money mong’ring, pitiable brood.
How glorious this affection for the cause
Of stedfast genius, toiling gallantly
What when a stout unbending champion awes
Envy, and Malice to their native sty?
Unnumber'd souls breathe out a still applause,
Proud to behold him in his country's eye.